The theory that events in our life are not the cause of our upset, but our reactions — based on our beliefs — is the cornerstone of the powerful model that Dr Ellis formulated. It was […] an insightful and forgiving approach to human emotional life […]. On the basis that all of us have a shared vision in life, namely to be happy, it’s a shame that fortune doesn’t always agree with us. Our wants, needs and goals are constantly being blocked. […] All human beings are different of course, but there are three major and universal irrational beliefs — with different manifestations — that upset everybody and that Ellis called ‘The Three Basic Musts’. These relate to:
- A demand about ourselves: I must do well and I have to win the approval of other people or I have failed (leads to anxiety, guilt, depression).
- A demand about other people: People must treat me in a way that I would like to be treated — fairly, considerately and with kindness. If they don’t do that it means they’re no good and should be condemned for it, and also punished (leads to anger, passive-aggression, violence).
- A demand about the world: I must have what I want, when I want it and I must not get what I don’t want. It’s terrible if I am unable to get what I want and when it happens, I can’t stand it (leads to procrastination, ‘victim mentality’ and self-pity).
James Borg – Mind Power