PJ Media

How to Make Yourself Happy and Less Disturbable

I was talking with a href=”http://althouse.blogspot.com/2007/03/its-me-and-glenn-reynolds.html”Ann Althouse /aon a href=”http://bloggingheads.tv/video.php?id=219cid=1127″Bloggingheads.tv /a about learning to accept rejection as part of life, which is good advice for bloggers! I learned about this “accept rejection” philosophy early in my career from one of psychology’s wise gurus, Albert Ellis, the founder of a href=”http://www.rebt.org/”Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy/a. In a recent short interview in emPsychology Today/em, Ellis talks about self confidence, having a happy existence and learning to accept rejection no matter what. And he should know as his a href=”http://drhelen.blogspot.com/2005/10/for-some-psychologists-being-different.html”own institute tried to oust him/a. Ellis encourages people to “keep moving, moving, moving and to try scary things and not to give a s**t when they are rejected.” He a href=”http://psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=pto-20070227-000002page=4″practices what he preaches /aas he developed the “shame-attacking exercise” when he was 19 years old:br /br /blockquoteLegendary psychologist Albert Ellis pioneered the “shame-attacking exercise” in 1933 at age 19, when he decided to approach every woman who sat down alone on a bench at the New York Botanical Garden. “Thirty walked away immediately,” he told the New York Times. “I talked with the other 100, for the first time in my life, no matter how anxious I was. Nobody vomited and ran away. Nobody called the cops.”br /br /And Ellis learned he wouldn’t die from rejection. Of the first 130 women he went up to, he got only one date, he said, but “with the second 100, I got good and made a few dates”—and, eventually, got to be “one of the best picker-uppers of women in the United States.”/blockquotebr /br /Okay, so this emwas/em 1933, who knows what would happen today–just imagine if one of the ballbusters from Pandagon or Feministing sat down on that bench, but that’s beside the point. The point is, learn to not only accept rejection, but to welcome it, it seems that it is the only way to overcome the irrational belief that the world owes you. It doesn’t. Of course, one should fight injustice, but the irrational belief that the world should be nice to you just because you are you is a sure way to end up disappointed about life. br /br /If you would like to try some of Ellis’s techniques to reduce anxiety and gain a sense of mastery over your social reactions, try reading a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1886230188?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=1886230188″ememHow to Make Yourself Happy and Remarkably Less Disturbable/em./em/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=1886230188″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / At 93, his advice is still ahead of its time.br /br /strongUpdate/strong: Professor Althouse a href=”http://althouse.blogspot.com/2007/03/whats-right-skin-thickness.html”responds to this post /aand makes a common mistake in thinking that taken to the extreme, emnot/em caring about rejection from others could lead one to be a sociopath. Quite the contrary, a sociopath often cares emdeeply/em about what others think about him or her and feels angry if others do not think they are “special” and entitled to greatness. In fact, one of the ways to spot a sociopath in projective testing is by emexcessive/em empathy with others; sociopaths are generally very in tune with what people think and feel–they have to be in order to manipulate them. “If you cannot understand and think like your opponent, how can you put one over on them?” thinks the sociopath. It is all superficial, of course. br /br /Think of the psychopathic and narcissistic traits of a Bill Clinton type–he was very sensitive to what people thought of him–almost to a fault in that he wanted to be loved and admired by everyone, yet lied to the American public about his affair with Lewinsky, and used friends to lie on his behalf. The healthy ability to accept rejection in day to day life that Ellis is referring to has little in common with the sociopathic personality, but rather, is the ability to accept (not like) life’s hardships and other people’s imperfections and leads to greater perseverance, patience, and the ability to get along with others. These traits are exactly the opposite of those displayed by a sociopath.