Spiritual Boot Camp - Part Two

  • MyJourney, can you give back the fears and emotions that are not yours to their rightful owners? Our psyches need a kind of logic in order to heal so, if we can realise that we have been carrying a burden that is not ours, it's easier to put it down.

  • to be honest captain, i don't know what are mine and what is the rightful owners...i was an actress all my life, not in a stage sence.but away to seek approval i guess, i was whom ever you wanted me to be, if that makes any sense...i carried guilt around for my mother,my siblings people in general for so long that this journey right now is letting go of their guilt because i picked up on it at such a young age...

    thanks captain, I'm going to have to think long and hard...honestly i do not have the answers...just something i have never done.


  • Here's an exercise for everyone - write down every fear you have and see if you can trace it back to its original source. If it goes back to someone before you, then it's not a good tradition to pass down the line, especially on to your kids and them to theirs and so on. You may be trying to deal with fears and problems that are simply generational and aren't even yours. Give them back to those to whom they really belong.

  • Here's a clue - if you really can't trace a fear back to an actual incident in your life, then it's probably someone else's secondhand problem. And there's no need for you to wear someone else's borrowed 'clothing' all your life. Time to 'clean out the inner closets' to find your own gear.

  • What's the proper way of giving those things back? I am also not sure what is mine and what is inherited from someone else.

  • This is where knowing yourself well comes in - to know who you really are, where your parents and early influences end and where you begin. This takes both introspection and intuition. But start with your biggest worry or fear and try to track it back to its origins. If you can, ask your parents about this fear and see if they have it too. If they do, then it probably came from them (and probably they inherited it too from those who came before.) It's so important to stop a fear being handed down through the generations.

  • Thanks captain,

    i thought allot last night to the point that i could take a few fears and emotions to the dump that were not mine:)

    now the rest is where a pen and paper will be needed, like AB asked, this is where I'm bumping my head, i know you responded to her and i understood what you answered, but what about those deep seated fears and emotions...

    Yes, also i understand that this is where you have to know yourself...but its the emotions that are troubling me, who,what,where and how....more thoughts for me if you can...

    thanks again, i awoke feeling somewhat purged this morning:)...when i finally got to sleep!

    Namaste Captain


    aka shatz

  • Hi Sheila I did your chakras would love your view xSheelagh

  • Hi Sheelagh, wow, i don't want to presume its me your talking to but are you? lol...

    Namaste Sheelagh


  • Yes it is you I am talking to LOL you posted on my Paddi thread and Maggie asked me to help so I did try and posted a reply there too.


  • Thank you Captain, I actually had the same thought of just handing back the worry, or rather just not accepting that there is anything to worry about. Interesting about the generational hand-down as well. My grandmother, i.e. my mum's mum, is also a large worrier

    And thank you Denise for the note of concern. I am okay overall, just plaguing myself with this fear that I have seemingly invented. I feel so stupid and ridiculous, I cannot actually see why I have this fear. Furthermore all my attempts at trying to figure it out are being blocked. Mercury Rx probably, in which case roll bloody on April 23rd! lol

  • What you are looking for are irrational fears - phobias that seem to have come from nowhere for no reason. A phobia is an emotional fearful response which is rarely based on objective facts or reality. So it must come from someone else.

    From the DailyOm - "When we really examine our fears about something, we sometimes notice that the fear we have is not based on our own experience. Often, if we trace our fear back to its source, we find that one of our parents may have handed it down to us. For example, your mother or father may have had an intense fear of lack of money, stemming from their own life experiences. If that fear was not resolved by the time you came into the picture, chances are you inherited it. Meanwhile, you may have no actual experience of lacking money, so being fearful doesn’t make sense, and it may even block you from doing certain things you want to do.

    Keeping in mind that your parents were only trying to protect you, and that most of the errors in judgment they made were made with the best intentions, it might be time to release this fear symbolically. You cannot resolve someone else’s fear for them, but you can decide to let go of it on your own behalf. Whether your parents are still alive or not, it is best to do this in a symbolic way, using visualization and, if you like, ritual. One simple visualization involves inviting your parent to sit across from you in your heart space and sharing your desire to move on from this fear, letting them know that you will not carry it anymore. You may be surprised at the response you get, because it’s possible they will be proud of you, grateful, and proud of your courage.

    The more we do this deep inner work with our fears, the better we will be able to parent our own children without burdening them with fears that don’t belong to them. Some of us will do as much of this work as we can before we become parents, while others will be working on this even as our children become adults. Either way, the effects will be felt, because once we break our ties to the fears of the past, our children’s ties to those fears are greatly weakened, so it’s important to remember that it’s never too late. "

  • It might help to explore various common fears so you can decide if you have them or not -


    Fear of rejection is an outcome of low self-esteem. If you have this fear, you are sure to feel alienated and lonely. Your fear makes you feel that everyone in this world is superior to you and they can reject and avoid you for some reason or the other. As a child this fear may have developed within you when your parents constantly compared you with others with the intention that this might drive you to do best in life. How hard you worked couldn't satisfy others and thus you developed the feeling that you can never be better than this. Surely, this is really pathetic but fortunately curable.

    The things you feel when you suffer from fear of rejection

    • You have the feeling that you can never do or say something confidently

    • When you have this fear, you can't say no to anything because you feel that a bit of negative on your part can make others reject and neglect you. Thus, you keep on saying yes to everything without judging the limit of your potential

    • You consider yourself good or bad according to what people say about you. You fail to form an opinion of yourself

    • You tend to lose your identity for you prefer to act, talk, dress and imitate those whom you admire in life

    Do not ever be afraid of rejection in life. If someone rejects you, take that as a challenge to prove yourself. Don't let other people dictate your identity. In fact, fear of rejection is an inherent irrational belief that nobody will accept you for who you are, what you believe and how you act. Victims of this particular fear depend on the approval, recognition or affirmation of others in order to have a better idea about them.

  • FEAR OF REJECTION (continued) -

    Fear of being rejected encourages your irrationality in thought and behavior and this finally results in personal inaction, depression and infantile fixation. When you are afraid that you might be rejected, you go on pleasing others so that no one should develop a negative opinion about you. You are extremely dishonest with yourself and you tend to become an habitual liar. When you suffer from fear of rejection, others may encourage you to be more assertive in life. You are asked to change your lifestyle and be true to yourself. If anyone comes to understand that you are lying, the person loses trust in you and starts doubting your integrity and honesty. Everybody becomes tired and frustrated to see your unreal version. As trust is affected, it becomes difficult for the person to carry on a conversation with you. When you suffer from fear of rejection, everybody starts taking you for granted. No one attempts to understand your real problem in life and they enjoy your act of pleasing others unnecessarily.

    How to eliminate this fear of rejection?

    Fear of rejection can be best handled by changing the way you think and once this happens you are no longer a victim of fear of rejection. Your fear is the result of your programs or "constructs" that you have created that don't work very well. So to eliminate this fear, you must create alternative behavior patterns to those coming from your fear of rejection. Even just realising your have this fear begins the process of healing.


    People who have an undue fear of abandonment are more likely to:

    • Be less likely to trust others.

    • Be cynical - “people always let you down in the end”.

    • Feel anxious and insecure, looking for signs that abandonment is about to happen.

    • Behave in clingy or demanding ways which in itself can damage the very relationship they fear losing.

    Here are some tips to help you overcome fear of abandonment:

    1. Stop over-generalizing - thinking that just because A abandoned, hurt or betrayed you that everyone is going to do the same thing to you. This over-generalizing prevents people trusting and truly committing to all kinds of different relationships. Because people and circumstances are different and until we can feel the difference, we’ll condemn ourselves to needlessly unhappy lives.

    2. Name your fear; unmask the beast - ‘Fear of abandonment’ is a bit vague, isn’t it? Whittle it down. What specifically are you afraid of, beyond indistinct labels such as ‘fear of abandonment’?

    3. Sort out the past - it’s not enough just to ‘explore’ what happened. We need to change the way it feels so it can stop bothering us. With a sense of your own adult attributes and perspectives, go back and comfort that young self of yours who felt abandoned. Put your adult arms around them and tell them not to worry because everything was going to be okay in the future.

    4. In the words of the song: “I will survive!” And so will you. Prepare for the worst and then…forget about it. Often when people are abandoned (whether because someone leaves or even dies), they feel utterly hopeless and helpless. But you are never helpless. Write down a list of all (and I do mean all) your personal strengths, attributes, and character traits that would get you through if you were to be abandoned. Next write down a list of people and outside resources that would help you ‘survive’. Even take some time to imagine how you’d cope, then thrive. When you stop thinking of yourself as hopeless and helpless, you stop feeling so vulnerable and you start enjoying your relationships more.

    5. Enjoy your relationships. All we ever really have is right here, right now. Your only reality at this present exact moment is reading these words (I suddenly feel very honoured). Everything else - the people you know, the past, hope and fears for the future, all that stuff - only exists in your mind because you are not with those people, or in the past or future. Nothing lasts forever, so enjoy where you’re at and whom you’re with. And remember that when you choose to trust someone you are, in effect, presenting them with a gift. How they treat that gift is a reflection of them, not you. Stop thinking in terms of ‘abandonment’, because it’s more realistic to think in terms of ‘splitting up’ or ‘relationships breaking down’ or ‘things not working out’. The idea of ‘abandonment’ implies you are more powerless than you really are. Just like a fully grown lion who doesn’t know he’s grown, still thinking he is small and powerless, we fear we’ll be as helpless as we felt way back when, in fact, we all change and you can use those changes.

    Article by Mark Tyrell


    Fear of failure is closely linked to fear of rejection and criticism from others, as well as to procrastination and excuse making. You can always create an excuse not to do anything, no matter how potentially valuable and rewarding. It’s just whether you choose to believe those excuses. Fearing failure to the point that we don’t even try something prevents us from ever truly knowing what we might just be capable of.

    Fear of failure carries its own risks - one of which is a regretful and frustrating life. Here are some possible causes for fear of failure:

    • The person may be such a perfectionist that anything less than perfection on a first attempt seems like dismal and humiliating failure and can’t be tolerated. To succeed, we must be prepared and able to fail. Weirdly, successful people may be just as comfortable with failure as they are with success.

    • They may have been the unwitting victim of someone else’s perfectionism, harshly criticized by demeaning parents, teachers, friends, or colleagues, and have internalized those outside expectations.

    • Failure came to be seen as a statement about who they were as a person (rather than what their approach to a particular attempt had been like).

    • They had been embarrassed by an actual or perceived failure and felt traumatized by this to the extent that they now fear to attempt anything new.

    • They may misconceive self-confidence. Truly confident people aren’t the ones who know for sure they’ll succeed; they’re the ones who know they’ll handle failure if it happens.

    • They may naïvely assume that success always happens without many failed attempts along the way (we all see the relative success of celebs, but we don’t see the hidden part of their story, such as knockbacks). They want success without risk or difficulty.

    If you feel fear of failure has been holding you back, take a chance on these tips -

    Tip 1: Remember ‘failure’ is a relative term

    A failure on one level is often a success on another, when we’re less black-or-white about it. The Scottish pharmacologist Sir Alexander Fleming succeeded in accidentally discovering penicillin (which has indirectly saved hundreds of millions of lives) through failing to clear away cultures of staphylococci on a bench in a corner of his laboratory. Failing in law school might be the catalyst for a successful career in stand-up comedy, who knows? Loosen up your thinking around what constitutes ‘success’ and ‘failure’. Few things are absolute. A relationship, for example, can ‘work’ but still have ups and downs, still have little failings.

    Tip 2: Don’t take it all personally

    People are more at risk of developing depression if they internalize bad stuff, assuming they are personally and solely responsible when a relationship ends or when a business venture doesn’t get off the ground. If something doesn’t work the way you wanted it to, ask yourself: “Okay, what factors outside of my control contributed to this not working?” Was it the economy? Was it the large geographical distance in the relationship? The fact that the bank didn’t lend the money they said they would? See your responsibility as a realistic part of the picture - not the whole picture itself. And if you were totally responsible, what mitigating circumstances might there be (the fact that a newborn kept you awake all night before your exam)? Externalizing bad stuff makes the prospect of ‘failure’ less daunting than feeling that if you fail it means you’re a total idiot. This isn’t about dodging blame, but objectively seeing when outside factors influenced an undesired outcome.

    Tip 3: Forget about ‘failure/success’

    Once upon a time, when you were tiny, you didn’t fear failure because ‘failure’ was something that you hadn’t yet learned as an idea. Part of the trick in overcoming paralyzing fear of failure is to return to some of that innocence and forget about ‘failure’ and ‘success’; just enjoy the process of seeing how far you can take something. This is what happens when people flow into ‘the zone’ in which all thoughts of past or future disappear into one timeless moment of pure present focus.

    Tip 4: No failure; only feedback

    Yes, I know this one’s a cliché, but it’s true. We learn what works by what doesn’t. If we don’t try, we don’t learn. Early humankind didn’t just invent the production of fire. Many attempts - perhaps some of them retrospectively ridiculous - had to be made. But the end was always kept in mind. Keep an open mind. Think in terms of ‘feedback’ and ‘results’. A good scientific researcher will see results from a study, rather than success or failure; results that need to be considered objectively. If something doesn’t work, great! Now you know to do things differently. Successful sports or business people need to do the same: “What happened here? How can that be improved? Which bits worked better than others?”Forget ‘failure’, which is, sometimes, just the name of the landscape you need to travel through to find eventual success. Remember, truly confident people aren’t the ones who know for sure they’ll succeed; they’re the ones who know they’ll handle failure if it happens.

    Tip 5: Be bold, take action

    Get into the habit of seeing how much you can ‘fail’ at. Take classes, learn something, try new things; it’s a numbers game. Put yourself out there and get used to attempting stuff. The most successful people are often just the ones who try the most things. Avoidance of opportunity is no way to travel through life. What people forget is that to speed up your rate of success, you need to quicken your rate of failure - not always try to avoid it through inaction. And if you predict you’ll fail at something and then you do, you’ll have actually succeeded in your prediction - something that weather forecasters don’t seem to be too hot at.

    Tip 6: Know what success means for you

    Fear of failure so often means fear of failing other people’s expectations, which, deep down, might not be your idea of success. What does success mean to you? A sense of meaning and purpose helping others? A healthy body and good friends? A place in the sun? Mastering an activity? For many, success has come to mean the acquisition of wealth, but we know that gaining more and more money in income doesn’t make us increasingly happier. Really think about what you would feel to be successful and bear in mind it might not look like success to some others. After all, it’s your life.

    Tip 7: Envisage attempting in the best way possible

    If your attempt is as good as it can be and you still fail (perhaps because of outside factors), then remember the attempt was a success. When I work hypnotically with someone who is nervous about taking their driving test, I don’t get them to visualize passing their test. When working with the nervous job interviewee, I don’t get them to ‘see themselves’ being offered the job. Why? Because this is not the right focus. I can’t make the driving examiner pass my client, but I can help my client be suitably calm and focussed during the test itself. We focus on making the attempt as successful as it can be and let the outcome of that attempt take care of itself. Forget eventual outcomes and focus on attempting well.

    Success comes in many sizes and each one of us needs to find our perfect fit.

    Article by Mark Tyrell

  • again thanks, captain this helped me to see things clearer and to stop being afraid of the past...its over, time to gid rid of that part of my life,,,"By george i think i've got it."..now the real work begins..i want my freedom back, i want the freedom to choose what is best for me and not someone to choose it for me..If i have emotions i want them to be mine,mine alone...if i have fears, i place those fears in front of me, why? because of being programed by others..

    Namaste Captain



    here's to freedom to be me, and not who you want me to be:)


    The fear of intimacy is a condition that hinders a person from forming a relationship with another person. He or she is unable to develop a connection with other people and feels lonely and isolated. The fear of intimacy stems from the fear of getting hurt from a relationship. It is the other side of the fear of rejection. As a result, the person withdraws into a shell, which leads to emotional stagnation. The fear of intimacy can also be due to the fear of losing, and not knowing how to cope later. This inability to act after the supposed betrayal, rejection, hurt, gives rise to the fear of intimacy. The causes are varied. It can be due to a traumatic childhood, emotional trauma, abusive relationship, or loss of a loved one. The fear of being dominated by the other person also develops, a fear of getting intimate. A person suffering from the fear of intimacy is always faced, with the question ‘What if’ this or that happens. Fear of intimacy can also involve anything from hiding your artistic work from your spouse or family and friends to rejecting sex. While sexual inhibition is the most prominent, lack of dialog with your partner, friends or family members can damage your self esteem as well as your relationships. Here are some things you can do to overcome your fear -

    1. You may not have the fear of intimacy you think. You may instead be suffering from anxiety or depression. These conditions affect your mood which can keep you from sharing things with your loved ones. Talk to a health professional about ways of dealing with your worries.

    2. The more you bottle up your fear of intimacy, the more it grows and the harder it becomes to overcome. So, the first task in order to get over this fear, is to face the fact that you have a fear of getting intimate with people, and steel yourself to come out of it. Hiding behind emotional barriers will only weaken you.

    3. Bare your heart to your loved one, keeping nothing hidden. Share and exchange your thoughts and personal experiences, so that you get your hidden fear out. By talking, the fear tends to dissolve. The most difficult task is to get it out.

    4. Be honest. This is perhaps the only requirement in overcoming your fear of intimacy, other than an understanding and honest partner. Be honest enough to face your fear, and have a determination to get over it. Share and discuss your pain, fear, and experiences, step by step, one at a time. Start from the simple ones, and gradually move on to the most difficult. Overcoming the fear of intimacy is a long process. So don’t get disheartened and withdraw to your shell, in between. Don’t be ashamed of yourself. This shame for the self can cause people to develop a fear of intimacy, as they are subconsciously ashamed to face others.

    5. Develop a friendship with your partner. Seek out areas where you both are compatible, and nurture those. This will help you to be transparent, hiding nothing. Involve your partner in day-to-day activities, like cooking, gardening, or simply go for a movie, or to a restaurant. Set aside time each week to share your experiences. Go out to dinner and tell your partner about yourself as if he/she were a biographer. Listen avidly as he/she tells you about their life. The things you discover will move you to greater intimacy.

    6. Value yourself. Most people with a fear of intimacy have a feeling of worthlessness, deep down themselves, which they do not want other people to find out, and so they gradually begin to develop a fear of getting intimate. That is why, to overcome this fear a person must value his or her self. Do things, which will give you self-satisfaction and a creative boost. Respect your interests, ambitions, abilities and limitations. Just as you forgive your partner or friend for his/her mistakes, forgive yourself. Repeat statements affirming that we live in an imperfect world and therefore, you don't need to be perfect either.

    7. Ask your partner to allow you to take charge of sexual intimacy for a while. Be open about what you do and don't feel comfortable with. Take it step by step. Discuss with them any fears of having sexual relations. Try to make your partner understand your feelings and your fears. Find a comfortable setting. Overcoming your fear takes time and requires a safe, relaxing environment. Take it slow. Start with kissing and holding hands. If you feel you're starting to get uncomfortable again, pull back a little or let your partner know. The next time, you could try touching each others' bodies over your clothing and get used to your bodies together. Another time, when you are ready, try being naked with each other. This part could take a while getting used to, but remember to relax and enjoy your partner's company. Next, try touching and exploring each others' bodies. Giving each other massages is a common way to give attention and pleasure to one's partner without engaging in strictly sexual touching. Sex and intimacy is not just about intercourse. It's about affection and understanding and feeling comfortable enough with someone to want to share everything about yourself.

    Article by Lifestyle Lounge

  • Good for you, Sheila! 🙂 You are a very strong unique woman.

  • What Are Irrational Beliefs?

    Irrational beliefs are:

    • Messages about life we send to ourselves that keep us from growing emotionally.

    • Scripts we have in our head about how we believe life "should'' be for us and for others.

    • Unfounded attitudes, opinions and values we hold to that are out of synchrony with the way the world really is.

    • Negative sets of habitual responses we hold to when faced with stressful events or situations.

    • Stereotypical ways of problem solving we fall into in order to deal with life's pressures.

    • Ideas, feelings, beliefs, ways of thinking, attitudes, opinions, biases, prejudices or values with which we were raised. We have become accustomed to using them when faced with problems in our current life, even when they are not productive in helping us reach a positive, growth-enhancing solution.

    • Self-defeating ways of acting. On the surface they may look appropriate for the occasion, but actually they result in a neutral or negative consequence for us.

    • Habitual ways of thinking, feeling or acting that we think are effective; however, in the long run they are ineffectual.

    • Counterproductive ways of thinking, which give comfort and security in the short run, but either do not resolve or actually exacerbate the problem in the long run.

    • Negative or pessimistic ways of looking at necessary life experiences such as loss, conflict, risk taking, rejection or accepting change.

    • Overly optimistic or idealistic ways of looking at necessary life experiences such as loss, conflict, risk taking, rejection or accepting change.

    • Emotional arguments for taking or not taking action in the face of a challenge. When followed they result in no personal gain, but rather in greater personal hardship or loss.

    • Patterns of thinking that make us appear to others as stubborn, bullheaded, intemperate, argumentative or aloof.

    • Ways of thinking about ourselves that are out of context with the real facts, resulting in our either under-valuing or over-valuing ourselves.

    • Means by which we become confused about the intentions of others when we are enmeshed in interpersonal problems with them.

    • Lifelong messages sent to us either formally or informally by: society, culture, community, race, ethnic reference group, neighborhood, church, social networks, family, relatives, peer group, school, work or parents. They are unproductive in solving our current problem or crisis, but we are either unwilling or unable to let go of them. These messages can be very clear to us or they can be hidden in our subconscious.

    • Conclusions about life that we have developed over time, living in an irrational environment not identified as being irrational (e.g., beliefs developed as a member of a high-stress family).

    • Standards by which we were reared and from which we learned how to act, what to believe and how to express or experience feelings. When followed, however, these standards do not result in a satisfactory resolution of our current problems.

    • Ritualistic ways by which we pursue our relationships with others, resulting in nonproductive relationships and increased emotional stress.

    • Outmoded, unproductive, unrealistic expectations exacted on ourselves and/or others, guaranteed to be unattainable and to result in continuing negative self-concepts.

    What Are Some Examples of Irrational Beliefs?

    Irrational beliefs (negative) about self:

    • I do not deserve positive attention from others.

    • I should never burden others with my problems or fears.

    • I am junk.

    • I am uncreative, nonproductive, ineffective and untalented.

    • I am worthless.

    • I am the worst example on earth of a person.

    • I am powerless to solve my problems.

    • I have so many problems, I might as well give up right now.

    • I am so dumb about things, I can never solve anything as complex as this.

    • I am the ugliest, most unattractive, unappealing, fat slob in the world.

    Irrational beliefs (negative) about others:

    • No one cares about anyone else.

    • All men (or women) are dishonest and are never to be trusted.

    • Successful relationships are a trick; you have no control over how they turn out.

    • People are out to get whatever they can from you; you always end up being used.

    • People are so opinionated; they are never willing to listen to other's points of view.

    • You are bound to get hurt in a relationship; it makes no difference how you try to change it.

    • There is a loser in every fight, so avoid fights at all costs.

    • All people are out for number 1; you need to know you'll always be number 2, no matter what.

    • It's not who you are but what you do that makes you attractive to another person.

    • What counts in life is others' opinions of you.

    • There is a need to be on guard in dealing with others to insure that you don't get hurt.

    Irrational beliefs on other topics

    • There is only one way of doing things.

    • Work is the punishment man must endure for being human.

    • A family that plays (prays) together always stays together.

    • Always protecting against the forces of evil in life is the only way to live.

    • There are always two choices: right or wrong; black or white; win or lose; pass or fail; grow or stagnate.

    • Once you are married and have children, you join the normal human race.

    • A handicapped person is imperfect, to be pitied and to be dropped along the path of life.

    • Admitting to a mistake or to failure is a sign of weakness.

    • The showing of any kind of emotion is wrong, a sign of weakness, and not allowable.

    • Asking for help from someone else is a way of admitting your weakness; it denies the reality that only you can solve your problems.

    How Can We Recognize Irrational Beliefs?

    Irrational beliefs can be present if we:

    • Find ourselves caught up in a vicious cycle in addressing our problems.

    • Find a continuing series of "catch 22s'' where every move we make to resolve a problem results in more or greater problems.

    • Have been suffering silently (or not so silently) with a problem for a long time, yet have not taken steps to get help to address the problem.

    • Have decided on a creative problem solving solution, yet find ourselves incapable of implementing the solution.

    • Have chosen a problem solving course of action to pursue and find that we are unhappy with this course of action; yet we choose to avoid looking for alternatives.

    • Are afraid of pursuing a certain course of action because of the guilt we will feel if we do it.

    • Find we are constantly obsessed with a problem yet take no steps to resolve it.

    • Find we are immobilized in the face of our problems.

    • Find that the only way to deal with problems is to avoid them, deny them, procrastinate about them, ignore them, run away from them, turn our back on them.

    • Find that we can argue both sides of our problem, becoming unable to make a decision.

    What Are the Benefits of Refuting Our Irrational Beliefs?

    By refuting our irrational beliefs, we are able to:

    • Unblock our emotions and feelings about ourselves and our problems.

    • Become productive, realistic problem solvers.

    • Gain greater credibility with ourselves and others.

    • Gain clarity, purpose and intention in addressing our current problems.

    • Reduce the fear of guilt or of hurting others in solving problems.

    • Identify the barriers and obstacles that must first be hurdled before our problems can be resolved.

    • Come to greater honesty about ourselves and our problems.

    • Put our problem into a realistic perspective as to its importance, magnitude and probability of being solved.

    • Separate our feelings from the content of the problem.

    • Live richer, more authentic lives.

    • View our lives in a healthier perspective, with greater meaning and direction.

    • Gain our sense of humor in the presence of our problems and in their resolution.

    • Recognize our self-worth and self-goodness and separate it from the errors and mistakes we have made in our lives.

    • Forgive ourselves and others for mistakes made.

    • Give ourselves and others kindness, tenderness and understanding during times of great stress.

    • Gain a sense of purpose and order in our lives as we solve problems.

    • Feel productive as we labor through the muck and mire of our problems.

    • Respect our rights and the rights of others as we solve problems.

    • Clarify our feelings about the behavior of others without the barrier of self-censorship or fear of rejection.

    • Gain a "win-win'' solution to problems, which involves ourselves with others. It opens us up to compromise.

    Steps to take in refuting an irrational belief

    Step 1: Is your thinking and problem solving ability being blocked by an irrational belief? Consider a specific problem as you answer the following questions:

    1. Am I going in circles in trying to solve this problem?

    2. Is there something inside of me that is preventing or keeping me from taking the necessary actions in this matter?

    3. Am I bothered by the thoughts of what I or others should do, act like, think or feel in this situation?

    4. Do I find myself saying how this situation "should be," having a hard time facing it the way it really is?

    5. Do I use fantasy or magical thinking in looking at this problem? Am I always hoping that by some miracle it will go away?

    6. Am I burdened by the fear of what others think of me as I work on this problem?

    7. Do I know what the solution is, but become paralyzed in its implementation?

    8. Do I find myself using a lot of "yes, buts'' in discussing this problem?

    9. Do I find it easier to procrastinate, avoid, divert my attention, ignore or run away from this problem?

    10. Is this problem causing much distress and discomfort for me and/or others, and yet I remain stumped in trying to resolve it?

    Step 2: If you have answered yes to any or all of the questions in Step 1, you are probably facing a problem or situation in which a blocking irrational belief is clouding your thinking. The next thing to do is to try to identify the blocking irrational belief. Answer the following questions in your journal:

    1. Is the blocking belief something I have believed in all my life?

    2. Is the blocking belief coming from the teachings of my parents, church, family, peers, work, society, culture, community, race, ethnic reference group or social network?

    3. Is the blocking belief something that always recurs when I am trying to solve problems similar to this one?

    4. Is the blocking belief something that has helped me solve problems successfully in the past?

    5. Is the blocking belief one that tends to make me dishonest with myself about this problem?

    6. Is the blocking belief an immobilizing concept that sparks fear of guilt or fear of rejection in my mind as I face this problem?

    7. Is the blocking belief something that can be stated in a sentence or two?

    8. Is the blocking belief a consistent statement as I face this problem, or does it tend to change as variables of this problem become more clear to me?

    9. Is the blocking belief a tangible statement of belief or is it simply a feeling or intuition?

    10. Can I state the blocking belief? If so, write it in your journal, "My blocking belief is" and fill out your answer.

    Step 3: Once you have identified the blocking belief in Step 2, test its rationality. Answer the following questions about the belief, "yes" or "no."

    1. Is there any basis in reality to support this belief as always being true?

    2. Does this belief encourage personal growth, emotional maturity, independence of thinking and action, and stable mental health?

    3. Is this belief one which, if ascribed to, will help you overcome this or future problems in your life?

    4. Is this belief one which, if ascribed to, will result in behavior that is self defeating for you?

    5. Does this belief protect you and your rights as a person?

    6. Does this belief assist you in connecting honestly and openly with others so that healthy, growth engendering interpersonal relationships result?

    7. Does this belief assist you in being a creative, rational problem solver who is able to identify a series of alternatives from which you can choose your own personal priority solutions?

    8. Does this belief stifle your thinking and problem solving ability to the point of immobilization?

    9. When you tell others of this belief do they support you because that is the way everyone in your family, peer group, work, church or community thinks?

    10. Is this belief an absolute? Is it a black or white, yes or no, win or lose, with no options in the middle type of belief?

    Healthy answers are:

    1-no, 2-yes, 3-yes, 4-no, 5-yes, 6-yes, 7-yes, 8-no, 9-no and 10-no.

    If you are unable to give healthy answers to one or more question in Step 2, then your blocking belief is most likely irrational.

    Step 4: Once you have determined that the blocking belief is irrational, you are ready to refute this irrational belief. Respond to the following questions in your journal:

    1. How do I consistently feel when I think of this belief?

    2.Is there anything in reality to support this belief as being true?

    3. What in reality supports the lack of absolute truth in this belief?

    4. Does the truth of this belief exist only in the way I talk, act or feel about this problem?

    5. What is the worst thing that could happen to me if I do not hold on to this belief?

    6. What positive things might happen to me if I do not hold on to this belief?

    7. What would be an appropriate, realistic belief I could substitute for this irrational belief?

    8. How would I feel if I substituted this new belief for my blocking belief?

    9. How will I grow and how will my rights and the rights of others be protected by this substitute belief?

    10. What is keeping me from accepting this alternate belief?

    11. Once you have answered these questions, substitute a rational belief and act on it.: "My substitute rational healthy belief is."

    Step 5: If you still have trouble solving problems, return to Step 1 and begin again.

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