Income - Heart Matters


3. Identify Irrational Beliefs

One consistent feature common to each and every irrational belief is that they’re all amplified by the word “must.” The more our beliefs turn irrational, the more we elevate our “preferences” into “musts.”

“I’d prefer to have more money” becomes “I must have more money.”

“I’d be more comfortable if I didn’t have to work so much” becomes “It’s not fair; I must have more free time.”

“I’d prefer to have fewer deductions from my paycheck” becomes “It’s really awful how few bucks I take home; that’s not right!”

Musting beliefs come as commands, demands and directives. They come with a pointing finger and a raised voice – You need to! You should! You must! You ought to! You’ve got to! Sometimes they come in the form of questions – Couldn’t you have? Don’t you think you should? Aren’t you going to? Notice how many irrational beliefs are passed off as questions?  Interesting how we camouflage statements as questions. Do you think that’s one way we get our irrational beliefs?

It’s this absolute way of looking at the world that you’ll need to modify when you dispute irrational beliefs. Pay close attention to your conversational talk and your self-talk and how others talk to you. Listen for “musting” language in yourself and in others. Are you “musting” yourself? Are others “musting” you?

In order to change irrational beliefs:

  • First, identify them (I will never have enough money).
  • Second, determine why they’re irrational (This is irrational because I am worrying about something that I do have control over (my future) and hasn’t happened so far and that I haven’t defined for myself yet (enough money)).
  • Third, create rational alternatives to them (I will determine my financial goals and a plan to reach them).

Armed with these new accurate beliefs, you can engage in actively disputing your irrational beliefs by arguing with yourself. Do whatever mental karate is necessary until you’ve rid yourself of your negative feelings, negative thoughts and the negative self-defeating behaviors associated with them. For example, ask yourself: Where is the evidence? Is my thinking logical and sound? Is it true? Being able to maintain rational thinking is very important for making wise choices about your income and expenses.

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