One day a friend gave me a book in my hands: The art of not messing up your life ” , written by the Spanish psychologist Rafael Santandreu. I said to myself, “Read this book, you will definitely learn a lot from it.” Thanks to the book, I have improved my therapies and have grown as a person as well.
I started reading the book with a lot of enthusiasm and high expectations and it did not disappoint by a long way, but made a deep impression on me. I soon realized that it was based on the rational-emotive therapy of the famous psychotherapist Albert Ellis, with whom I can identify particularly since I discovered authors like Ellis himself or Auger. But this work went on. It was like a cake on my face that I needed in the moment, and it opened my eyes to many aspects of my life.
The art of not messing up your life is not your typical self-help book that gives you exactly what you want or need to read in order to feel good for a while.
It doesn’t tell you that life is pink, nor that you always have to be 100% optimistic. Nor does it invite you to always look for the positive side or repeat like a parrot that you are wonderful and your life as well.
It is a book whose main intention is to make us strong on an emotional level. It will clean the dirt off your glasses, which is smeared so can recognize that you only distorts reality because it is a subjective reality creates, based on their own irrational views of what a not to be underestimated emotional discomfort causes.
When we speak of irrational views, psychologists refer to subjective assertions, assessments, truths and evaluations that we humans have made about ourselves, others and the world since we were very young.
The lenses in our glasses determine the way in which we interpret events. When the glasses are clean, we have rational views based on mind and reality, accompanied by healthy feelings.
However, when the glasses are dirty, we harbor irrational and wrong views that are inconsistent with reality, that do not help us to achieve our goals and that create great suffering in the person. Nevertheless, they turn into absolute and indisputable truths for the persons concerned and emotional problems arise as a result.
So the book teaches us that it is not the situations that create our emotional suffering, but that it is ourselves who harm ourselves with our irrational views.
We tend to think that there is a direct link between the situation and the emotion, but if there were, everyone would react the same way to a situation and we can prove that they don’t. Therefore the equation is more complicated than “situation leads to emotion”.
This recipe lacks important ingredients: the views and thoughts. What good news! If I can stir up my mind with my thoughts, then I also have the power to feel good. Everything depends on me!
In the book we discover that some of these views are demands on yourself, others, and the world. They are needs that nobody really needs or aggravated ideas of what can happen or what has already happened.
Often when we ask for something, we think in terms of “you should”, obligations and pressure, and we say, “I should always be the perfect father,” “my husband should always treat me well,” or, “it should don’t rain when I’m on vacation. “
When we think we need something in particular to survive, like the approval of others, success, a partner who loves us, our dream job, we create great fear in ourselves. If we never achieve the requirements we feel humiliated and bitter, but if we do achieve everything we will always live in fear of losing it and with that we cannot enjoy it.
We don’t realize that the only thing we really need is to eat and drink. When we have secured this, we can already fully enjoy our life. All other needs are a trap, they’re things we think we need, but that’s just a lie.
When we have “exacerbated” disease, we tend to view everything that happens to us as terrible, unbearable, or catastrophic. Something that would perhaps be regarded as not very bad automatically becomes “terrible” without a process of reflection as an instance in between. That is why we generate corresponding emotions in ourselves, namely fear and depression.
With the art of not messing up our lives, we begin to clean our glasses. For this purification, the book builds on scientific methods and logic.
Using our minds, we can come to the realization that some of our thoughts and beliefs are wrong and unreal, and that we harm and exasperate ourselves by firmly believing in something that is not true.
We cannot accept life’s inevitable adversities with moderation and patience, constantly telling ourselves that what is happening to us is terrible and catastrophic.
If we use our logic well, we will see how our feelings calm down.
The first step would be to determine what happened to your head. Why are you telling yourself that you feel so bad? Why do you need other people’s appreciation? Why is it like a personal failure to work in a job you didn’t study for? What if life has no meaning anymore because you never find a partner again?
Once you’ve recognized your irrational points of view, you have to argue with them and fight them through confrontation and doubt. To do this, you have to show that these ideas are unrealistic. Some of the questions the book suggests are:
- Are there other people happy in the same (or worse) situation?
- Could you achieve interesting goals for yourself or for others even under these adverse circumstances?
- In a universe with an infinite number of planets and stars that are constantly emerging and dying, is there anything really dramatic? Does what happens to me really matter? Is it really bad?
The more arguments we find, the easier it will be for us to build and deepen a rational opinion in order to make it our own.
The key to the success of this method is rooted in persevering every day. To chase, confront and replace the irrational ideas.
Little by little they will transform into your new philosophy of life. It must be emphasized that the negative feelings do not go away completely. This is not possible and also not recommended at all, since all feelings fulfill an important function for our survival.
The ones that go away are the inappropriate, exaggerated, and unhealthy feelings. You can break out of the prison of suffering. You have the key in your hand. Freedom and happiness are guaranteed.