Monday, July 6, 2015

Self Downing: Musterbation

Make certain you don't read that wrong. It is MUSTERBATION. Musterbation is a concept from Albert Ellis and his Rational Emotive Therapy (Now often referred to as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy). It was also explored by one of the early post-Freudian's, Karen Horney,  as the "Tyranny of the Shoulds."

Both refer to core beliefs or constellation of thoughts where we tell ourselves that we "must" and "shoulds" do certain things, and if we don't engage in these activities or perform them according to these "shoulds", we judge ourselves by our self downing appraisals. There is a big difference between wanting to, planing to, and thinking it is a smart idea, than holding these internalized musts which are dogmatic, rigid, and punitive. These musts are not commitments, but internalized voices of shame.

While connected to self downing, these internalized demands on self rather might be thought of as the fuel that ignites our self downing. Let me explain. Perhaps you have learned that you should or must write almost ever day. You have read the research, and have decided you must develop daily writing rituals and practices. Also, perhaps you learned some good accountability methods from reading this blog or elsewhere, and now you tell yourself that you "must" use those tools as well.

So, what happens when (if) you don't engage in these "musts" ? Well, if you hold them as absolutistic imperatives, and you process and perform a well-developed self downing belief system, you will use them as further ammunition to prove that you are not good enough, can't really write as much as you "must", and are not going to thrive. You will become demoralized, anxious and perhaps try to extinguish these difficult feelings and thoughts through avoidance, denial, or compulsive behavior (cookies and ice cream, where art thou'!!??).

Getting the picture? Your unhelpful beliefs are now working to transform some valuable ideas into fuel that stokes the fire of your self downing. This is an other example of why processing the knowledge of good writing productivity is often not enough; you must work to transcend your "stuff" in order to thrive.

If you are resonating with these explorations of self downing, you own it to yourself to do something about it. If you are feeling stuck about what to do, email me. I would be more than glad to provide you with a complementary chat to help you explore your options. No commitment beyond that; I want you to have some options and get what you need. There are many paths to growth and change. Many, but you have to do something.

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