REBT’S 10 Must Scripts

MustsListTableQuotationsRelated Pages

Albert Ellis’s 10 Irrational Beliefs Are Presented as “Must” Scripts

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“To understand the actual world as it is, not as we should wish it to be, is the beginning of wisdom.” —Bertrand Russell

“There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.” ―Albert Ellis


10 “Must” Scripts from REBT

  • The following list of “must” scripts comes from Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), specifically the ten irrational beliefs listed in A New Guide to Rational Living.
  • They are rephrased below to include a “must” and to emphasize negative self-concepts, but they have been kept in their original order for ease of comparison with their source.
  • More on scripts can be found in both Games Ego Plays and Journal Journey from Ego.

Musts Versus Shoulds

  • “Shoulds” can be regarded as expectations whereas musts are demands.
  • “Musts” are therefore more powerful and stressful than are “shoulds”.

If you think there is no difference between “shoulds” and “musts”, then try telling little children to do the same thing each way and note their reactions and your results.

LIST OF 10 SCRIPTS (Conditioning, Lifestyles, Parental Commands, Playbook, Programs, Tapes)

  1. Everyone must love, care about, approve of, or accept me and whatever I do–because if they do not all view me and whatever I do positively, then I must view myself as being negative self-concepts (stupid, worthless, unwanted, defective, weak).
  2. I must be perfect, competent, successful, productive, or adequate in all things (or, at least, in one major thing)–else, I must view myself as a failure in all things.
  3. People who do bad things are bad, rotten, wicked people who must be blamed, damned, and severely punished for being such bad people.
  4. If I am treated unfairly or am frustrated, then that treatment is a catastrophe that must not be allowed to happen again–else, my negative treatment will prove that I am an insignificant and undesirable human being.
  5. The world makes me feel the way I do, and that world must take responsibility to change and control how I feel–else, I will be blamed and damned for and as my bad feelings.
  6. If something scares me, is very odd, or is very dangerous, then I must become nervous and rattle my brain about i–else, I will become like that thing and become a victim of it.
  7. I must avoid responsibility because it is easier and more satisfying to avoid responsibility than it is to learn self-discipline–else, I will be blamed and damned for being irresponsible.
  8. The past must be held responsible for the present because there is no way out of their cause-effect relationship–else, I will be blamed and damned for and as my bad experiences or mistakes in the present.
  9. I or we must solve every problem in the world so that life will not be awful or a disaster–else, my failure will prove that I am inadequate and a complete failure as a human being.
  10. I must have nothing to do, for then and only then will I have the time to be happy and to enjoy myself–else, I will get caught doing things badly and be blamed and damned as my failures and foibles.

The above 10 irrational beliefs were rewritten and modified from A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition by Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, Wilshire Book Company, 1997. Ellis, the founder or REBT, also published a list of 11 irrational beliefs. Please see the link in the tab “Related Pages.”

10 REBT Must Scripts for LIfe

Quotations Directly Related to “Musts”

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Each of us does, in effect, strike a series of ‘deals,’ or compromises, between the wants and longings of the inner self, and an outer environment that offers certain possibilities and sets certain limitations.” —Maggie Scarf

“Happy is the man who early learns the wide chasm that lies between his wishes and his powers.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.” ―Albert Ellis

“To understand the actual world as it is, not as we should wish it to be, is the beginning of wisdom.” —Bertrand Russell

“What has always made a hell on earth is that man has tried to make it his heaven.” —Friedrich Holderlin


Quotations from Various Sources

Organized Alphabetically

“A fool is only a fool because he won’t see he is a fool.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” —James Joyce

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” —Hebrews 12:8

“By honestly acknowledging your past errors, but never damning yourself for them, you can learn to use your past for your own future benefit.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 194

“Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.” —Proverbs 15:5

“Failure doesn’t have anything to do with your intrinsic value as a person.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 206

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” —Hebrews 12:6

“If we eliminated all errors, we would also eliminate much discovery, art, insight, learning, and creativity that results from facing errors.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” —Hebrews 12:7

“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:” —Proverbs 3:11

“The great man is he who does not lose his child-heart.” —Mencius

“The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart.” —Julien Green

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” —Norman Vincent Peale

“When receiving correction, the wise seek to learn and the fool seeks to justify with excuses.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice