What is "will power"?
According to Dr. Albert Ellis "will power" consists of several steps:
1. Deciding to change thoughts,
feelings, and behaviors.
Power in "will power" is in the work.
What is Love?
Many of us frequently think that if we like someone, she or he must love us in return. Dr. Albert Ellis differentiated "loving" from "being-in-love" (in-lovedness or falling-in-love). He had the following to say about these states:
"In many aspects loving and being-in-love are almost opposites. Being-in-love is often a socially polite term for having an obsessive-compulsive fixation on someone. This is statistically normal, since most of us are in this state one or more times during our lives. This state also has distinct advantages; it is highly absorbing, often pleasurable, and sometimes positively ecstatic. But being-in-love usually lasts for a short period of time, while loving may go on for a lifetime.
Loving, in contrast, means being interested in another human being for her own sake and from her own frame of reference. While the individual who is in-love (the state of being-in-love or in-lovedness or falling-in-love), frequently demands return love; the individual who is loving is not interested in reciprocation.
Loving stems from personal strength. When you are loving someone, you don't care whether the other person loves you and you think-feel-act strongly enough to be truly interested in the other person. It is altruistic but not self-sacrificing, since the loving individual enjoys and likes herself and has no need to sacrifice her own major interests to win other's approval."
What follows directly from the foregoing
discussion is that few of us have the strength or energy to be loving
to a few or even one individual. Loving is hard work, but rewards are
REBT and Positive Thinking
Advocates of "Positive Thinking" recommend that we repeat positive statements to ourselves over and over. Positive Thinking glosses over and covers up the all-too-human tendency to think negatively by blasting the negative thoughts with positive thoughts. This tactic provides temporary relief from the effects of negative thinking. But it does not eliminate the underlying irrational, negative beliefs.
REBT, on the other hand, advocates attacking the negative beliefs directly. Instead of mindlessly repeating positive statements, REBT questions, challenges, and disputes negative thoughts by asking, for example, "where's the evidence that I'm a loser?" It is by disputing negative thinking, and showing that it is false and irrational, that REBT reduces the frequency, intensity, and duration of irrational, negative thinking.
According to REBT, both statements ("I am a winner"
and "I am a loser") are false and, therefore, irrational. In
the game of life, we sometimes win, and sometimes lose. Nobody always
wins; and nobody always loses. So while you may have won today, there
is no guarantee that you will win tomorrow or the next day. Similarly,
you may have lost yesterday, but that doesn't mean you will lose again
A rational coping statement has two parts: the first part
acknowledges that all is not well ("I lost today"); while the
second part keeps the first part in perspective and directly contradicts
an underlying irrational belief ("that does not make me a total loser").
The two parts are separated by the all-important word, "but".
Here are some more examples:
You can make your rational coping statements stronger by emphasizing the word "but" so that your focus is on the second, rational half of the statement. When you use rational coping statements (using this technique which I call "exposing the but") you can, as Albert Ellis says, stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about anything - yes anything!
Some of Albert Ellis' ideas on Rationally Coping with Unusual Adversities
1. When you raise your aversion to death (or almost
any other abhorrence) to insistence that, because it is undesirable, it
absolutely must not exist, you self-defeatingly demand that what you want
must be and that what you detest must not be. By raising your displeasure
and sorrow at death (or any other misfortune), to a command that it cease
to be, you refuse to accept grim realities, make yourself unhealthily
enraged or depressed (instead of healthily sad) because of their existence,
and make yourself suffer more.
5. Be rigorously realistic and look squarely at
the facts of your existence.
7. No one in the world has to follow you desire.
8. The world doesn't follow your command. Its indifferent to our wishes. You do not absolutely need what you want.
9. There is never reason why you must get what you want. You can tolerate not getting what you want.
10. The main reason you can't be happy is because you think you can't be happy.
Some Rational Coping Statements, which you can strongly and frequently repeat
Its true that many inconvenient things exist in my life,
but none of them is horrible or awful or horror.
How to Rationally Think-Feel-Act When Someone Close to You Passes Away
1. Learn to make a distinction between disliking unfortunate
events (such as the death of a loved one) and making yourself horrified
over them. It makes sense to wish that these types of thing didn't happen,
and to feel sorrow and regret when they do. Feeling sad about such events
is healthy and helpful. Why healthy and helpful? Because negative emotions
give you the impetus to seek out the things you want in life, and to avoid
the things you don't want.
Albert Ellis and Richard Dawkins: Theory of Evolution, REBT and the Meaning of Life
My favorite Richard Dawkins book is "The Selfish Gene." To me it answered the age-old question "what is the purpose of life?" Answer: Life is the process by which DNA preserves and creates more DNA. That's where Albert Ellis steps in: If we want more out life than being merely DNA machines, then it's up to us to take advantage of opportunities that come our way, without worrying about failure or disapproval, and without catastrophizing every time we don't get what we want. If we're going to live for eighty years or so, it makes sense to enjoy our time as much as we can.
Who is a good friend?
A good friend gives as well as receives. Not everyone has the same skills or abilities, but we all have the ability to be giving friends, even if it is not giving back in identical ways.