And you… do you have irrational beliefs? - Blog

And you… do you have irrational beliefs?

People believe different things. We believe things about ourselves, the world, others, the future, the past, our lives, and many other things.  For example, many people believe that one should not change their opinion or that one always has to care about the problems others have. Some of these beliefs may be adaptive and help an individual on their journey but others may impose limitations. The father of cognitive psychotherapy, Albert Ellis called these beliefs irrational and stated that they may be seen as the root cause of much distress and problems.

Let’s take a look at what irrational beliefs are:


Albert Ellis defines irrational beliefs and ideas as those that are not logical, that distort reality, that limit the person’s capacity to reach their goals, makes them experience distress, and leads to self-sabotaging behaviors. For example, there is the irrational belief that one should be liked to everybody, which can determine how people act.  They might try to please others, measure their decisions against other people’s opinions, or avoid standing up for themselves. But this idea is irrational. Why? First, it is impossible to make everyone like you. It is not a realistic standard, as there will always be someone out there who will not appreciate you no matter what you do. Secondly, it is limiting because it leaves the person in pursuit of an unachievable goal or makes them measure against an impossible standard. Thirdly, it causes distress. If the individual with this belief faces dislike from another person, they are likely to feel guilty, ashamed, or anxious. This is an irrational belief that is hurting the individual. It would be better if the person could get rid of it.


One can imagine these beliefs as distortions on the map the person has of reality. They prevent the person from seeing the actual situation and may lead them astray. So, correcting these beliefs is a way in which people can expand their options. However, the person who has these beliefs may also not be able to recognize them on their own as irrational. After all, they are likely to be held throughout the person’s life or even be shared by those close to the individual. This is why to recognize and change these beliefs we may need some external help, for example, in the form of a coach.


A good coach can help the person identify the irrational beliefs that they hold and challenge the limitations that these beliefs impose on the person. They can help the person through the journey of modifying these ideas and provide useful guidance for how to do it. The coach can also offer feedback in regards to the changes the person implements.


If you think that you may be experiencing some irrational beliefs that are hurting you, you may want to try coaching. Most people hold at least some limiting beliefs, so this is likely to greatly benefit your life. Consider one of our professional coaching programs to improve your life and remove any limitations or tendencies for self-sabotage.

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