Someone who has a BBQ planned might complain about the rain while someone who has to work all weekend might not mind it
Your perception dictates the meaning of your life. It is rarely ever about the experience, event, or behavior but rather the way you look at it
If you are in a room with two friends who are texting and giggling, you might assume they’re saying things about you so you start to feel hurt or self conscious or embarrassed so you run out of the room and ignore them for the rest of the day
But what your assumption prevented you from experiencing is the funny meme they were making to surprise you in an effort to make you feel better about how your boss had been treating you at work
Instead you got into conflict due to the assumption
Interesting how that works isn’t it?
This is the underlying structure of REBT (rational emotive behavior therapy) proposed by American Psychologist, Albert Ellis’s, on how we experience life
He theorized it’s not what we experience but rather how we perceive it
The core of the method is the ABCs
A stands for the activating event
B stands for the beliefs about the event
C stands for the consequences (such as emotions or behaviors) due to the B beliefs
Activating event could be the scale showing you gained weight
The irrational belief or assumption might be that you are a failure and never going to get where you want to be anyways
The consequence of this is you end up binge eating because it doesn’t matter anyways...
Example scenario 2:
Activating event: you are home alone
Belief associated: the only time you can eat whatever you want is when you are home alone otherwise people will judge you for having chocolate and chips and cookies and not weighing out everything you consume
Consequence: you eat as much as you can until people come back and then feel really ashamed and guilty and judge yourself
Event: You get broken up with
Belief: Unworthy of love and hopeless, forever alone
Consequence: shut out from the world, turn down a date, stop showing love to yourself, and listen to depressing playlists
Any of these familiar to you?
The point is not that we ignore the feelings you have which are normal and healthy such as being sad after a breakup but we focus on facts rather than assumptions...it is raining, my friends are laughing and texting, I’m home alone, the scale displayed a higher number, I am single...instead of my weekend is ruined, my friends are making fun of me, I can only be free when no one sees, I’m a failure & won’t get anywhere, I am unworthy
Emotions are important but when driven by irrational thought patterns and cognitive distortions they can lead us down dark rabbit holes
Did anything happen recently that you could shift your perspective on to create a healthier stream of events?
Share how you can apply this with me via email to practice or comment below!