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Irrational Idea 5: Blaming External Causes for Your Unhappiness

Click here for the introductory document in this series.

Irrational Idea #5

“I can’t help it if I’m unhappy; it’s all because of (this situation/this person)!”

Blaming other people or circumstances for unhappiness takes the power out of your hands and leaves you out of control of your own happiness. It is irrational because:

  • With the exceptions of physically harming you or depriving you of tangible items, other people cannot harm you.
  • Statements like: “It hurts me when someone is mean to me” means you allow others to affect your mood.
  • Happiness must come from within. By believing that happiness depends on everything going well, you give the power over your feelings to other people and situations.
    • When you allow your happiness to be controlled by others and situations; you aren’t in control of your feelings. This places too much importance on others—and gives them power over you.
    • Placing conditions on happiness can keep you from enjoying life and “living in the moment.” It creates an inability to see the good in a situation when focusing on what you feel other people should do for you.
    • Blaming others for something you should control (e.g. your feelings) is a product of immaturity.

Rational Idea: “I’m the only one who can make myself happy or unhappy.”

  • When upset, understand when you have allowed a person or situation to make you unhappy.

For a happy and emotionally healthy life, contact CrossRoads for counseling at 317-842-8881 if you are in the Central Indiana area. This series was inspired by and sourced from “A Guide to Rational Living” by Albert Ellis and Robert Harper.