Monday, May 8, 2017

Irrational Beliefs

All of us have irrational beliefs to some extent.  These belief systems are irrational not because they don’t make sense or are not “noble”, but because in reality they are many times not reasonable.  Unfortunately, irrational beliefs can cause more stress and pressure on you as you strive to defend them.  Here are a few of them:

1.You must have love and approval nearly all the time from people who are important to you.

2.You must be completely competent in all your endeavors, or you must have real expertise or talent in something important.

3.Life must go the way you want it to.  Things are awful when you don't get your first choices.

4.Other people should treat everyone fairly.  When people are unfair or unethical, they are horrible and rotten and are to be punished or avoided.

5.People and things should turn out better than they do turn out.  It's awful and terrible when quick solutions to life's hassles are not forthcoming.

6.Your past is a strong influence on your behavior and must continue to affect you and determine your behavior.
7.You can find happiness by inertia, inactivity, or passivity.

Why are these thoughts irrational?  After all, number two sounds like a lofty goal to have.  We all strive for perfection and believe we should be good at something.  Yet just because an idea sounds rational, doesn’t exactly make it so.  When we bind ourselves to an irrational belief in an “all or none” stance, we are apt to be “kicked off our pedestal” when the conditions change – and they will.

For instance, when we believe that everybody must like us all the time, we will find it hard to accept or tolerate someone not liking us.  Subsequently, we put pressure on ourselves to perform for them, and try to please them.  Consequently, we get stressed when we perceive that they don’t like us, or we feel their disapproval.

It is generally estimated that approximately 80% of the people you are going to meet in your lifetime are either not going to like you, or could care less about you.  That only leaves a group of about 20% that you can possibly gain friends, confidants, mentors, from.

If we insist that we want 100% approval from everyone we meet in life we create an expectation that is unrealistic.  It’s is “setup” and a sure formula for feeling bad, rejected and useless.

Other forms of negative stress have to do with the expectations we may place on ourselves.  Remember, there is a fine line between being “perfect” and just trying to get “better” at our jobs.  Perfection isn’t possible, not on this planet.  Yet we can live and learn.  We can become better at our jobs, and the other things we do in life, and we can try to get along with as many people as possible.

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