Friday, June 10, 2011

I /shouldn't/mustn't/cannot vs. It would be better if I didn't

I have realized that I cannot even begin to estimate how many times I've said to myself, "I should not eat that/I cannot eat that/I must NOT eat that!"

Inevitably, when I, when she DOES eat "that"--> overwhelming guilt results. With that guilt comes immediate self-rating. "I messed up. I am a failure. It's over. I already failed so, I am guilty and it is awful. There is no more hope. I did what I shouldn't. I am worthless. So, it doesn't even matter anymore --> binge!"
After that guilt comes even more guilt after I realize I just binged (again). I must fix it. I should not have done that. Therefore, I have to fix it and it cannot happen again. I have to make up for it. If I mess up again, I will have failed, again. Then, I will feel angry and guilty, again.

Cycle, Cycle, Cycle:
Over-concern (Anxiety). Mustn't (Anxiety). Binge (Catastrophic--Anger). Guilt (Depression). Depression (Guilt). Pressure (Anxiety).
And, repeat...

I am not naive. I imagine I will always have these thoughts/mind battles. I imagine the cycle will often threaten to take over. I imagine there will always be activating events in my life. But, I am certain that, with continued effort and work, I WILL and CAN continue to change what I do with these thoughts, these irrational beliefs.
(And, so can YOU.)

I can change awful to delicious. For example, eating the frozen yogurt sundae I had today was certainly not awful & was delicious! Sure, it would be better if I didn't eat yogurt sundaes daily. However, that does NOT mean that I CANNOT/MUST NOT/SHOULD NOT eat yogurt.

I don't have to believe that eating yogurt sundaes, or anything else for that matter, is a catastrophe. It literally just is what it is. What it is is delicious! It is frozen yogurt; it is my favorite and I ate it. I didn't have to, but, I did. And, on another day, it could be the opposite. I didn't eat it, but, I could have!

[This all comes from a modality of therapy that deals with disputing and changing irrational thoughts produced by some sort of provoking or activating event: Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy...REBT. You will hear more about REBT soon, very soon.]

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