Irrational means thinking, feeling, saying or doing something that makes your life, and perhaps the lives of others worse instead of better.
Rational means thinking, feeling, saying, or doing something that makes the best of bad situations, that makes your life and the lives of others better.
Ideally, everything we think, feel, say or do would make our lives and the lives of others better instead of worse, and would help our lives play out the way we’d like them to. Obviously, this doesn’t always happen.
- People do think, feel, say and do things that make their lives, and sometimes the lives of others, worse instead of better. Some do it much more than others.
- Too often the response from others is open criticism. People can be quite self-critical as well.
- This will often be perceived as a threat to the symbolic self – that person we want to be and be seen as by others.
- People can become quite defensive in response, lash out at others rather than reflect.
- They can feel ashamed, and shame can block change – making it difficult for them to look at what they think, feel, say or do objectively in a way that is necessary for change to occur.
- That’s why I believe it’s important to have a simple, non-judgmental way to evaluate thoughts, feelings and actions.
It can help to choose to have Unconditional Self-Acceptance (USA). That means:
- choosing to see whatever you think, feel, say or do as part of being human
- choosing to see whatever you think, feel, say or do as understandable given what your life experiences have been, which may have been much different than others.
- Choosing to look at what others think, feel, say or do this way is called having Unconditional Other Acceptance (UOA)
- Choosing to have UOA and letting others know it can make it easier for them to choose to have USAv, and free them to reflect on what they think, feel, say or do
Question 1 – What do you really want?
- Variations include “How do you want to feel?”, “How do you want your life to play out?”, “What do you want your life to be like?” “How would you like your life to be different?”
- This is the most important starting point. Evaluating thoughts, feelings and actions ultimately depends on how you answer this question
- People often have trouble putting what they really want into words. It’s important to do that in a succinct way
- There’s an old saying, “If you don’t know where you want to go, you might end up somewhere else”
Question 2 – How’s it working for you to think, feel, say and do what you do now?
- Is it helping you get what you really want, or making that harder?
- Is it allowing you to feel the way you want, or making that harder?
- Is it allowing your life to play out the way you want it to, or causing it to play out in some way you don’t like?
Question 3 – If you keep thinking, feeling, saying and doing what you do now, will it be easier or harder to get what you want in the future?
- Will it be easier or harder to feel the way you want to feel?
- Will it be easier or harder for your life to play out the way you’d like it to?
Question 4 – If someone else thinks, feels, says and does that, are you likely to get what you really want from them, or with them?
- Are you likely to feel the way you’d like to feel with them?
The answers to these questions are usually obvious. They just need to be asked and the answer to the second, third and fourth questions all depend on how you answer the first question. The second, third and fourth questions are called FUNCTIONAL DISPUTES.