Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Power of our Beliefs. Part 2.

"For as he thinks within himself, so he is." - Proverbs 23:7

Here's a radical thought: People or events don’t make us feel good or bad. It is our perceptions of them that result in our feeling good or bad. These perceptions then influence our behavior. The A-B-C process is a method I really like to use to identify and dispute my irrational beliefs, thoughts and feelings.

(A) = Activating Event. What do you think happened? What would a camera see?
(B) = Beliefs about Activating Event. What did you tell yourself?
(C) = Consequences. How did you act? How did you feel?

When a person is emotionally disturbed there is an activating event (A), a belief about the event (B), and a consequence (C). As an example, when you fail a test –failing the test would be the (A), activating event. The emotional consequence (C) might be a depressed mood. Without thinking about it most people might think that (A) causes (C), but A-B-C theory says that instead it is the belief (B) that we have about the event (as an example “Because I failed that must mean I'm a failure”). It is the belief that causes the consequence (depressed mood in this case).

After identifying A, B and C, we move on to (D).
(D) = Disputing Irrational Beliefs (iB’s). Some examples of disputing one's irrational beliefs:
Where is holding this belief getting me? Is it helpful or self-defeating?
Where is the evidence to support my belief? It is consistent with reality?
Is my belief logical? Does it follow from my preferences?
Is it really awful (as bad as it could be)?
Can I really not stand it?
Why is this so terrible?
Where’s the proof that I can’t handle it?
What does it mean when I say I can’t handle it? Will I actually explode?
Must I always get what I want?

I find that disputing my irrational beliefs (we all have them after all) can be a powerful way to jar me out of all sorts of bad feelings and behaviors. So the next time you are having a bad emotional time, why not give the A-B-C method a try. What do you have to lose?

May Light increase!

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