How do we know whether our values are right or wrong?

Posted by Rex Alexander on Tue 15 Jan 19 in morality, Rational living, Rational Thinking |


We have been having a fascinating discussion at the REBT-CBT Yahoogroup about REBT and values.   A member points out that everyone has a collection of values; things and qualities which are important to them., and asks what REBT says about values and–more interesting–how do we know whether our values are right or wrong?

1.  Values are very important, fundamental, in REBT-CBT theory, approach and practice.




2.  REBT-CBT rarely ventures into areas of “right or wrong” and has a natural “distaste” for absolute morality.  So, let us reframe your question as “How do we know whether our values are rational?  Of course, in order to grapple with that one, we need a better sense of what REBT-CBT means by “rational.”  Hopefully, this will stimulate the other guys to fill in some of the blanks, but briefly let me point out that REBT-CBT uses “rational” in a special way which includes “logical” but also relies heavily on the of “helpful;” are my values helpful?  Firstly, are they helpful to me?  Do they help me to get more of what I want and less of what I do not want?  Do they help me to feel good much of the time?  Do t hey help me to behave in ways which are rewarding and fulfilling?   Secondly, are they helpful to others; my family, loved ones, friends, associates, society as whole?   Of course, there is nothing that says that your values absolutely must be helpful to others, however, we are social animals, and  if we are behaving in ways that are counter to the interest of others, that  may interfere with us getting more of what we want and less of what we do not want.  Note that “what we want” here  includes much more than just  prosperity and material possessions.
Khon Kaen, Thailand

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Originally posted 2013-06-20 19:57:19.

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