striving for more control over the world than is possible. Others tell
themselves, "I can't do anything about what happens." This also
causes stress, because we see ourselves as having no control over the
Perfectionists need to give up impossible goals (see chapter 6). Do
the best you can and accept the outcome. Inspire and help others all
you can and accept whatever happens to them too.
The Rational-Emotive therapist tries to quickly identify the client's
irrational expectations and ideas. He/she goes on to show the patient
how unreasonable, foolish, and harmful these ideas are. Then the
client is shown more reasonable ways to think (talking to him/herself)
and is told it is his/her choice as to what beliefs to have, i.e. to be
irrational and "upset" or rational and "at peace with the world."
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
-William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Correct faulty conclusions --although our brains have enormous
capabilities and are basically responsible for our domination of all other
animals and much of the physical world, we are also remarkably prone
to reason illogically. Methods #1 and #8 in chapter 14 describe many
examples of faulty and/or negative thinking; none of us think straight
have instantly distorted our perceptions; in contrast, here we are
talking about false interpretations of our perceptions (accurate and
inaccurate) as well as wrong conclusions finally drawn as a result of a
faulty reasoning process. It is the difference between instantly sensing
the boss is mad when she/he is not and falsely concluding he/she is
mad after interacting for several minutes. Our thinking might go like
this: "She hardly spoke to me and seemed preoccupied. I'll bet she
read my report and didn't like it. I wish I had spent more time on it.
She always asks about my weekend, but today she didn't talk about
anything but work. I think she's irritated. She has a short fuse
anyway. I'll bet I catch hell." Thoughts evoke feelings whether they
are true or not. The boss may merely be absorbed with an important
dinner date. We may not be fully aware that we are drawing a
conclusion, we are just "thinking," but we are very aware of the
resulting stressful emotions. If we closely attend to our reasoning and
question the basis for our conclusions, we can detect and correct many
of our false ideas.
However, without double checking our thinking, we misinterpret
many everyday events and draw false conclusions that drastically alter