The old proverb “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet” (in various forms attributed to Chinese, Indian, Jewish, Irish and other origins. Versions are attributed to Tolstoy, Helen Keller and others, and go as far back as the 13th Century to the Persian poet Sa’ di) never did resonated for me. It is guilt-provoking. It is not that I lack empathy for the poor, footless man, but I am a selfish bastard and I still want my shoes, goddamit! Still, I have a choice. I can regard my lack of shoes (the “activating event”) as unfortunate and annoying, and think about what I can do to remedy it, or live with it if I cannot remedy it. That type of healthy, “cool” thinking will produce annoyance, frustration, disappointment, sadness; all healthy, “natural” emotions from the REBT standpoint. The problem arises, however, when I think my lack of shoes is TERRIBLE, AWFUL, THE END OF THE WORLD! When I tell myself that I CAN’T STAND IT! Isn’t that exactly what little kids do? They erupt in a bloody tantrum over some issue (activating event) that adults immediately recognize as trivial. So far as I know, REBT is the only therapeutic approach that teaches clients to clearly distinguish between what it terms healthy and unhealthy emoting. For example, annoyance and irritation are healthy while anger, rage, bitterness and resentment are unhealthy. That is, unhealthy in the sense of being unhelpful and ultimately self-defeating. Most people do not make such distinctions and are therefore a kind of emotional prisoner in an Alice in Wonderland world,over-emoting or under-emoting unable to find that “sweet spot” that lets them behave in ways which are rewarding and self-fulling, and lead them to get more of what they want and less of what they do not want.
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Hi REBT Mates,
This post may not be of interest to the casual reader and is more relevant to General Semantics than REBT, per se. We have been having a discussion on the General Semantics facebook group about one of Korzybsk’s early assertions fundamental to General Semantics that man is not an animal, but rather a entirely different “class” of life. I reject this assertion as a bit “19th Century” and a suffering from a hangover from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Dyed-in-the-wool GS people, however, strongly disagree and defend the premise
For those who are interested in GS, please feel free to continue reading and join in the discussion.
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Roses seem red,
Violets look blue,
Sucks big time too!
Hi REBT Mates!
OK, let’s admit it, poetry is one of the few areas where e-Prime doesn’t work very well. In fact, it sucks! And doesn’t help that I ain’t no poet! I have just published a page containing a lengthy, in-depth e-Prime tutorial by the mysterious Don Scorpio. Although I am not fluent in e-Prime, I have found that knowing and applying some of the fundamentals continues to accelerate and deepen my appreciation of REBT. Be warned, this is a serious, in-dept tutorial, but well worth the investment if you are interested in e-Prime, General Semantics (GS) and REBT. Have a looksee and let us know what you think. Please share with others who may be interested.
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Hi REBT mates! Happy Valentines Day! Enjoy, but don’t be a sap!
Peeps are often surprised that REBT considers “need” to be an irrational belief (IB) in-and-of-itself . . . except at the level of basic survival needs such as food and shelter, and I would add appropriate attachment between mother and infant (see Harlow’s Monkey Experiment http://bit.ly/harlowsexp ).
Most so called “needs” fall into what I call “disguised shoulds.” It is difficult to recognize these as such because “I need what I need” seems so reasonable and like common sense.. I NEED love. I NEED this job I NEED success. I NEED people to cooperate and act kindly toward me. I NEED to have a family, spouse, kids, significant other. True, threats to our economic and social survival can indeed seem like threats to our actual survival. Fortunately, they are not, and while needs seem, well, necessary, they are in fact not in most cases. So, once again, it may be a bummer, a big, nasty, hairy bummer when I do not get what I claim to need . . . but in reality, I only strongly (maybe very strongly) prefer it, and if is not the end of the world if I don’t get it, even though I can enjoy carrying one and as if I can’t stand it.
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I have been thinking about malls as “dopamine factories.” Dopamine is a brain chemical involved in many different functions, most notably pleasure, reward and addiction. Cocaine is addictive not so much because we become addicted to the cocaine, but rather we become addicted to the hit of dopamine, and when we don’t have it we want more cocaine to get more dopamine. Cocaine and other mood altering drugs are the brains way of getting more dopamine!
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It may have been yours truly who coined the term “disguised shoulds.” Dishonest “why” questions are one of the most obvious examples. Dishonest “whys” pretend to ask for an explanation when in fact they are really making a “should” statement.
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In recent discussion, Amanda said : “Going out for dinner is a choice, bleeding monthly is not, it should be covered by our healthcare”
The problem here is the word “SHOULD” as in “SHOULD be covered by our healthcare.” The word fucks up everything when otherwise intelligent people are trying to communicate intelligently.
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Hello REBT Mates.
I am sharing an excerpt from Mark Levinson’s important “Sensible Thinking for Turbulent Times.” The complete book in paper and Kindle is available on Amazon.com . It is only $3.99 on Kindle for some reason.
This chapter serves two important functions. First it provides a comprehensive “mini-history” of World War I. If you have not studied this tragic convulsion of humanity for awhile, you may be amazed to discover or re-discover that this man-made catastrophe causing 17 MILLION deaths and 20 MILLION wounded was entirely unnecessary resulting from an almost comic chain of irrational decisions and events. You may also find that the parallels to the troubled times we live in now are striking in many ways.
The second part of the chapter provides suggestions based upon General Semantics (GS) on how to avoid international conflicts (which can also apply on the level of the organizational and the family as well.
This is a little more scholarly than most of the content on REBTinfo.com but it is important, very important. If you are a serius student of REBT then you already know that Dr. Ellis was strongly influcnced by GS. Knowing something about GS (particularly about the sub-sent of GS called “e-Prime“) will contribute to your growth as a student or as a professional, as it has mine. Enjoy and please share your thoughts.
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