6. Disputing Irrational Beliefs
Let’s look at an example.
Erin notices she is feeling anxious (C - emotional consequence). She notices she is feeling this anxiety while paying her bills (A - activating event).
Because she is anxious, she is paying her bills as quickly as possible and is not balancing her check book as she goes (C - behavioral consequence). She just wants to be done paying her bills because the experience is so unpleasant.
She thinks to herself, "Why bother being on top of budgeting my check book? I'm not going to have any extra money anyway." (C - thought consequence). Erin then examines what underlying irrational belief she may have that's causing these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. She realizes she has the belief that she will never make enough money to live comfortably (iB).
Here's how Erin can dispute (D) that irrational belief and come up with a rational belief. She can ask herself, "is this belief logical, practical, backed by evidence, helpful?"
Well, of course, it isn't. Erin can't predict the future. So, she doesn't know how much money she'll make. She can look at the evidence. When she does that she realizes she just graduated from college and is in a job where she'll get promoted with a higher income if she does well. As you know, thinking about things in absolute terms like "always" and "never" is not helpful or practical.
So, here's a rational belief for Erin: "Although I don't have a large income now, I have the potential to make more money later. And, I can be smarter about how I spend the money I do have so that I feel less strapped."
Now that you've learned your A-B-C-D's, try looking at your own beliefs about money and how they influence your feelings, thoughts, and how you behave around money. When you recognize you are letting an irrational belief influence your behavior in a negative manner, try the disputing method we described. And, try not to judge yourself for having irrational beliefs. We all have them. Recognizing them and working on changing them is what matters.