What are the irrational beliefs we hold?
Many of us hold irrational beliefs sometimes. If someone shouts at us, we might feel low or react aggressively. Last week, we saw how we process happenings in our head with the ABC model.
Kinds of irrational beliefs
Let’s take a closer look now at the kinds of irrational Beliefs we can hold.
- Irrational beliefs about the self are Ego disturbances
- Irrational beliefs about physical and emotional discomfort are Discomfort disturbances
Ego disturbances arise when our self image is upset.
Sometimes we demand from our self that we
- Must not fail
- Must get others’ approval
So if we fail, as is inevitable sometimes, we beat ourselves up like this-
- I failed, I’m no good
- Others disapprove so I’m no good.
Then we feel anxious about the mismatch between the demand we make on ourselves and what we perceive as reality.
We might then choose to avoid situations where we could fail or get disapproval.
Discomfort disturbances happen due to the
- Demands we have from others- People must treat me right
- Demands about the world- The circumstances in which I live must be the way I want
Discomfort disturbance comes in two flavors-
Low frustration tolerance
We don’t want to be frustrated and we feel bad when we do. Beliefs like ‘Things should be like I want them to be, and I can’t stand it when they’re not’ fall under this.
Low discomfort tolerance
Results when our demands for physical and emotional comfort are not met. Beliefs include ‘I should feel happy all the time.’
How to conquer these irrational beliefs
Being aware of these goes a long way in helping us check ourselves when we feel an attack coming on. We should then stop, breathe, think and then react. The chances of us reacting cognitively rather than in a knee jerk manner will go up then.
Although we can’t change the Activating Event (the A in the ABC model), we can change our reaction to it by being aware of our Belief. By substituting a positive belief for an automatic negative one, gradually we will strengthen our cognitive muscles until it comes naturally to us, to not catastrophize and react rationally to happenings.