19 Nov 4 Steps To Happiness When Life Gets Hard
Happiness definitely isn’t always easy.
But happiness is definitely much LESS easy during certain times or under certain difficult conditions.
So how does one enjoy happiness during the tough times?
Well, according to Eric Barker it just takes these 4 steps ….
The pandemic still isn’t over. Life still isn’t back to normal. And that means a lot of us are still on edge. Frustrated. Disgruntled. At times, we’re downright angry. And that saps our resilience. Our ability to cope and live a good life.
Dealing with anger is difficult because, frankly, we get terrible advice about handling it. People say you should “get your anger out.” Wrong. Research shows venting just makes it worse. Sure, developing self-control and using time-outs can help but neither fix the underlying problem. You and your anger are still stuck together. (Facebook relationship status: “It’s complicated”.) So what do we do?
Have no fear. Your favorite cognitive arms dealer has the weapons we need to effectively fight anger and win. And, believe it or not, it’s as simple as “ABCD.”
We’re going to get help from the groundbreaking work of Albert Ellis. According to an APA survey of psychologists he was the 2nd most influential psychotherapist ever. Sigmund Freud came in third. Drawing on Stoic philosophy, Ellis developed a powerful system called REBT. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it:
In general REBT is arguably one of the most investigated theories in the field of psychotherapy and a large amount of clinical experience and a substantial body of modern psychological research have validated and substantiated many of REBTs theoretical assumptions on personality and psychotherapy.
This stuff works. His book is “How To Control Your Anger Before It Controls You.”
Let’s get to it…
“The Calls Are Coming From Inside The House”
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Guess what? That’s true for anger too. Anger isn’t caused by pandemics or traffic or anything external. Anger is our own fault.
Yeah, I said it. But this is a good thing because if it weren’t under our control, we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
Ellis said it comes down to ABC. A is Adversity. The external thing that happens to you like traffic. C is the Consequences. Your feeling of anger. But A doesn’t directly cause C. We got B in the middle there. And B is your Beliefs. What do beliefs have to do with it?
Say I stick a gun in your face. (That definitely qualifies as Adversity.) You think you’re about to die. (Beliefs.) You’re terrified. (Consequences.) But hold on. You take a second look and realize I’m actually holding a water pistol. Still scared? Nope. What changed? Only your beliefs.
Events don’t upset you. You upset yourself because of your beliefs about events. And when your beliefs change, your feelings change.
So what kind of beliefs cause anger? We create anger through absolutist, command-oriented thinking and expectations about the world. More importantly, we get angry due to irrational beliefs.
Let’s say I tell you solving this crossword puzzle is going to be difficult. You try it. It’s difficult. Would you get angry? No. You had a rational belief.
But often when things don’t go your way in life you do get angry. Do you believe that life must always be easy, simple and convenient?
Or someone is mean and you fly off the handle. Do you really believe people are obligated by the laws of the universe to always be nice to you?
You may want to answer “no” but if that was really the case would you react with anger? You knew the crossword puzzle was going to be hard, it was hard, and you didn’t get angry. You also know life doesn’t always go your way and that people can be jerks. But for some reason when these things happen it surprises and angers you. What gives?
It’s due to irrational beliefs. Underneath it all, we often do expect everything to go our way, even though our conscious minds know that’s ridiculous. We do expect everyone to be polite all the time and that’s why we’re surprised when they’re not. And we act like none of this has any right to happen to us. That we should never be inconvenienced. You don’t need to live at 221B Baker Street to realize this isn’t very rational.
Anger doesn’t come from the external world, it comes from these impossible, irrational expectations we often have. When we think we are in control of reality and life reminds us we’re not, we get angry. Ellis says that often our beliefs are:
“The world (and the people in it) must be arranged so that I get practically everything that I really want when I want it. And further, conditions must be arranged so that I don’t get what I don’t want. Moreover, I usually must get what I want quickly and easily.”
Some people immediately push back when I explain this. They say that others “should” behave nicely, and so their anger is justified. (These people make me want to use my secret agent cyanide tooth.)
Anytime you find yourself using the words “should”, “must” or “supposed to” you’re headed for anger. All of those words are clever ways of implying other people “cannot” behave badly. But people can and do behave badly at times and you know that. You can certainly prefer they behave better but “should” is a one-way path to frustration because you’re denying reality.
Until somebody builds a bug zapper for jerks “should” is not going to get you any closer to happiness. “Should” is denial. Like some metaphysical trump card you can play to alter the universe. Sorry, not gonna happen. (If you want to stay angry head over to Twitter. You’ll fit right in.)
I’m not saying it’s good or right that people are mean and I’m not saying you should put up with it. But once you start down the road of “should” you’re implying you can control their behavior and you can’t. That’s an irrational belief. It’s not going to result in the universe suddenly setting them straight; it’s going to result in you upping the dose on your blood pressure medication.
(To learn more about how you can lead a successful life, check out my bestselling book here.)
You cannot control everything that happens but you can control your beliefs. When beliefs are rational, we’re good but when they’re irrational – oopsie – we get angry.
So how do we make our irrational beliefs more rational?
… keep reading the full & original article HERE