The Three MUST-get-eers
Albert Ellis, the architect of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), is credited with having stated, “There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.”
The REBT method maintains that should, must, and ought-type beliefs such as this are what lead to self-disturbance. This is demonstrated using the ABC Model:
Action – Person 1 posts pantry porn content on social media (i.e., videos displaying the orderly arrangement of abundance in relation to food pantries).
Belief – Seeing the content, person 2 thinks, “What lies beneath the surface of this anti-messiness, pro-niceness stance is a history of classist, racist, and sexist social structures,” which may translate into, “Person 1 must not reinforce classist, racist, and sexist social structures!”
Consequence – Because of person 2’s belief about the action, person 2 becomes disgusted, experiences a rapid heartrate, and goes online to denounce person 1’s behavior.
It isn’t person 1’s behavior—the act of posting content—that led to person 2’s consequence, forming an Action-Consequence connection. Rather, person 2’s belief about the action is what created an unpleasant consequence, forming a Belief-Consequence connection.
To further layer person 2’s self-disturbing belief, one imagines that all three of Ellis’ MUSTerbation elements are present. Person 2 could believe, “I must fight injustice! Others must not support oppression! And the world must be equitable!”
While there is nothing inherently bad or wrong with activism, I wonder how well inflexible MUSTerbatory beliefs about oneself, others, and life actually serve a person. In reality, we have little influence and no control over others and the world.
Taking up arms against a perceived enemy by using displeasing MUSTerbation as a weapon calls to mind the absurdity of The Three Must-Get-Theres—a 1922 adaptation of “The Three Musketeers” adventure novel.
Commenting on the silent film, one source stated, “[…] it is good-natured and lots of fun. If it lacks subtlety and pointed satire, it abounds in broad and whole-hearted mockery. Its method is that of absurdification.”
Further reworking the original story, while maintaining a laughable framework, I think of person 2’s identified musts as representing The Three MUST-get-eers. In this context, -eer denotes a person concerned with or engaged in an activity.
When unleashing weaponized MUSTerbatory action—projecting internal beliefs into the external realm—The Three MUST-get-eers ultimately make a mess of themselves, others, and the world. Who needs that sort of sticky situation?
Truly, things don’t have to be that way. We really don’t gotta’ use rigid demands. Would you like to know more about how to disband The Three MUST-get-eers and stop climaxing to the point of chaos through use of MUSTerbation? I may be able to help.
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 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
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