Things Don’t Upset You, Your Belief About Things Upsets You

Things Don’t Upset You, Your Belief About Things Upsets You

This is a fundamental truth that I’m constantly reminding myself of and I thought about again on a beautiful sunny walk this morning where we genuinely happened upon this delightful sign pinned to a farm gate.

When something makes you angry or emotional to an unproductive extent; the thing is not the problem; your BELIEF about the thing is what causes the passionate response to the thing.

Seneca describes anger as “an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured”. Almost every time, it does not serve you.

There are some rather amazing ways to deal with ‘things’ and managing the beliefs that can erupt from them and the most useful I’ve found is by ceasing to ‘mustibate’ about them.

Yes, this is one of my absolute favourite new word discoveries this year and it’s actually quite an old one. In Albert Ellis’s wonderfully titled book: ‘How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything, Yes Anything’, he uses a form of CBT called Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) to rebut our habitual self-abuse when it comes to ‘things’.

Musterabtion is when we feel like we MUST have, not have, avoid, etc, something otherwise our world will end. It usually isn’t the case and with a little logical analysis, we can usually discover a reality-based truth that sends these thoughts barking back to the naughty kennel. We absolutely can live without the thing.

There really was no evidence to support the idea that we ‘must’ not be treated that way. We will encounter jerks, disappointments and things not going our way with inevitable regularity and the sooner we start acknowledging the fact that things are exactly as they are we can dispense with that anger-making sense that the Universe MUST stop treating us this way.

Next time you’re feeling disturbed by a thing, take a slightly deeper look at it. Will it REALLY turn your life upside down? Probably not. Might it actually be an opportunity to learn or grow? Probably yes.

(No partridges were harmed in the writing of this post)


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