Why You May Dislike REBT

Defeating Low Discomfort Tolerance

Some people dislike and are disinclined to adopt REBT largely because of their desire to remain comfortable. REBT is a philosophy and an approach to psychological health and behavioral change that puts the individual in the driver’s seat. REBT argues we depress ourselves about obstacles and the power largely lies within each of us to end our depression. Likewise, we make ourselves anxious about threats and shameful about our substandard performances. We make ourselves have unhealthy anger towards those who transgress us, feel unhealthy envy for those who have what we desire strongly to have, and largely cause our experience of unhealthy jealousy towards those we love. Distressing events clearly occur in life and REBT clearly acknowledges this. People die, we lose jobs, and we make grave mistakes. We lose love, get rejected and are unfairly criticized. People misbehave towards each other all the time. However, REBT shows us that we disturb ourselves about these distressing events and sadly we then often maintain that disturbance long after the event has passed. REBT pushes the individual to do what we as fallible humans are generally more or less disinclined to do – take significant responsibility for our own emotional disturbance. That is being accountable for our self-defeating emotions and behaviors. This is uncomfortable.  

People too often find it easier to blame the past, their parents, larger society, or even their biology for their emotional upset and behavioral disturbance. REBT does acknowledge that biology plays a role in emotional and behavioral disturbance. Some people will have to work harder to think, feel, and behave sensibly than others due to their biological predisposition. This is unfortunate but sadly Mother Nature is unfair and we had better accept this and do the best with the predisposition we do have. Put another way some people unfortunately are by nature more inclined to demand and command that life, other people, and even their own behavior be to their liking. Some people are more inclined to cling to this self-defeating philosophy even when it costs them dearly and there is clear evidence it is false. 

REBT firmly teaches that even those of us who are particularly inclined to emotional disturbance can go against the grain and do things that are uncomfortable and work hard to change our thinking, feeling, and behavior. To some this might be welcomed news. It is an optimistic prescription for emotional well-being and behavioral change. Others may not welcome it because it puts the responsibility for psychological well-being and behavioral change in the hands of the individual. This point of view also leads to discomfort over emotional accountability.

REBT does not blame you for your disturbance but it does hold you responsible for it. Blame means you have done something poorly and you are less good as a person or condemnable. REBT argues that if you do not assume responsibility for your emotions you are misguided but it fully accepts you as a person. People have a perfect right to reject responsibility for their self-defeating emotions, self-defeating behaviors and the philosophy that underpins these. People have a perfect right to not take responsibility for their lives. There is no law of the universe that says each of us must embrace REBT’s principle of emotional responsibility. However, according to the philosophy of REBT you are capable of assuming emotional responsibility and if you do, it will serve you well as you strive to live a happy life and achieve your personal goals in the face of the adversities that inevitably occur to us all. The choice is yours.

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