-Albert Ellis, Ph.D
"People and things do not upset us. Rather, we upset ourselves by believing that they can upset us."
-Albert Ellis, Ph.D
REBT is the Cognitive Behavioral psychotherapy that can really help a person when their worst nightmare, sadly becomes a reality. It takes direct aim at the beliefs that make us most vulnerable to emotional disturbance.
Like all people, Albert Ellis did not have an easy life. He was ill as child, spent much time away from his family in the hospital as a boy, experienced poverty as a young adult, and was ridicule as a professional. His professional peers ridiculed him for teaching his clients that the past did not determine their emotional reactions so much as their present beliefs. Yet over time, he built a huge following of loyal clients and travelled the world teaching people the simple ideas of REBT. He wrote a book titled How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything: Yes, Anything. In this book he teaches that learning to have unconditional self-acceptance, unconditional other acceptance, and unconditional life acceptance is the key to stubbornly refusing to be miserable about anything.
On the face of it, this simple message makes perfect sense. Accept all things you cannot change and work like hell to change what you can change. This is simple advice which fallible humans have a hell of a time implementing. I have practiced Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy for twenty-four years and I have not strayed from this therapy because as I see it REBT can be profoundly liberating. The acceptance REBT advocates is difficult to implement but I remain firm with people facing all kinds of hardships. There is no easy way to implement this powerful advice. Fallible humans do not like to adjust to life as it is and will try all sorts of ways to change what they do not like. Attempting to change what we do not like is a legitimate thing to do as long as we do not forget to work on ourselves as well and accept those things that are slow to change or cannot be changed.
Even once you have come to accept, what cannot be changed your self-directed work is not complete. You had better work on maintaining that acceptance or else it will slip away. Fallible humans easily revert to old self-defeating beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. Unfortunately, this is our nature. If you revert to your old ways of disturbing yourself over the adversities you face do not despair. Accept your backsliding and then work to change it. Accept that continued vigilance against rigid thinking is what is required to maintain that precious self, other and life acceptance. Keep after yourself and see that you can regain your philosophical acceptance and effectively cope with that which is painfully slow to change or that cannot be changed.