1. It is not events that disturb us but our rigid and extreme attitudes about the unfortunate events of life that disturb us. In other words, we frighten ourselves, anxietize ourselves, depress ourselves, and anger ourselves by demanding that certain outcomes absolutely must not occur and by believing that unfortunate conditions when they do occur are unbearable.
2. Acknowledge that there are two fundamental ways fallible humans disturb themselves which boil down to:
Ego Disturbance: Things must go as I want them to, I must do well, and you must treat me well. When these things that must occur, do not occur, it reflects on my personhood, my essence. I am inadequate, I am diminished, I am a fool, I am a loser, or perhaps I am lesser than others or completely worthless.
Discomfort Disturbance: Things must go as I want them to, I must do ideally well, and you must treat me ideally well. When I am not treated ideally well it is uncomfortable and I cannot bear that! I should be comfortable all the time.
Self-helping, healthy alternative attitudes to treat these two fundamental disturbances include:
For Your Ego Disturbance: I want things to go ideally well for me and I want others to treat me ideally well but these lovely conditions do not have to happen. When life is rough and people mistreat me that does not in any way diminish my human worth. Even if I have contributed to an unfortunate outcome my missteps prove I am human, a fallible human, but my essence cannot be validly defined as inadequate or lacking in fundamental worth. I will strive to learn from experience in order to live my life to enjoy myself NOT to prove my worth as a human. I am never lesser as a person although I may perform less than ideally well.
For Your Discomfort Disturbance: I want things to go ideally well for me and I want others to treat me ideally well but this does not absolutely have to happen. When life is rough and people mistreat me that is unfortunate, inconvenient, disappointing, and I may very well be uncomfortable BUT this is not unbearable. I can tolerate misfortune and mistreatment but will never like it! Such unfortunate conditions are worth tolerating when they occur because this is how things are unfolding at this time. This is too bad and I am committed to an attitude that empowers me by resisting what I can influence and accepting that which I cannot change. I can choose to control my attitude towards and my reaction to rough conditions.
Look for both of these two fundamental human disturbances when you are upsetting yourself. Go back to this email and restore your emotional well-being by tolerating the discomfort of life AND choosing to accept yourself warts and all. REBT is a liberating philosophy. Do REBT now, use REBT now, act on REBT now!