Psychological Self-Help

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focus is on the old internal belief systems (irrational ideas) that
interfere with expressing yourself, usually self-putdowns: 
Irrational beliefs
a. "I shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings, especially my parents. I
must visit them over the holidays; if I don't, they'd say I was
being mean and uncaring." 
b. "It is better to avoid trouble. If I complain, it will just create
tension." 
Early messages (female socialization) that cause the ideas above:
a. Women are supposed to take care of others' needs before
their own. 
b. If I'm real good, other people will take good care of me and
love me (the Cinderella story). 
Ideas which challenge the above beliefs:
a. Is it really "hurting others" to consider my own needs and
preferences equal to others' needs? I am equal! 
b. Who said life is easy? Who believes that justice always
comes to the person who is good and quiet? Challenging
tradition and "the way it's always done" may be stressful but
beneficial and fair. 
Many of these irrational beliefs lead us to expect a catastrophe to
occur if we are assertive. Thus, these erroneous ideas stop us from
acting. We can discover these ideas we carry constantly in our own
heads are not true (but only by taking risks). 
Furthermore, by learning many other new self-help skills and
attitudes, by using these skills for self-improvement, you can change
your self-concept to being decisive, effective, fair, self-sufficient, self-
controlled, likable, skilled, and considerate of yourself and others. 
Defeatist attitudes can also be reduced. Defeatist attitudes
and corrected by honest self-disclosure--by learning that others are
like us, that our feelings, opinions, hopes and problems are accepted
by other people, and that some of our self-critical ideas are wrong.
Supportive groups or friends or therapists are very helpful for
getting through the initial steps of self-doubt and intimidation
(Millman, Huber, & Diggins, 1982). Having fantasies of coping
effectively by yourself can overcome self-doubts associated with
dependency. But remember, you must behaviorally become
independent before you are "cured." 
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