We’re often encouraged to be selfless in a selfish world. But surviving in such a world requires, at the very least, selective selfishness. And to put it into motion, every day – all day – it comes down to you – first. Here’s the word…

It’s useless to pursue relief interventions if we’re convinced external forces are responsible for our frustration and pain.

Would you agree that our friend above looks a smidge surprised – even indignant?

Well, here’s what’s going on…

Intro

For the past three months she’s had about all she can take. Name it: work, a crummy relationship, a world of meanness and abandoned boundaries, the cost of living, nasty politics – she’s done.

Her frustration and pain have gotten so bad that she sees herself as a victim. Why? Because she believes she has no control over the onslaught of external attacks and their internal impact.

So she views her misery as “their” fault – whoever “they” may be.

A friend chimes in

Recently, she had lunch with a close friend who pointed out that she was responsible for her internal chaos. And she went on to share some very hopeful news: she could do something about it.

Sure, our friend was “a smidge surprised – even indignant.” But though she didn’t say it, she was willing to open her mind.

i think the scenario is applicable to many of us.

Tools: Locus of control and rational emotive behavior therapy

If any of us hope to neutralize the impact of perceived external attacks, we may need some help. After all, putting ourselves first doesn’t necessarily come naturally.

Here are a couple of tools I believe will lend a hand. And as they do, they’ll facilitate learning a lot about ourselves.

Let’s roll…

Locus of control

It’s useless to pursue relief interventions if we’re convinced external forces are responsible for our frustration and pain.

Locus of control (LOC), a personality component, addresses our perception of why things happen in our lives – past, present, and future.

Cutting to the chase, do we believe our lives are controlled primarily by internal or external forces (are we innies or outies)?

Internal

Those with internal LOC believe their behavior is guided by personal decisions and beliefs. Often presenting is confidence in the ability to manage themselves and influence the world around them. And, yes, they’re more likely to practice selective selfishness.

The future? It’s perceived as resting in their own hands, and it’s believed personal choices generate success or failure.

As we age, our LOC tends to become more internal.

External

Those with external LOC believe control over their lives is largely beyond them. Indeed, they believe they personally have very little, or no, say in management. They may even go so far as to believe others have control over them – and they have no option but to obey.

Seems our friend has been living with external LOC.

Though theory and research indicate LOC is primarily learned, there’s evidence showing it can be a response to circumstances. For my money, that means an external who wants to transition to the internal side of the fence can hope to do so.

Can you see how locus of control may significantly impact our take on troubling external – turning internal – happenings?

By the way, are you an innie or an outie?

Rational emotive behavior therapy

rational emotive behavior therapy

“Oh, that’s right, LOC and REBT. I totally forgot.”

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is often referred to as the grandparent of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

I mention it frequently because its model is easy to understand and makes so much sense. In our discussion, the “T” in REBT stands for theory, not therapy.

Though there are additional components to the REBT model, for our purposes, this is what’s most important…

A: Activating event
B: Belief system of the individual
C. Consequences of emotion and behavior

When intense emotional and behavioral consequences (C) occur, we often blame the activating event (A). According to REBT, the real culprit is our belief system (B). So it looks like this…

A occurs
B = C
Instead of A = C

So we can better understand the flow, let’s bring our friend’s circumstances to the equation…

A: Activating event

Every significant portion of her life brings distress. Furthermore, she constantly monitors news updates and social media. She knows in detail what’s going on in the world – and in her life – and it’s setting off alarms.

B: Belief system

Given she identifies as a victim, she believes she has no control over the whole mess, it will never end, and there’s no way her life will ever return to a fulfilling “normal.” She also believes the chaos is somehow intended. “They” are in charge, so everyone’s in peril. If all that isn’t enough, she’s convinced the world as she knows it will ultimately fall apart. Then what?

C: Consequences of emotion and behavior

Again, the victim – having no control over her circumstances, convinced that what upsets her is the only factor to be considered. Hence, in her mind, why even try anymore? She’s become helpless, hopeless, irritable, fatigued, isolative, moody, and anxious. She finds it difficult to get out of bed and can’t wait for an acceptable time to head back.

Our friend definitely believes her “C” are being caused by “A.” Her friend points out that it’s all about “B.” And, of course, she’ll never find relief unless and until she buys-in.

On the upside, remember, she’s willing to open her mind.

By the way, does any of this hit home?

Every day – all day

Do you agree that engaging with – managing – challenging external factors has to be an every day – all day – selective selfishness mission?

If so, learning about locus of control and rational emotive behavior theory will help you put things into perspective.

Maybe they did for our friend.


If you’re looking for more Chipur info and inspiration articles, review the titles.

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