WIN Wyoming

Thought Bullets
April 2001

Several years ago, I attended a presentation on irrational beliefs often held by humans. For the month of April, I want to share the thoughts and my notes with you. I try to review these thoughts every few months, and try to let go of my own irrational beliefs.

1.    It is an absolute necessity to be loved and approved by peers, family and friends.
     It is impossible to please all the people in your life.Thought Bullets--April 2001 People who like and approve of you will be turned-off by some of your behaviors. This irrational thought is probably the single greatest cause of unhappiness.

2.    You should be unfailingly competent in all you do.
     No one person can be perfect in everything. The result of perfection expectations is inevitable failure and then self-blame. Many perfectionists suffer from a paralysis of fear and soon stop attempting anything.

3.    Happiness is achieved by endless leisure. A person should strive for constant happiness.
     There is more to happiness than perfect relaxation. Most of us find this boring after a few days. There is plenty of happiness in the world, it is just not constant. Endless happiness is an unrealistic expectation resulting in unnecessary feelings of guilt.

4.    You should go to great lengths to please others. Otherwise, others will abandon or reject you.
     Offer others your true unembellished self. Let them chose to take it or leave it. If people respond to the real you, you don’t have to engage in the exhausting process of putting up a good front.

5.    Happiness and fulfillment can only occur in the presence of others.
     Enjoying your own company is perhaps one of the best predictors of happiness. Happiness can be experienced alone or with others. Times of solitude and reflection can be a special gift.

6.    You shouldn’t feel pain. A good life is pain-free.
     Pain is an inevitable part of life. No one escapes life pain-free (either physical pain or emotional pain). Life is not always fair. Sometimes you suffer no matter what you do. Let go of the irrational belief of leading a "pain-free" life. Think of all the money you’ll save!

7.    Anger is bad.
     Anger is a human emotion, and can result in a cleansing of the soul. Anger is not bad - how we act out our anger determines whether anger is cleansing or destructive. Suppressing anger is dangerous.

8.    Taking care of you needs and wants is selfish.
     If you are a miserable person, some of your misery rubs off on the people surrounding you. Your happiness is your responsibility. You can not share happiness with others if you are miserable yourself.

9.    Your worth as a person depends on how much you achieve and produce.
     Money is a lousy way of keeping score. Achievements may not be much better. Value of human life includes many characteristics difficult to measure - including joy of living, human compassion, and friendliness.

10.    There is perfect love; perfect relationships.
     If you seek a perfect relationship, you’ll spend your life going from one imperfect relationship to another. You’ll feel like a failure and spend your life waiting for the impossible. Try this instead - find great pleasure from the imperfect friendships in your life.

Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD

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