So How Rational Really are You?

The Survey of Personal Beliefs is based on psychologist Albert Ellis’ rational emotive therapy method to psychotherapy.

People believe they are nervous, sad, or otherwise unpleasant because of what happens to them, but they are actually bothered by what they say to themselves about what happens to them, according to Ellis.

Consider the following scenario:

you arrive at work one morning and your employer informs you that you have been sacked.

Ellis would go on to say that while it’s unfortunate that you lost your job, it’s not the end of the world. You should take advantage of the opportunity to discover something about yourself that will help you succeed in your next employment.

And, since it’s unlikely that you were truly pleased with the position from which you were dismissed, this experience will allow you to seek out jobs that will be more fulfilling.

According to Ellis, telling yourself that losing your work is a tragedy is irrational, and that in order to feel better, you must embrace more rational, logical ways of thinking.

Ellis identified a number of illogical beliefs that were particularly widespread among sad, troubled people, and Howard Kassinove and Andrew Berger created the Survey of Personal Views to represent these common, irrational beliefs.

Ellis’ list of irrational ideas reflects a few recurrent themes, as you can see from reading the test items. One of them is that in order to feel valuable, we need to be loved and approved of by almost everyone.

The essence of this technique is to articulate these rational statements when you find yourself feeling bad. Ellis’ classic book, A Guide to Rational Living, is an excellent guide to help you in your effort to think more rationally and logically, but the essence of this technique is to articulate these rational statements when you find yourself feeling bad.

So, if you’re feeling down because a coworker said something hurtful about you, remind yourself, “I can’t please everyone.” If no one despised me, I’d be a fairly boring person.” If you’re feeling nervous about a minor issue, tell yourself that it’s out of your hands and that your life will go on as usual regardless of what occurs.

People hold a variety of opinions and beliefs. We’d like to get your thoughts on the following assertions.

Choose the number that best reflects your opinion on each statement below.


1.Dealing with some people can be very unpleasant, but it can never be awful or horrible.
2.When I make a mistake, I often tell myself, “I shouldn’t have done that.”
3.Absolutely, people must obey the law.
4.There is nothing that I “can’t stand.”
5.Being ignored, or being socially awkward at a party, would reduce my sense of self-worth.
6.Some situations in life are truly terrible.
7.In some areas, I absolutely should be more competent.
8.My parents should be reasonable in what they ask of me.
9.There are some things that I just can’t stand.
10.My self-worth is not higher because of my successes in school or on the job.
11.The way some children behave is just awful.
12.I absolutely should not have made certain obvious mistakes in my life.
13.Even if they had promised, and it was important to me, there is no reason why my friends have to do what I want.
14.I can’t deal with it when my friends (or my children) behave immaturely, wildly, or improperly.
15.There are good people and bad people, as can be seen by watching what they do.
16.There are times when awful things happen.
17.There is nothing that I must do in life.
18.Children must eventually learn to live up to their obligations.
19.Sometimes I just can’t tolerate my poor achievement in school or at work.
20.Even when I make serious or costly mistakes, or hurt others, my self-worth does not change.
21.It would be terrible if I could not succeed at pleasing the people I love.
22.I would like to do better at school (or at work) but there is no reason why I absolutely must do better.
23.I believe that people definitely should not behave poorly in public.
24.I just can’t take a lot of pressure and stress.
25.The approval or disapproval of my friends or family does not affect my self-worth.
26.It would be unfortunate, but certainly not terrible, if someone in my family had serious medical problems.
27.I definitely have to do a good job on all things that I decide to do.
28.It’s generally okay for teenagers to act differently by eating pizza for breakfast and leaving clothing and books all over the floor in their room.
29.I can’t stand some of the things that have been done by my friends or members of my family.
30.A person who sins or harms others repeatedly is a “bad person.”
31.It would be awful if someone I loved developed serious mental problems and had to be hospitalized.
32.I have to make absolutely sure that everything is going well in important areas of my life.
33.If it’s important to me, close friends should want to do the favors that I ask of them.
34.I can easily tolerate very unpleasant situations and uncomfortable, awkward interactions with friends.
35.The way others evaluate me (friends, supervisors, teachers) is very important in determining the way I rate myself.
36.It’s terrible when my friends behave poorly and inappropriately in public.
37.I clearly should not make some of the mistakes I make.
38.There is no reason why my family members must act the way I want them to.
39.It’s unbearable when lots and lots of things go wrong.
40.I often rate myself based upon my success at work or school, or upon my social achievements.
41.It would be terrible if I totally failed in school or at work.
42.There is no reason why I should be a better person than I am.
43.There are clearly some things that other people must not do.
44.There are some things about people at work (or in school) that I just can’t stand.
45.Serious emotional or legal problems would lower my sense of self-worth.
46.Even very bad and distasteful situations like failing, or losing a lot of money or a job, are not terrible.
47.There are some good reasons why I must not make errors at school or at work.
48.Absolutely, my friends and family should treat me better than they sometimes do.
49.I can easily accept it when my friends don’t behave the way I expect them to.
50.It is important to teach children that they can become “good boys” and “good girls” by performing well in school and earning the approval of their parents.

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