On his 2007 album The Dream Merchant Vol. 2, hip hop producer 9th Wonder released a song entitled “You Wanna” which featured vocals from rap duo N.B.S. (Natural Born Spitters). The track featured an Isaac Hayes sample taken from the song “The Ten Commandments of Love.”
The hook to “You Wanna” stated:
You wanna hang with the best, ‘cause we make hits. You wanna bang with the vets, ‘cause we make chips. And we ain’t feelin’ all that mess or that bullshit!
For my foreign readers, “bullshit” may be defined as stupid or untrue talk or writing; nonsense. For instance, if I were to say something like, “All psychotherapeutic modalities are equivalent in their effect,” I’d be stating something that is bullshit—given the Dodo Bird effect.
When N.B.S. claimed, “And we ain’t feelin’ all that mess or that bullshit,” the word “feelin’” represents a colloquial use of the word “feeling” which actually relates to a belief—acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
As well, “mess” in this regard relates to “something that’s embarrassing, stupid, pathetic, ridiculous, or weird,” per one source. Therefore, one may conclude that N.B.S. expressed that the duo rejected belief in ridiculous claims which essentially relate to nonsense.
In common parlance, “bullshit” is shortened to “B.S.,” using initialism— an abbreviation consisting of initial letters pronounced separately. Consequently, saying something like, “I don’t believe your B.S.,” represents the sentiment of N.B.S. in “You Wanna.”
Considering this matter, my approach to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) may be useful in order to address the matter of self-disturbance—the manner by which people upset themselves. To better understand how this occurs, I first need to discuss the ABC Model.
Unlike some paths to wellness which employ feel-good psychobabble rhetoric (e.g., you are perfect just as you are), REBT makes use of personal responsibility and accountability to encourage people to change the only element in life over which they have control and influence—the self.
This isn’t a mental health practice concerned with changing the world or taking other activistic approaches which deflect from personal liability. As such, REBT maintains that when some event occurs, it isn’t the situation which results in an unpleasant reaction.
To illustrate this point, consider the following:
Activating event – What occurred
Belief about the event – What you told yourself about (A) that resulted in (C)
Consequence of one’s belief about the event – What you felt (emotion or bodily sensation) about what happened and what you did (behavior)
Disputation of the self-disturbing belief about the event – How you might challenge (D) what you told yourself (B) and which led to (C)
Effective new belief to replace the self-disturbing belief – What effective new conclusion you can tell yourself rather than using unhelpful or unhealthy narratives (B)
REBT posits that activating events don’t result in unpleasant responses, forming an action-consequence connection. Instead, it’s our unproductive assumptions which lead to unpleasant outcomes, creating a belief-consequence (B-C) connection.
Referencing the example of an N.B.S. quote, and how “bullshit” represents nonsense, I sometimes invite clients to substitute Belief for Bullshit when using the ABC Model. After all, not all beliefs are unhelpful, though the bullshit we tell ourselves is unaccommodating to our interests and goals.
Using REBT in this manner, the focus remains on irrational beliefs. As one source states, “Within REBT activating events can generate up to four core irrational beliefs. These are demandingness, awfulising, frustration intolerance, and global evaluations.”
Often, demanding statements are accompanied by words such as should, must, or ought, as well as other derivatives of these terms (i.e., she has to…, they’ve got to…, he better…, etc.). Importantly, this form of demandingness is utter bullshit!
To demonstrate this, consider the following:
“I must do well on this test, or else I’m a fucking failure!”
“I ought to get out of bed when my alarm sounds, so I won’t be late for my appointment.”
“They better not disrespect me, because there will be hell to pay otherwise!”
“I shouldn’t murder anyone, because it’s immoral, unethical, and illegal to do so.”
Some of these beliefs are helpful and some aren’t. Some will help serve a person’s interests and goals, though others will not.
“People have to use their turn signals when I’m driving, otherwise I’ll teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget!”
“I gotta get her number, because if I don’t that means I’m worthless.”
“He better answer my text within the next hour, or else!”
“I must not be inconvenienced in life, because I can’t stand it when things don’t go my way.”
Each of these beliefs is unproductive. They are bullshit. When telling ourselves nonsense in this manner we will upset ourselves with a B-C connection, because we treat ourselves, others, and life as though it’s all some marionette show in which must puppets obey our every command.
Instead of telling ourselves bullshit, we can instead suggest hopeful preferences, express favorable wishes, or propose flexible desires. However, we don’t have to use rigid conditions regarding these expressions.
That way, when we, others, and life doesn’t abide by our preferences, wishes, or desires, we won’t disturb ourselves. In essence, we can create within ourselves a no B.S. mental state.
In the song “You Wanna,” N.B.S. stated, “And we ain’t feelin’ all that mess or that bullshit!” This phrase may be translated to mean the rejection of belief in ridiculous claims which essentially relate to nonsense.
Using the ABC Model, I’ve demonstrated how the Bullshit we tell ourselves may impact our emotional, bodily sensation, and behavioral responses to these unhelpful beliefs. As such, creation of a no B.S. headspace may better serve our interests and goals.
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, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.
As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues 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
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