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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Building Sandcastles

 

 

In elementary school, I looked through the pages of an encyclopedia collection and came upon an image of a sandcastle. While I’d played in sandboxes and built a number of structures, I didn’t have the opportunity to erect a sandcastle on a beach.

 

I wondered what it would be like to smell salt in the air, listen to gulls in the distance, and have ample building material all around me. I envisioned the sound of gentle waves greeting the shoreline and how water from an ocean could be used in the building process.

 

That was the imagination of a child at work. As I aged, I eventually found my way to a number of beaches around the world. Turns out, I didn’t enjoy the experience of the beach quite as much as I once imagined.

 

Nonetheless, I observed children and adults building sandcastles and other structures on my visits to various beaches. There was a spoken rule about this process. One shouldn’t, mustn’t, or oughtn’t to build a sandcastle too close to the shoreline.

 

It wasn’t as though this guiding principle existed simply to limit people to a rigid code of coastal etiquette. Rather, this form of demandingness was in place to serve a practical function.

 

If one devoted time, energy, and other resources to building sandcastles which were too close to the water, tidal variation could result in water suddenly washing away the product of one’s efforts. Therefore, builders were advised to erect sandcastles further away from the water to prevent destruction of their creations.

 

Of course, people were free to do as they wished. I imagine a significant number of people built castles which were quickly dissolved by the changing levels of tides.

 

From a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) perspective, using the ABC model, I realize that it isn’t the act of water washing away one’s efforts which results in anger, sorrow, disappointment, frustration, or other forms of disturbance.

 

Rather, when the Action occurs and one Believes something about this occurrence, the unhelpful assumption is what results in an unpleasant Consequence (e.g., sorrow). This Belief-Consequence connection is the primary function of irrational belief.

 

Because we self-disturb with our inflexible attitudes about life, we also retain the ability to un-disturb ourselves with more productive beliefs. For instance, if you know that building a sandcastle too close to the water may result in unnecessary beliefs about how your efforts shouldn’t go to waste, you can do something about the matter.

 

You have no control and minimal influence over the ocean and its behavior. Therefore, you’ll upset yourself by believing life must function according to your unreasonable demands.

 

As such, you can instead practice unconditional life-acceptance which posits that life is imperfect—and in the case of your sandcastle, you simply can’t will the universe into bending toward your commands by stopping water from destroying your creation.

 

Consequently, you can move the site of your sandcastle placement further inland. In this way, you unconditionally accept what is without demanding that life ought to function any other way.

 

By all means, if you have a group of people and ample supplies which will allow you to build a sandcastle in the direct location of wave activity (e.g., a raised platform); there are exceptions to the sandcastle builder’s rule. Have at it!

 

Still, life doesn’t always afford people with opportunities to produce exceptions in such a manner. Accordingly, unconditionally accepting reality as it is and adjusting one’s beliefs and behavior may be more beneficial to the alternative of self-disturbance.

 

This psychoeducational lesson is simple enough that a child or adult can understand and believe in it. Nevertheless, REBT requires dedicated practice in order to benefit from this message. So, what will you do with this information, dear reader?

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

 

References:

 

Hollings, D. (2022, May 17). Circle of concern. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/circle-of-concern

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, March 20). Practice. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/practice

Hollings, D. (2024, January 1). Psychoeducation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/psychoeducation

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2024, January 4). Rigid vs. rigorous. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rigid-vs-rigorous

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model

Hollings, D. (2022, December 25). The B-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-b-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2022, December 14). The is-ought problem. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-is-ought-problem

Hollings, D. (2022, July 11). Unconditional acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, March 11). Unconditional life-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-life-acceptance

Hollings, D. 2024, January 16). Understanding, belief, and practice. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/understanding-belief-and-practice

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