When listening to the laidback song “Pillars” by MindsOne and Kev Brown, I’m reminded of something I heard when undergoing official Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) training—as it relates to the “four pillars” of REBT, described as:
Rather than writing in-depth about each of these pillars, as the current blogpost is a self-challenge—trying to draft a brief entry before my next client session, I encourage the reader to review the provided bullet point links.
In the song, a MindsOne group member states, “You’re my pillar when I can’t stand, something to lean on.” This is precisely how I conceptualize the four pillars of REBT, as there is distinction between irrational and rational attributes pertaining thereunto. These are as follows:
· Demandingness is irrational, as preference is rational
· Awfulizing and catastrophizing are irrational, as unpleasantness is rational
· Low frustration tolerance is irrational, as tolerance is rational
· Global evaluation and self-downing are irrational, as acceptance is rational
Perhaps a concise demonstration of how I’ve learned to lean on these pillars will be helpful. Respectively, here’s how I opt for use of rational versus irrational content to improve my quality of life:
Instead of using should, must, or ought-type demands of the world, I can instead tell myself something helpful like, “Although I’d like to write and post a blog entry before my next session begins, there’s no reason why I must do so.” In this way, a preference is used in place of a demand.
Rather than telling myself how “terrible, horrible, or awful” it would be to fail my self-challenge, I could be honest with myself by acknowledging that I’ve experienced far worse outcomes than failing a self-challenge. As such, I accept the unpleasantness of the possibility rather than awfulizing or catastrophizing.
As a substitute for low frustration tolerance—usual represented by phrases such as, “I can’t stand it”—I could use a healthier narrative such as, “It isn’t true that I can’t stand failure. In fact, I can tolerate much more than not being able to post a blog entry in a specified amount of time.” Using tolerance is a rational alternative to low frustration tolerance.
In place of telling myself, “If I fail at this temporary goal, what I’ve heard about how poorly written my blogposts are is likely true and therefore, I’m unworthy of positive regard,” I could say something like, “I unconditionally accept myself, because my writing is not who I am and I am worthy as a human being, regardless of how poorly written my blogposts may actually be.” Fundamentally, acceptance is a rational replacement for irrational global evaluation and self-downing.
Though my self-challenge may seem a bit silly, I assure the reader that people tell themselves similar self-disturbing beliefs as I’ve illustrated herein. Even when stakes aren’t high, think about moments in which you’ve used irrational content relating to the four pillars of REBT:
· Stuck in traffic, running late to an occasion
· Up against a deadline at work and convinced you won’t complete a task in time
· Failing to recall an important date (e.g., anniversary) and suddenly prompted to remember it
· Mistakenly neglecting to submit a proper request for vacation, now faced with the possibility of missing out on an opportunity to go
· Missing your intended exit on the highway
· Forgetting where you parked your vehicle when in a large, unfamiliar parking lot
· Accidentally standing up when on a teleconference, overlooking the fact that you aren’t wearing any clothes from the waist-down
· Placing unnecessary pressure on yourself to complete your entire to-do list on your day off
· Etc., etc., etc.
Examples of this sort of true-life content are virtually limitless. What’s important to keep in mind is that when we allow irrationality to take over, unhelpful, unhealthy, and unproductive consequences may result.
However, through practice of REBT, such as I’ve exhibited herein, we may learn to use rational alternatives to irrational beliefs. Would you like to know more about how to lean upon the four pillars of REBT when you seemingly can’t stand otherwise?
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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