Emotional Choice – Lessons from the great Professor Albert Ellis


Do you know you have a choice to be calm rather than feel stressed? Professor Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Therapy & Philosophy, just like NLP, had demonstrated this choice.

We often live by many rules in our life. These rules express themselves via the use of language which consists of ‘musts’, ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’. Professor Albert Ellis calls them ‘mustabatories’:

• I must have love or approval from everyone that I meet.
• I must perform all my tasks perfectly, making no mistakes, if I am to be worthwhile
• Because I want people to treat me fairly, they must do so.
• If I don’t get what I want, it is terrible and I cannot stand it.
• It is easier to avoid facing things than being responsible.

There are rules we need to live by and uphold. It is important to understand it is when our irrational mustabortories rules our lives that we become rigid in our way of think and subsequently caused us to generate unhelpful emotions and behaviours. It is important to be able to assess the usefulness of these rules we live by and create change by generating choices.

Professor Ellis pointed out, our thinking can be in ‘Rational & Irrational’ ‘Awfulising & Anti-aufulising’, ‘Low & High Frustration Tolerance’ and ‘Self, Other Downings & Self, Other Acceptance ’ pairs, and we can:

1. Transform musts into preferences:
Irrational: I must keep my house absolutely clean and tidy and perfectly presentable at all times.
Rational: I like to keep my house clean and tidy and presentable so I feel comfortable and proud of my house
Rational: I can keep my house clean and tidy and presentable so I feel comfortable and proud of my house when I can or one day a week.

2. Transform Awfulising to Anti-awfulising:
• Awfulising: It is such a disaster that I did not present myself well in the meeting; my future days in this company are numbered.
• Anti-awfulising: I did not do well in presenting myself in the meeting, but that is not the end, I am capable and I am wondering if there is another way to get my points across and learn from this experience to do better next time.

3. Transform Low Frustration tolerance (LFT) to High Frustration tolerance (HFT)
LFT: I just can’t stand failing my test, my life is ruined
HFT: Not passing my test is hard to handle, but it is not the end of the world

4. Transform Self/Other Downing (SOD) to Self/Other Acceptance (SOA)
SOD has an exaggerated and negative view of self and other people. For example, after a person made a mistake, he / she might think: “how can I make such a big mistake and lost my chance to be promoted, I am such a loser; I am just not good enough!”
SOA says we are all human, there are good and bad for everyone. Sometimes we succeed sometimes we don’t. The same person can choose to think: “I made a mistake and lost my chance to be promoted this time, I am capable and I am willing to work harder to be better than I am now.”

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