Choice

Went out for birthday breakfast and had chocolate and sugar. Of course, felt like crap next day. Reminded me that its exactly how I felt physically, after sugar, as before I had a stroke. In fact I also feel the same way, emotionally, good or bad, for the same reasons after a stroke as before.
So its not the event that cause my emotions, but how I look at it. Before stroke after stroke its my choice.

A stroke isn’t a magical event that changes how I look at things. There is no magic, only choice.

I was celebrating anniversaries of exercising choice.
30 years ago I said no more pot or booze
18 years ago I said no more cigarettes
10 years ago I said no more sugar
8 years ago I said no more gluten
so, happy birthday to me to better strategies for health.
So even when I had a serious devastating stroke, the experts are amazed at the rate of recovery.
The reason for the stroke, bad luck. *shrug*
It’s not that shit doesn’t happen, its how quick and how much we recover.
Emotionally here is my recovery…
Many thanks to my friend Will Ross for creating this

The Three Majors Musts
We all express ourselves differently, but the irrational beliefs that upset us can be placed under three major headings. Each of these core beliefs contains an absolutistic must or demand. These three majors musts can be summarized as follows:

I. I must do well and win the approval of others or else I am no good.

Summary
Inflexible
Places unrealistic expectations on oneself
Over-concern with others’ opinion of oneself
Self-worth measured by achievement and popularity
Non-self-accepting
Sub-beliefs
I must have love and approval from everybody.
I need someone to love me.
I must not do anything that would cause others to think less of me.
I must be competent and successful.
I must have an important skill or talent.
I must successfully avoid unpleasant or undesirable situations.
Unpleasant and undesirable situations upset me.
I can’t control my emotions in difficult situations.
I must avoid dangerous or life-threatening situations.
If I do encounter such situations, I must worry about them to make them go away.
I must think, feel and act the same as I always have.
My past has such a strong influence on me that I cannot change.
I must find order, certainty, and predictability in life.
If I don’t find these things, I cannot feel comfortable or act competently.
I must depend on other people because I can’t depend on myself.
I must rely on superstition and religion especially in difficult times.
I must understand the secrets of the universe.
I cannot be happy unless I understand the nature and secrets of the universe.
I must rate myself as either “good” and “worthy,” or “bad” and “worthless.”
To be “good,” and “worthy,” I must be competent, successful and popular.
If I am not competent, successful or popular then I am “bad” and “worthless.”
I must never feel depressed, anxious or enraged.
Emotional Consequences
Depression
Anxiety and/or panic
Self Downing
Behavioral Consequences
Risk-avoidance
Shyness
Procrastination
Unassertiveness
Workaholism

II. Other people must do “the right thing” or else they are no good and deserve to be punished.

Summary
Inflexible and unrealistic
Assumes one’s authority over others
Assumes a clear-cut difference between right and wrong
Assumes one’s ability to inerrantly differentiate between right and wrong
Places oneself at the center of the universe with others catering to one’s needs and wants
Leads to conflict with others who also see themselves as the center of the universe
Non-accepting of human fallibility
Sub-beliefs
Everybody should treat everyone else (especially me) in a fair and considerate manner.
If they act unfairly or inconsiderately, they are no good.
If they act unfairly or inconsiderately, they deserve to be punished.
Society or the universe must ensure that they get the punishment they deserve.
Other people must not act incompetently or unwisely.
If they act incompetently or unwisely, they are worthless idiots.
If they act incompetently or unwisely, they should be ashamed of themselves.
If they act incompetently or unwisely, they should expect none of the good things in life.
Talented people must use their talent.
Everyone must reach their potential.
People who don’t live up to their potential have little or no value as human beings.
Other people must not criticize me.
If they unjustly criticize me, they are no good and don’t deserve anything good to happen to them.
Emotional Consequences
Anger, rage or fury
Impatience
Bitterness
Resentment
Behavioral Consequences
Aggression and violence
Bigotry and intolerance
Bullying
Nagging

III. Life must be easy, without discomfort or inconvenience.

Summary
Inflexible and unrealistic
Over-estimates one’s right to a trouble-free life
Under-estimates one’s ability to cope with adversity
Non-accepting of life’s vagaries
Sub-beliefs
Things must go the way I want them to go.
I need what I want.
It’s awful if I don’t get what I want.
I must constantly worry about life’s predicaments.
I must control, avoid or change life’s predicaments.
I must make myself upset over life’s predicaments.
Making myself upset gives me the power to control, avoid or change life’s predicaments.
I must avoid, rather than face and deal with, life’s difficulties and responsibilities.
I must not be inconvenienced or made uncomfortable.
I cannot discipline myself.
I can’t stand the present pain that is necessary for future gain.
It must be easy to change things that I don’t like.
Difficulties must not exist.
I am powerless to change my circumstances.
Any effort to change my circumstances is pointless because it is doomed to fail.
Justice, fairness, equality, democracy and other “right” values must prevail.
I can’t stand it when my values are trodden on.
All problems must have a perfect solution.
The perfect solution to all problems must be found.
It’s awful if a perfect solution can’t be found to my problems (or those of people I care about).
I must not die prematurely.
I should be able to live forever.
It’s terrible that I will one day die and no longer exist.
It’s terrible that people I love will one day die and no longer exist.
My life must have meaning and purpose.
a. If I can’t create meaning or purpose for myself, the universe or something supernatural must provide it for me.
I must not experience depression, rage or anxiety.
I must not have psychological problems.
I must not be institutionalized.
I couldn’t stand to be institutionalized.
I could never recover if I went “crazy.”
Emotional Consequences
Low frustration tolerance
Self-pity
Depression
Discomfort anxiety
Behavioral Consequences
Procrastination
Shirking
Drug and alcohol abuse
Overindulgence in “feel good” behaviors (e.g., overeating)
About The Author:
Will Ross — is the webmaster and co-founder of REBTnetwork.org; he tutors REBT self-helpers and is the author and publisher of online REBT self-help materials.

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