REBT’s 3 Main Musts

MustsDemandsREBTREBT's EvolutionQuotationsRelated Pages

Albert Ellis’s 3 Main “Musts” Are Meant to Incorporate All Others

  • Garden will teach you an easy and effective system of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
  • REBT practitioners update your practice for greater effectiveness and efficiency with Not.

“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


3 Main “Musts” of REBT

  1. I must do well.
  2. You must treat me well.
  3. The world must be easy.

Why Are Musts Problematic?

  • When you demand you do well, then you are going to react poorly when you perform poorly.

Your reactions to your poor performances are likely:

  1. self-esteem abuse of yourself.
  2. feelings of discouragement.
  3. an increase in anxious and depressive thoughts and feelings.

  • All of these reactions are self-defeating because they will likely thwart your goals, lower your energies, drain your motivation, and keep you from working.


Worst Demands Are “Must Not” Demands

  • Musts that have a chance of completion are not as devastating as demanding something impossible.
  • “Must nots” do demand the impossible, they demand something that exists to not exist.
  • For more information on “must not,” please read Not or Don’t Read This!

Acceptance Conquers Demandingness

  • If you accept someone or something the way that they are, then you will not be demanding that they change.
  • If you switch to accepting a situation from demanding that situation not be what it is, then you will defeat demandingness.

REBT & Thinking Styles

  • REBT focuses on thoughts that are irrational or self-defeating.
  • REBT proposes that thinking errors and irrational beliefs share a common denominator: demandingness.
  • Cognitive Therapy (CT) focuses mainly on thinking errors.
  • CT proposes that thinking errors and irrational beliefs share a common denominator: distortions.
  • A major strategy of REBT is to get clients to think, feel, and act less demandingly.
  • A major strategy of CT is to get clients to see how easily and often we distort our thinking and to learn to distort it less.

REBT Philosophy Fixes

REBT also works at a deeper level by helping clients to develop 3 new more effective philosophies:

  1. unconditional self-acceptance (USA)
  2. unconditional other-acceptance (ULA)
  3. unconditional life-acceptance (ULA)

REBT’s Evolution

  • REBT focuses on helping people to cope and problem-solve so that people might live more fruitful and happy lives.

REBT’s 3 Main Focuses for Interventions

  1. Extreme, inflexible, and rigid thinking are seen as getting in the way of coping and problem-solving.
  2. Lack of acceptance is seen as getting in the way of coping and problem-solving.
  3. Self-esteem demands and desires are seen as getting in the way of coping and problem-solving.

Progression to USA, UOA, ULA

  • Initially, REBT was primarily focused on extreme, inflexible, and rigid thinking, with some emphasis on self-esteem and acceptance.
  • Over time, REBT focused more on acceptance and self-esteem.
  • Finally, REBT, guided by Albert Ellis, made the brilliant combination of acceptance, self-esteem, and inflexible thinking into three fundamental principles: USA, UOA, and ULA.

Related Pages of Free Information

  • Coping can be understood as acceptance.
  • Acceptance can be understood as the negation of inflexible thinking.
  • Problem-solving can be understood as the freedom to come up with the best possible solutions and to experiment with them.

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


Is Acceptance the Opposite of Demandingness?