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Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself and Musturbating

Updated: May 26, 2022

"Shoulding all over yourself" and "musturbating" are both toxic habits that negatively impact mental health, contributing to a wide range of problems--from depression and anxiety to substance use, addiction, and even relationship and marital problems. As an online LGBT counselor, I have taught hundreds of people how to stop allowing these two toxic behaviors to dictate their lives.

The late psychologist Albert Ellis coined the term musturbation to describe our tendency to "contribute to [our] own upsetness" by convincing ourselves of just how intolerable our situation is if it is not exactly as we tell ourselves it "must" be. He said that it tends to be much healthier to think in terms of preferences, rather than "shoulds", "musts", and "have to" statements. He likewise said that people tend to "should all over themselves", further contributing to their own emotional upset.

In coining these two phrases, Dr. Ellis was comedically pointing out that we often allow ourselves to feel worse than we actually need to by convincing ourselves that if we are not absolutely, one-hundred percent as we believe we should and must be, that all hope is somehow lost in life with no possibility whatsoever of any happiness. Of course, this is preposterous and makes no logical sense. Naturally, we might prefer that our circumstances were different, but how does the fact that they aren't preclude us from feeling contentment?

Most of us have some goals we haven't yet reached. We are works-in-progress and ever-evolving. We don't have to be perfect. Our lives don't have to be perfect (and they typically aren't). Things don't always have to go our way. Of course, we would definitely prefer not to have to endure difficult challenges in life, but the presence of those challenges does not mean that we cannot feel content or even fulfilled in life. Ellis talked about the "12 Lies We Tell Ourselves", which are replete with "should" and "must" statements, which do nothing whatsoever but gnaw away at our sense of peace.

Why keep "musturbating" and "shoulding all over yourself" when you can live a happier, healthier life? Let's talk about how I can help you win the war on musturbation.


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