Difference between “rational statements” & “positive thinking” ?



Rational statements such as “It’s a hassle . . . not a horror!” and the many others are an important part of REBT 101. However–except in cases where an individual is simply incapable of doing the more rigorous disputing and replacing–rational statements augment ABC disputing and replacing, they do not substitute for it. And, of course, it goes without saying that disputing-replacing is best when done “wet.” That is when it is a dynamic, emotive even passionate process, rather than just mechanically filling out forms and intellectually connecting logical statements with the same mindset as one uses to solve a rubik’s cube



How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable…
by Albert Ellis




From the Rational Emotive Cognitive Therapy facebook page

You can make up your own, of course, but here are examples of some very sound and excellent

Rational Coping Statements

Practice saying these statements to yourself. Let surface any resistance to believing them. See if you can make them “fit”. Try and believe them at a deep core level. Say them over and over, slowly as if they were true. Let them comfort that part of you that is critical, judgemental and impatient.

1. I do not need other people’s approval to feel happy and worthwhile.

2. My self-worth does not depend on what others think of me.

3. If someone rejects me, it does not mean there is something wrong with me.

4. If someone criticizes me, it does not mean that I am a worthless person.

5. Being alone does not mean I have to be unhappy.

6. I may prefer to have someone love me, but I do not need their love to be happy.

7. I am not worth less than others who are more attractive than I am or who are in better health than I am.

8. I am not worth less than others who are more intelligent or more successful than I am.

9. I do not have to be outstanding at everything or anything to be a worthwhile person.

10. My self-worth does not depend on how productive or successful I am.

11. I do not have to be perfect. It is more helpful to give reasonable effort to achieve reasonable goals.

12.If I make mistakes, it does not mean that I am a worthless person.

13. It serves no purpose to endlessly punish myself for my mistakes. Admit, accept, learn from and move on.

14.There is no rule that says people have to meet my expectations.

15. I am not entitled to success, love, happiness or health. Much of it is hard work; much of it is chance. Life is often not fair.

16. I do not have to control the way other people treat me. The way other people treat me is not an indication of my self-worth.

17. What is happening to other people is most often beyond my control and not my fault.

18. Everything that happens is not a reflection of me. I am not the centre of the universe.

19. If others are upset or annoyed, it does not mean that I have done something wrong.

20,When I say or do something that others do not agree with, it does not mean that I am a worthless person.

21. If others criticize me, or reject me, or disappointment me, or let me down, or make mistakes, it does not mean that they are bad, worthless people. We are all fallible human beings.

22. Even though I have had problems in the past, it does not mean there will be problems in the future.

23. My feelings are a result of the way I am thinking: about myself, about others and about the events affecting my life. I can change the way I am feeling by changing what I am thinking.

24. My bad moods are not beyond my control.

25. There are no shoulds, no musts, no have-tos.

26. It may take time and hard work to change some thoughts and beliefs, but the time and the work are worth it.

Make your own personal list of rational coping statements. Keep a copy with you. Review it several times a day. Pick one or two and use them as mantras during your day.


For a deeper and fascinating exploration of the history of positive thinking  and other woowoo concepts, and how they came into the culture, see my longer article Accentuate the Rational


As a team, disputing-replacing and rational statements (as well as humorous rational limericks and songs) work well together and reinforce one another. However, without rigorous REBT 101 disputing-replacing, rational statements are just another form of  “PPT” puny positive thinking, which is often irrational and counter-productive.



Does positive thinking work? Unquestionably at times. People have invented slogans that have at times helped to cure themselves of various kinds of ills. You can, too, if you use some well-chosen positive self-statements. Watch it, however! Emile Coué, the most popular therapist in the world in the 1920s, went out of business because his positive self-suggestions were often Pollyannaish and unrealistic. Who truly gets better day by day in every way? Not very many!
Who actually, as Napoleon Hill pushes you to do, just thinks and grows rich? Hardly anyone!

~Albert Ellis, How to Make Yourself Happy and Remarkably Less Disturbable, p. 89



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Originally posted 2013-08-29 05:05:56.

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