Our belief systems are the driving force behind how we act and feel.
We tend to think that all our emotions are linked to a specific situation or event, meaning that how we feel is a direct result of what we’re seeing or hearing. However, our emotions are affected by the ideas that we hold in our heads. In other words, our emotions, and the thoughts and behaviors that spring from these emotions, are the product of what we believe.
That’s the view of Dr. Albert Ellis, one of the most renowned Psychologists of all time and who you’ve probably never heard of. In a 1982 survey of American and Canadian Psychologists, he was considered to be the second most influential in the field, behind another you also have probably never heard of — Carl Rogers. FYI, Sigmund Freud came in third.
Ellis’ claim to fame is a therapeutic technique known as Rational Emotive Therapy, or RET. The basic idea behind RET is that we do not become emotionally upset because of the events that happen to us, but by how we view these events and what we believe about the world, ourselves, and other people.