How To Develop Empowering And Rational Beliefs 

 January 23, 2023

By  Kristin Rivas

Signs You May Be Suffering From Irrational Beliefs...

Do you spend a lot of time and energy being preoccupied about whether other people like you? It's one thing to be concerned about whether someone who is a bully or some kind of hateful discriminatory fanatic who could cause you harm. It's understandable to care about what your boss thinks about your work on the job.

A constant general worry about whether people like you, value you, or approve of you is another thing. This is one sign that you may be suffering from an irrational belief. Persistent, chronic worries about any subject are usually a symptom of one or more underlying irrational belief.

How do you feel about your past and your future? Do you expect your past to be the biggest determiner of future events, including your behaviors? If your answer is yes, this is also a sign that you're holding an irrational belief.

Holding even just one irrational belief can create many negative impacts on your life. That's why it's truly worthwhile to review the following 12 most commonly identifiable irrational beliefs. See whether any resonate with you. You'll also see some examples of rational alternative beliefs to consider replacing them with.

Common Beliefs vs. Rational Beliefs

Dr. Albert Ellis was a practitioner of rational emotive behavior therapy. During his time as a therapist, he identified the 12 most common irrational beliefs that people have. Ellis’ definition of an irrational belief is that:

✦ It is illogical

✦ It distorts reality

✦ It leads to unhealthy emotions

✦ It leads to self-defeating behavior

✦ It prevents you from reaching your goals

The 12 Most Common Irrational Beliefs

Below are the most common 12 irrational beliefs as identified by Dr. Ellis. In the following statements, the first responses given (marked A.), are competing rational beliefs as suggested by my friend, Phil Klien, who was my TEDx speaker coach for my "Life Changing Power of Words" talk and has been the curator of many TEDx Seattle events.

Allow them to inspire your own. Be sure to think about how your new beliefs would play out in your life.

1. “The idea that it is a dire necessity for an adult human being to be loved or approved by virtually every significant other person in his community.”

A. Vs — I get some love from some people sometimes.

B. Vs —

2. “The idea that one should be thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving in all possible respects if one is to consider oneself worthwhile.”

A. Vs — I am good enough, with my shortcomings and imperfections.

B. Vs —

3. “The idea that certain people are bad, wicked, or villainous and that they should be severely blamed and punished for their villainy.”

A. Vs — People who do bad things are not wicked.

B. Vs —

4. “The idea that it is awful and catastrophic when things are not the way one would very much like them to be.”

A. Vs — Things are the way they are whether I like it or not.

B. Vs —

5. “The idea that human unhappiness is externally caused and that people have little or no ability to control their sorrows and disturbances.”

A. Vs — I have only some control sometimes.

B. Vs —

6. “The idea that if something is or may be dangerous or fearsome one should be terribly concerned about it and should keep dwelling on the possibility of its occurring.”

A. Vs — I relax my fixations and hold things in a wider perspective.

B. Vs —

7. “The idea that it is easier to avoid than to face certain life difficulties and self-responsibilities.”

A. Vs — Facing life difficulties can be easier than avoiding them.

B. Vs —

8. “The idea that one should be dependent on others and needs someone stronger than oneself on whom to rely.”

A. Vs — I can rely on myself. I know the support of others is limited.

B. Vs —

9. “The idea that one’s past history is an all-important determiner of one’s present behavior and that because something once strongly affected one’s life, it should indefinitely have a similar effect.”

A. Vs — The past isn't all-important, past events can cease to be.

B. Vs —

10.“The idea that one should become quite upset over other people’s problems and disturbances.”

A. Vs — Other people's problems don't justify my being upset.

B. Vs —

11. “The idea that there is invariably a right, precise, and perfect solution to human problems and that it is catastrophic if this perfect solution is not found.”

A. Vs — Imperfect solutions to human problems can be sufficient.

B. Vs —

12.“The idea that you can give people (including yourself) a global rating as a human and that their general worth depends upon the goodness of their performances.”

A. Vs — I am more than my behaviors and performances.

B. Vs —

Rational Belief

My Own Suggested Empowering Philosophies

My top four responsibilities to myself as an able bodied, able minded, and independent adult are:

Be as self aware as possible. I will continually develop the skill of identifying sensations as signals, feelings, needs, desires, concerns, questions, and requests.

Be as responsibly self advocating as possible. I will speak up for myself as strategically as possible - communicating my feelings, needs, desires, concerns, questions, requests, and setting up healthy boundaries for myself whenever I need to. I will do so for the benefit of me, my loved ones, and my community and not at the expense of any of us. I commit myself to continually advocating for a safe, healthy, sustainable lifestyle and environment. I commit to advocating for the same on the behalf of my fellow citizens of humanity and the world.

Craft and protect an empowering identity for myself. I choose to identify myself as my core values (wisdom, courage, aliveness, love, joy, etc.) so that as I embody them, I create, protect and maintain healthy behaviors as well as a satisfying experience of being me.

Remember that nobody will be able to do a better job at this than me. The moment I would choose to rely on someone else to fulfill these responsibilities would be the moment I chose to disempower myself.

✦ I will be able to do this as long as I remember that the fear of not being good enough and not being loved or lovable are complexes humans have inherited as social pack creatures. They are as natural to us as the fear of pain and death. These innate complexes have to do with our ability to survive, therefore I will keep them in check with that perspective.

✦ It is totally normal to wonder, “Am I doing this (life) right?” To ask questions every now and then such as: Do I have what it takes? Am I taking care of myself or doing the best I can? Is there someone else who does this better than I do? Am I coming across in a way that other people will like me, be loyal and willing to help me?

✦ My job is to parent my primal brain and to compensate for these innate and learned complexes by being as rational, reassuring, supportive, and encouraging to myself as possible. The better I get at reassuring and taking care of myself, the less often these thoughts will come, and the less powerful these fears will be!

✦ I will be able to this as long as I remember that my opinion of me matters more than anyone else’s. Self-esteem is rightfully earned when I keep my word to myself, learn lessons from regrets and challenges, and strive to take care of myself and live from my values the best I can.

Empowering and Rational Belief

My Own Suggested Empowering Philosophies

✦ Use my ResiliencyExpanding Compassion, New Behavior Generator, and or Calm and Confident In Company meditations. They'll help you ingrain the ways of thinking and feeling you’ll need to abide by your new empowering beliefs.

✦ Read my Adopting New Beliefs blogpost as a guide for integrating your own chosen beneficial beliefs effectively as you possibly can!

✦ Read Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life and use the Companion Workbook | A book on the best communication style I’ve found - helpful both personally and professionally.

✦ Search for a NVC facilitator in your area for private or group coaching.

Let me know what you think of this post. Make a comment or contact me if you have any questions you'd like me to answer. If you found this information to be helpful, go ahead and share it on social media or with a friend who could use it.

Kristin Rivas

Kristin Rivas is a certified Brain Health Coach, Hypnotherapist, and NLP practitioner who helps people to feel, think, and live better. Specializing in behavior change and goal achievement, she empowers clients to live to their full potential & foster their own wellness. A former TEDx presenter, she is also a highly sought after speaker.

Kristin Rivas

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