Ask Albert Ellis is useful in its strong emphasis on irrational beliefs that cause an individual to sabotage their personal goals, which may produce psychological disturbances such as suffering and displeasure. Through unconditional usage or beliefs of ‘shoulds,’ absolutistic, and ‘musts, which are the foundational causes of behavioral and emotional disturbances. You can find tips through reading this book if you are able to discriminate between your rational and irrational beliefs and work on replaying them through the various methods REBT offers which include Cognitive Techniques, Behavioral Techniques, Emotive Techniques and also Multimodel.
(Such as Coping self-statements, Cost-benefit analysis, Psychoeducational methods, Teaching others, Problem-solving, Rational Emotive Imagery, Role-playing, Homework assignment, Skill training, Relaxation techniques, Shame-attacking exercises (to some extent), Forceful self-statements and Forceful self-dialogue).
This book can facilitate change thanks to its emphasis on the individual itself, its cognitions, emotions, and feelings, which help to generate greater understanding of how you think and behave, which is important when it comes to an effective treatment plan. There is no one size fits all. It personalizes every tip it offers you for dealing with irrational beliefs or unhealthy negatives feelings. Ellis even distinguishes ‘healthy negative feelings and unhealthy feelings’ when dealing with bad events or situations. You may think that every negative thought is bad, but actually there are healthy negative thoughts.
Even though Ellis was direct and goal-oriented in his presentation, much of the book is written with humor. You may find yourself laughing so hard because the main aim of the book is to help people “Teaches you to change what you can, but recognize that ranting and raving about things you can’t change is irrational” (p.4). The most important take away is for you to work toward changing what you can change and recognize and accept what you cannot change because life is too short to take everything too seriously. Change is inevitable if you accept the three philosophical principles of acceptance: self, others, and life events no matter what happens. Your disturbances will diminish significantly with what Mindfulness-Based CBT teaches about acceptance. For example, “Distressing thoughts and feelings…working to accept them” (Persons, p.35, 2008) can help reduce or lift your mental burden.
This book is helpful for people struggling with a perfectionist personality; it will help you realize that you are only human and human beings are far from being perfect. Therefore, you cannot be perfect in everything you choose to do but should be content with what you can do and accept what is beyond your abilities. Ellis is not advocating for you to just settle for anything that comes your way but to recognize when it is beyond your control or ability. He also advocates that the reader ‘not rate or evaluate themselves as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person but can rate the events as not unto preference and wishes things were different instead. Because “If you choose to see yourself as a “good person,” you would have to only and always do good deeds; and if you see yourself as a “bad person” you would have to only and always to bad deed” (p.101).
Life is meant to be hard, and some things are beyond our control. But we should not let such things steal our joy, because life is short, and we should enjoy and be grateful for every moment we are alive. Being aware of what is happening to you, changing what you can change, and accepting what you cannot change is the foundation of most religions and also the promised reward for those who endure or persevere till the end without losing heart.
I hope you are refreshing your inner strength and spirit of empowerment as you read through this book review. Most of what is written here are not new materials. As human beings constant reminders of information or messages we have heard can be very useful for growth and personal development. When you take care of yourself, then the healthier you can influence and help others to do the same. Next post on this series, I will talk about the cons of the book.
Food For Thought
- The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. – Nathaniel Branden. You cannot change what you are not aware of, and you cannot change without acceptance (behavior, attitude, thoughts, etc.)
- The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one. – Martin Luther King, Jr. Acceptance is like forgiveness; you hardly feel peace before forgiving someone or yourself, peace only comes after the action is taken