How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything—Yes, Anything! by Albert Ellis pdf
Hundreds of self-help books are published every year, and many of them are truly helpful to millions of readers. Why bother to write another? Why should I try to surpass my own and Robert A. Harper’s A New Guide to Rational Living, which has already sold over two million copies, and try to supplement derivative books, such as Your Erroneous Zones, which have also had millions of readers? Why bother?
For several important reasons. Although Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), which I originated in 1955, is now a major part of the psychological scene today, and although most modern therapists (yes, even psychoanalysts) include big chunks of it in their treatment plans, they often use it in a watered-down, wishy-washy way.
Aside from my professional writing, no book as yet gives a hardheaded, straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth version of REBT; those few books that have attempted to do so are not written in simple, popular, self-help form. The present volume aims to make up for this omission.
More specifically, this book has the following goals—which I do not think you will find presented, all together, in any other book about acquiring mental health and happiness.
• It encourages you to have and to express strong feelings when something goes wrong with your life. But it clearly distinguishes between your feeling healthily and helpfully concerned, sorry, sad, frustrated, or annoyed and your feeling unhealthy and destructively panicked, depressed, enraged, and self-pitying.
• It shows you how to cope with difficult life situations and how to feel better when you are faced with them. But, more important—much more important—it demonstrates how you can get better as well as feel better when you needlessly “neuroticize” and plague yourself.
• It not only teaches you how you can control your emotional destiny and can stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable over anything (yes, anything!), but it also specifically explains what you can do to use your potential for self-control.
• It rigorously stays with and promotes scientific thinking, reason, and reality, and it strictly avoids what many self-help books carelessly counsel today—huge amounts of mysticism and utopianism.
• It will help you achieve a profound philosophic change and a radically new outlook on life instead of a Pollyannaism “positive thinking” attitude that will only help you cope temporarily with difficulties and will often defeat you in the long run.
• It gives you many techniques for changing your personality, which are not backed merely by anecdotal or case-history “evidence,” but which have now been proven to be effective by scores of objective, scientific experiments that were conducted with control groups.
• It efficiently shows you how you are now still creating your present emotional and behavioral problems, and it doesn’t encourage you to waste endless time and energy foolishly trying to understand and explain your past history. It demonstrates how you still needlessly upset yourself and what you can do today to refuse to keep doing so.
• It encourages you to take full responsibility for your “upsetness” and for reducing it rather than copping out by blaming your parents or social conditions for your going along with their silly teachings.
• This book presents the ABCs of REBT (and of other forms of cognitive and cognitive behavioral therapy) in a simple, understandable way, and it shows how stimuli or Activating Events (A) in your life do not mainly or directly cause your emotional consequences (C). Instead, your Belief System (B) largely upsets you, and you therefore have the ability to Dispute (D) your dysfunctional and irrational Beliefs (iBs) and to change them. It especially shows you many thinking, many emotive, and many behavioral methods of disputing and surrendering your irrational Beliefs (iBs) and thereby arriving at an Effective New Philosophy (E) of life.
• It shows you not only how to keep your present desires, wishes, preferences, goals, and values; but how to give up your grandiose, godlike demands and commands—those absolutistic and dogmatic shoulds, oughts, and musts that you add to desires and preferences and by which you needlessly disturb yourself.
• It informs you how to be independent and inner-directed and how to think for yourself rather than be gullible and suggestible, going along with what others think you should think.
• It gives you many practical, action-oriented exercises, which you can use to work at and practice REBT ways of rethinking and redoing your way of living.
• It shows you how to be rational in a highly irrational world—how to be as happy as you can be under some of the most difficult and “impossible” conditions. It insists that you can stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about some truly gruesome happenings—poverty, terrorism, sickness, war—and that you can, if you choose to do so, work more effectively to change some of the worst situations that confront you, and perhaps even the entire world.
• It will help you understand some of the main roots of mental disturbance—such as bigotry, intolerance, dogmatism, tyranny, and despotism—and to see how you can combat these roots of neurosis in yourself and in others.
• It presents a large variety of REBT methods for dealing with severe feelings of anxiety, depression, hostility, self-denigration, and self-pity. More than any other major school of therapy (except Arnold Lazarus’s Multimodal Therapy), REBT is truly eclectic and multimodal. At the same time, it is selective and does its best to eliminate harmful and inefficient methods of psychotherapy.
• REBT is highly active-directive. It gets to the heart of human disturbance quickly and effectively, and presents self-help procedures that can be unusually effective in a short time.
• This book shows you how to be an honest hedonist and individualist—to be true to thine own self first—but at the same time live happily, successfully, and re-latedly in a social group. It lets you keep and even sharpen your own special values, goals, and ideals while being a responsible citizen of your chosen community.
• It is simple and, I hope, exceptionally clear, but far from simplistic. Its wisdom, gleaned from many philosophers and psychologists, is practical and earthy— but nonetheless profound.
• It presents rules and methods derived from today’s fastest-growing type of therapies—REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)—which have grown enormously in recent years through their efficacy in helping millions of clients as well as thousands of therapists. It takes the best of the self-help techniques from which these therapies are formed and adapts them to the ability of the average reader to use them. That means Y-O-U.
Does this book, finally, uniquely tell you how to stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about anything—yes, anything? Really? Honestly? No nonsense about it? Yes, it actually does—if you will sincerely listen (L-I-S-T-E-N) and work (W-O-R-K) at receiving and using its message.
Will you listen? Will you work? Will you T-H-I-N-K, F-E-E-L, and A-C-T?
You definitely can. I hope you will!
Introduction: Bringing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Up to Date in the Twenty-First
1 – Why Is This Book Different from Other Self-Help Books?
2 – Can You Really Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything?
3 – Can Scientific Thinking Remove Your Emotional Misery?
4 – How to Think Scientifically About Yourself, Other People, and Your Life Conditions
5 – Why the Usual Kinds of Insight Won’t Help You Overcome Your Emotional Problems
6 – REBT Insight No. l: Making Yourself Fully Aware of Your Healthy and Unhealthy Feelings
7 – REBT Insight No. 2: You Control Your Emotional Destiny
8 – REBT Insight No. 3: The Tyranny of the Shoulds
9 – REBT Insight N0.4: Forget Your “ Godawful” Past!
10 – REBT Insight No. 5: Actively Dispute Your Irrational Beliefs
11 – REBT Insight No. 6: You Can Refuse to Upset Yourself About Upsetting Yourself
12 – REBT Insight No. 7: Solving Practical Problems as Well as Emotional Problems
13 – REBT Insight No. 8: Changing Thoughts and Feelings by Acting Against Them
14 – REBT Insight No. 9: Using Work and Practice
15 – REBT Insight No. 10: Forcefully Changing Your Beliefs, Feelings, and Behaviors
16 – REBT Insight No. ll: Achie\ing Emotional Change Is Not Enough—Maintaining It Is Harder!
17 – REBT Insight No. 12: If You Backslide, Try, Try’Again!
18 – REBT Insight No. 13: You Can Extend Your Refusal to Make Yourself Miserable
19 – REBT Insight No. 14: Yes, You Can Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Severely Anxious or Depressed About Anything
Appendix: The Biological Basis of Human Irrationality’
About the Author
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