Updated: Mar 24
by Walter J. Matweychuk
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is as much a way of living or a philosophy of life as it is a form of cognitive-behavior psychotherapy. I have practiced this philosophy for thirty-one years and find it very beneficial. I have tried to distill the main ingredients of this liberating philosophy to as few fundamental tenets as possible for dissemination. When I encounter a problem, REBT somehow applies. When an emotion is involved, REBT applies. Here is a list of some of the fundamental REBT ideas I use to achieve increased personal happiness:
1. I Unconditionally Accept My Self. Unconditional self-acceptance is the greatest gift I might choose to give myself. It is a foundation of emotional health and happiness. I might allow my self to deepen it, in the same way I allow my self to breathe.
2. I hold myself response-able for an emotional reaction of mine, my personal happiness, and my life's path. I put in some effort to control what is under my control and put in some effort to accept what is beyond my control.
3. I CHOOSE TO think for myself. I allow myself to make my own mistakes. This is possible, even if it is challenging for me to do.
4. I cultivate my psychological flexibility and tolerance. I keep a wish of mine, a want of mine, and a preference of mine, and resist converting it into a DEMAND! I understand that when I want something, it does not automatically follow that I ABSOLUTELY must have it.
5. I am able to bear discomfort, frustration, loss, and failure far more than I think I can. No matter how bad it gets, I stubbornly refuse to be miserable and choose to have SOME happiness despite my misfortune.
6. I accept that there might be a reality other than my reality. My denying or not seeing actual reality does not work well for very long. I change what I am able to, and recognize that I am unable to control the outcome of an event. I put in some effort to recognise where I might have an unhelpful belief, opinion, or orientation of my mind. As a human, this is likely to happen.
7. I put in some effort to move myself a little out of my comfort zone. I remember, that I, and mainly I, profit from my willingness to do what is a challenge for me. I am also the one to suffer a pain of taking the easy way out.
8. I put in some effort to accept uncertainty. I take a calculated potent helpful risk. I believe that some risk is necessary to enjoy my life more fully. I am committed to being more involved in a situation. I have a life that I am choosing more to live.
9. I strive to improve, rather than do perfectly well. I cling to the awareness I am born and will die a fallible human. If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly - as I learn to do it a bit better.
10. I tolerate the discomfort in working towards achieving a goal of mine. I stick with my game plan to achieve my goal. I cultivate my patience and perseverance. As my life journey takes more time than I might humanly want, I stay the course to make it more likely I will progress.
11. I look at a feeling of mine - realizing that it might be humanly common to unhelpfully decide where a feeling might be coming from. A feeling of mine might be helpful feedback about what is occurring in my world. I distinguish between a thought of mine and a feeling of mine. I strive to sit with a healthy negative emotion that is informative and helps motivate me to alter what I might alter. However I accept that, as a human, I might use emotional reasoning - ‘I FEEL uncomfortable, so this MUST be too much for me.’ I choose to let go a bit of this unhelpful tendency to make an emotion say something about my essence or capability.
12. I keep in mind that regardless how challenging it may be, it is far easier to change an idea, view, belief, or orientation of my mind, and how I react to an other person, than it is to change the other person.
Dr Matweychuk runs a Zoom meeting 9am Saturday New York time where he exhibits REBT in real life action -
Meeting ID: 811 8697 5782