6. Disputing Irrational Beliefs
The process of changing your irrational beliefs, your seemingly automatic self-talk, is called disputing. The results of disputing irrational beliefs will be new and more effective self-talk that will likely cause you to be happier. This new way of thinking will also allow you to develop daily habits, or strategies, for replacing any poor money management habits that may have caused you financial trouble.
D = Disputing: Mental Karate
Disputing is the mental karate you must do to change your irrational beliefs and improve your mood, your behavior and your future thoughts. Of course, you really don’t need to do this. You could stay right where you are and not change at all. If you’re in charge of your personal finances, comfortable with your income, able to manage your money, relaxed about your credit, and not concerned with increasing your personal wealth, perhaps you’ll not need to change a bit. But, let’s assume you feel the need to improve your personal finances and your thoughts and feelings about money are getting in your way. Disputing can help. Just follow these five steps:
- Identify the A+B=C sequence – Start by noticing when you feel a negative emotion (A). What happened or is happening before your belief is activated?
- Identify what that negative emotion is making you do, feel, and/or think (C).
- This is the tricky part – try to figure out what underlying belief (B) you’re holding. This is the belief that is causing your emotion. Now you’ve got your A+B=C sequence.
- Decide if your belief is rational or irrational. Chances are if you’re experiencing a negative emotion, an irrational belief is causing the negative feeling. One way to test the rationality of a belief is to ask these questions:
- Is my belief logical?
- Is it harmful to me?
- Is it productive – where is this belief getting me?
- Do I have evidence that my belief is rational?
- Is my belief practical?
- Decide what your counterattacking rational belief will be the next time you feel the negative emotion. A counterattacking rational belief will be balanced. (Click here for the twelve irrational beliefs identified by Dr. Ellis.)