Some ideas and concepts of Albert Ellis and REBT, adapted and compiled by a SMART Recovery member...
The following suggestions for Profound Rational Philosophies are for you to experiment with, to see how they work for you. These are not etched in stone ‰ÛÒ they are for consideration.
I have little choice over my heredity and many of the things that happen to me during my lifetime. I can influence but rarely control others. But I can, with hard work and practice, largely control my own thoughts, feelings and behaviours and thereby control much of my own emotional destiny. I can decide on my own goals and purposes, give meaning to my life, and achieve much of what I want and avoid much of what I donÕt want.
To change and control myself I require not only will but willpower.
1) deciding to do (or not do) something
2) making myself determined to do it
3) acquiring suitable knowledge of how to do it
4) acting on my determination and knowledge
5) continuing to decide, to determine, to acquire suitable knowledge and especially, to act.
My actions speak louder than words of will. No action, no willpower
I can largely control and limit my emotional and behavioural disturbances - especially my feelings of severe anxiety, depression, rage, worthlessness and self pity - by thinking in terms of preferences and desires, including strong preferences and desires, instead of absolutistic demands - especially insistent shoulds, oughts, musts, Ôhave tosÕ and Ôgot tosÕ.
IÕd better take many things seriously, but not too seriously and make many projects important but not sacred. I can live comfortably without certainty or perfection. I will watch my tendencies to over generalize, carelessly label and stereotype and strive to be open-minded and less severely prejudiced.
I will always accept myself as a fallible human being who will make many errors and mistakes. I will mainly choose my own goals and purposes and will only rate or evaluate my thoughts, feelings and actions as ‰Û÷goodÕ when they aid and ‰Û÷badÕ when they sabotage my individual and social goals.
I shall not globally rate myself, my essence, my personhood or my being.
By achieving USA, whether or not I perform well or whether or not I am approved by others, I shall still try to perform better and to get along with other people ‰ÛÒ not to prove my worth as a person, but to enhance my efficiency and enjoyment.
I will accept other people unconditionally, even when I deplore their behaviours with myself and with others. I will accept their human fallibility and never damn them as persons. As with myself, I shall Òaccept the sinners but not condone their sins.Ó I shall try to help people change their poor behaviours, and may stay away from them if they donÕt, but I will not insist that they absolutely must change and will not be vindictive or revengeful if they donÕt. I shall try to help people act fairly and justly, but not command that they absolutely have to be fair.
I will acknowledge that human life is full of many troubles, difficulties, misfortunes and injustices and that they will often continue to prevail. I will do my best to change what I can about these troubles, to accept (but not like!) what I cannot change and to have the wisdom to know the difference.
I will not define the very bad things in my life as awful, terrible, or horrible. When I insist that something is awful, I may correctly see it as unusually bad or even catastrophic - as are hurricanes, earthquakes or devastating wars.
But by awfulizing, I also tend to whine about poor conditions, to think that they are so bad that they absolutely must not exist, and to think that they are totally ruinous and bad as they could be. These are all exaggerations which will not help me cope with very unfortunate events. So IÕd better stop whining and help myself cope better with even the worst adversaries and adversities.
Similarly, when I insist that I canÕt stand adversities, I imply that I will die of them, or be unable to be happy at all because of them. But I wonÕt die, and I can still find some kind of happiness. If I stop my awfulizing, my whining and my Ôi-cant-stand-itsÕ, I will stop making my frustrations worse than they actually are and will raise my frustration tolerance and more effectively cope with the unfortunate Activating Events of my life.
Because I have my own limitations and fallibilities, because other people are also far from perfect, and because life has constant dangers and misfortunes, I will never be completely undisturbed or undisturbable. Even when I do my best to cope with adversities, I will still tend to fall back at times to needlessly upsetting myself.
So this is my greatest challenge: to keep working at establishing and maintaining Profound Rational Philosophies such as these and to forcefully use and revise them when adversity strikes—and when ever I bring it on myself. No matter what!
Let unfortunate things happen. Let people and things plague me. Let me grow old and be more afflicted with physical pains and ills. Let me suffer real losses and sorrows. Whatever may be, I am still largely the creator and ruler of my emotional destiny. My head and body may be bloodied, but I am still determined to be unbowed. In spite of lifeÕs storms, I shall seek and find some decent shelter. But occasionally when I donÕt, I shall refuse to throw my hands up and whine and whimper.
My goals are to live and let live. This is the only life that I am sure I will ever have. I am delighted to be alive. I am determined to stay alive and find some kind of happiness. No matter what, no matter what! This is the greatest challenge that I can take. I fully and enthusiastically accept it.
Taken from A Guide To Rational Living By Ellis and Harper