The four toxic thoughts that bring us down — and how to banish them for good – The Sun

ARE you feeling angry or anxious that you are not being respected in certain spheres of your life – perhaps by colleagues, your spouse, friends or even your kids?

If you yearn to be appreciated and find yourself acting in ways you don’t like when you feel undervalued, it could be time to change how you think.

That is what Daniel Fryer, author of The Four Thoughts That F*** You Up, says. He argues that there are four toxic beliefs that make us mess up and feel down.

Daniel says: “If you’re thinking, feeling and acting in ways you don’t like but don’t seem to be able to change, it’s not because of the ‘thing’.

"It’s down to what you tell yourself about the ‘thing’. This is known as rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT).

"Change what you tell yourself and you get to change how you think, feel and act. When you hold on to unhealthy beliefs, your emotions control you.

“When you hold healthy beliefs, you are more in control of your emotions.”

Here, Daniel explains how those four thoughts can be applied to countless aspects of our life, whether it is wanting respect, to be liked, listened to or feeling attractive.

Unhealthy thought no1: 'Everybody must respect me'

HAVING inflexible demands usually takes the form of words such as “must” and “mustn’t” or “should” and “shouldn’t.”

Think of it as a little unbreakable law you have in your head.

For example, you might believe “everybody must respect me”.

In reality, not everyone is going to respect you — and if you have this belief, you are probably going to kick off each and every time you feel disrespected.

We can apply this to everything.

Behind our outbursts, anxieties and depressions, there is always a demand for something.

Healthy solution: 'I don't have to be respected'

INSTEAD, you should state what you would like to happen, while also accepting that it doesn’t HAVE to happen.

For example, tell yourself: “I prefer to be respected but I don’t have to be respected.”

This allows for reality, as not everyone you meet will respect you.

Instead of kicking off when you are not respected (which very rarely earns you respect!), you are more likely to communicate frustrations effectively — or simply let it go, as it is not that big a deal.

Unhealthy thought no2: 'Not being respected is awful'

“DOING a drama” is what I call those times when you might make a mountain out of a molehill.

People who fall into this trap make things worse than they really are — they catastrophise.

For example, they think: “It’s awful not being respected.”

But few things are truly as bad as they seem and you can think of things that are much worse.

Saying something is awful blows it out of proportion and makes you overreact, turning you into a drama queen.

Healthy solution: 'Not being respected is irritating'

USING the REBT technique, gaining some perspective is known as “anti-awfulising”.

You are able to accept you don’t like something but you also know it is not the worst thing that could ever happen to you.

It means you see things as they are without blowing them out of all proportion.

If you like being respected but aren’t being treated that way, you keep some perspective and no one kicks off.

Unhealthy thought no3: 'I can't cope with not being respected'

KNOWN as low frustration tolerance, this is where people say things like, “I can’t cope with this” or: “This is unbearable.”

Someone with this would believe not being respected is intolerable. But you CAN stand it.

No one has died or disappeared in a puff of exasperation simply because they felt disrespected.

Believing you can’t deal with something when you really could is self-defeating.

Healthy solution: 'I can stand not being respected'

HIGH frustration tolerance is when you say to yourself: “I might find it difficult to deal with if you don’t respect me, but I know I can stand that.”

You acknowledge the challenge you face when things don’t go your way while recognising you won’t keel over and die.

This means you won’t be so sensitive in matters of respect.

People who believe they can cope with difficulty are more likely to face up to things than those who don’t.

Unhealthy thought no4: 'I'm worthless if I don't have respect'

THERE are three types of judgmental put-downs: Self-damning, other-damning and thing-damning.

For the first, you would think: “I am nothing if I don’t have respect.”

For the second, you would think: “You are a total *@%$! because you don’t respect me.” For the third, you might say: “My job is useless.”

Self-damning makes you feel bad about yourself. Other-damning makes you feel bad about others. Thing-damning can make you feel rubbish about anything.

Healthy solution: 'We are all worthwhile'



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EVEN if you don’t have respect, you are a worthwhile human being. And so are other people.

Things are also worthwhile. Your job, like most things, will include good bits and bad bits.

People who accept themselves and others unconditionally are more likely to accept their skills and abilities.

  • The Four Thoughts That F*** You Up . . . And How To Fix Them, by Daniel Fryer, is out now (Vermillion, £12.99).

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