12 core beliefs that hold us back (in GIFs) & how to counter them

Last week we saw how we think in specific situations. These thoughts are determined by our core beliefs. They are the unconscious rules we’ve set for ourselves to react to circumstances and events.

Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) came up with a dozen core beliefs that lead to negative emotions and behaviors. Here they are-

#1. I need love and approval from those significant to me- and I must avoid disapproval from any source.

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#2. To be worthwhile as a person I must achieve, succeed at whatever I do, and make no mistakes.


#3. People should always do the right thing. When they behave obnoxiously, unfairly or selfishly they must be blamed and punished.


#4. Things must be the way I want them to be, otherwise life will be intolerable.


#5. My unhappiness is caused by things that are outside my control- so there is little I can do to feel better.


#6. I must worry about things that could be dangerous, unpleasant or frightening- otherwise they might happen.


#7. Because they are too much to bear, I must avoid life’s difficulties, unpleasantness and responsibilities.


#8. Everyone needs to depend on someone stronger than themselves.


#9. Events in my past are the cause of my problems-and they continue to influence my feelings and behaviors now.


#10. I should become upset when other people have problems, and feel unhappy when they’re sad.


#11. I shouldn’t have to feel discomfort and pain- I can’t stand them and must avoid them at all costs.


#12. Every problem should have an ideal solution- and it’s intolerable when one can’t be found.


How to counter these 12 core beliefs (with an example)

  1. Pick the core belief you want to counter. Let’s say it’s the first one- I need love and approval from those significant to me- and I must avoid disapproval from any source.
  2. Can I rationally support this core belief? Hmm. No.
  3. What evidence exists that this core belief is false? It seems silly to expect that no one will disapprove of me.
  4. What is the worst thing that could happen to me if I don’t get what I think I must? I’d feel sad, but other people can love me in the future.
  5. What good things could happen if I don’t get what I think I must? I could find someone better, develop a hobby, be more self sufficient- the list goes on.

Spend 10 minutes a day Disputing Irrational Beliefs (DIBs) and see the difference it makes in your life. That’s the D in the ABCDE model.

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