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Albert Ellis quotes and sayings on anxiety, attitude, belief, children, depression, destiny, emotions, failing, feelings, goals, inspirational,overcoming, past, philosophy, probability, psychoanalysis, psychology, regret, responsibility, self esteem etc

78 Albert Ellis Quotes You Must Know

Quick Facts

Also Listed In

Famous As
Psychologist

Born On
27 September 1913 AD

Died On
24 July 2007 AD

Born In
Pittsburgh

Died At Age
93

The great mind behind the development of rational emotive behavior therapy, Dr. Albert Ellis was a leading American psychologist. He was an eminent figure in the field of clinical psychology, philosophy and psychotherapy. Ellis was the pioneer of the cognitive revolutionary paradigm shift in psychotherapy. He was also renowned for formulation and development of cognitive behavioral therapy. According to Psychology Today, his significance in the field of modern psychotherapy had an impact even greater than Sigmund Freud. An aggregative survey of US and Canadian professional psychologist rated Ellis as the second most influential psychotherapist in history (only behind Carl Roger). Besides his extraordinary success in the field of clinical psychology, he also had a great literary career. He published various bestsellers such as ‘Stress Counselling: A Rational Emotive Behaviour Approach’, ‘Alcohol: How to Give It Up’, ‘Be Glad You Did’ and ‘Overcoming Resistance: Rational-Emotive Therapy With Difficult Clients’. His endless list of accolades include Lifetime Distinguished Service Award from the New York State Psychological Association, 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award from Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, "Humanist of the Year" from American Humanist Association and many more. We have collected some of his long lasting quotes from his writings, speeches, interviews and thoughts. Go through these quotes from this iconic psychotherapist highlighting his thoughts and sayings.

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.

- Albert Ellis

There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well . And the world must be easy.

- Albert Ellis

By not caring too much about what people think, I'm able to think for myself and propagate ideas which are very often unpopular. And I succeed with them because, again, I don't care too much what other people think.

- Albert Ellis

There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.

- Albert Ellis

People and things do not upset us. Rather, we upset ourselves by believing that they can upset us.

- Albert Ellis

You have considerable power to construct self-helping thoughts, feelings and actions as well as to construct self-defeating behaviors. You have the ability, if you use it, to choose healthy instead of unhealthy thinking, feeling and acting.

- Albert Ellis

Reality is not so much what happens to us; rather, it is how we think about those events that create the reality we experience. In a very real sense, this means that we each create the reality in which we live.

- Albert Ellis

People don't just get upset. They contribute to their upsetness. They always have the power to think, and to think about their thinking, and to think about thinking about their thinking, which the goddamn dolphin, as far as we know, can't do. Therefore they have much greater ability to change themselves than any other animal has.

- Albert Ellis

When people change their irrational beliefs to undogmatic flexible preferences, they become less disturbed.

- Albert Ellis

You mainly feel the way you think.

- Albert Ellis

It is only in your mind that you have to excel, at anything or everything. Of course, it would be very nice to excel at most things. Indeed, we recommend that you try and do your best. But realistically, you are entitled to do the bare minimum to get by. All your accomplishments are just a bonus, something to enjoy, not requirements. You don't have to do anything to prove that you are worthy of existing.

- Albert Ellis

If you would stop, really stop, damning yourself, others, and unkind conditions, you would find it almost impossible to upset yourself emotionally - about anything. Yes, anything.

- Albert Ellis

Even injustice has it's good points. It gives me the challenge of being as happy as I can in an unfair world.

- Albert Ellis

By honestly acknowledging your past errors, but never damning yourself for them, you can learn to use your past for your own future benefit.

- Albert Ellis

Neurosis is just a high-class word for whining.

- Albert Ellis

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own.

- Albert Ellis

If human emotions largely result from thinking, then one may appreciably control one's feelings by controlling one's thoughts - or by changing the internalized sentences, or self-talk, with which one largely created the feeling in the first place.

- Albert Ellis

Religious creeds encourage some of the craziest kinds of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and favor severe manifestations of neurosis, borderline personality states, and sometimes even psychosis.

- Albert Ellis

Life is indeed difficult, partly because of the real difficulties we must overcome in order to survive, and partly because of our own innate desire to always do better, to overcome new challenges, to self-actualize. Happiness is experienced largely in striving towards a goal, not in having attained things, because our nature is always to want to go on to the next endeavor.

- Albert Ellis

The trouble with most therapy is that it helps you feel better. But you don't get better. You have to back it up with action, action, action.

- Albert Ellis

If people stopped looking on their emotions as ethereal, almost inhuman processes, and realistically viewed them as being largely composed of perceptions, thoughts, evaluations, and internalized sentences, they would find it quite possible to work calmly and concertedly at changing them.

- Albert Ellis

The attitude of unconditional self-acceptance is probably the most important variable in their long-term recovery.

- Albert Ellis

Whatever may be, I am still largely the creator and ruler of my emotional destiny.

- Albert Ellis

The great majority of the things we now make ourselves panicked about are self-created 'dangers' that exist almost entirely in our own imaginations.

- Albert Ellis

To err is human; to forgive people and yourself for poor behavior is to be sensible and realistic.

- Albert Ellis

The art of love... is largely the art of persistence.

- Albert Ellis

The emotionally sound person should be able to take risks, to ask himself what he really would like to do in life, and then to try to do this, even though he has to risk defeat or failure. He should be adventurous (though not necessarily foolhardy); be willing to try almost anything once, just to see how he likes it; and look forward to some breaks in his usual life routines.

- Albert Ellis

You never truly need what you want. That is the main and thoroughgoing key to serenity.

- Albert Ellis

Even when people act nastily to you, don't condemn them or retaliate.

- Albert Ellis

You largely constructed your depression. It wasn't given to you. Therefore, you can deconstruct it.

- Albert Ellis

Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they're alive and human.

- Albert Ellis

In a sense, the religious person must have no real views of his own and it is presumptuous of him, in fact, to have any. In regard to sex-love affairs, to marriage and family relations, to business, to politics, and to virtually everything else that is important in his life, he must try to discover what his god and his clergy would like him to do; and he must primarily do their bidding.

- Albert Ellis

In fact most of what we call anxiety is overconcern about what someone thinks of you.

- Albert Ellis

The goal...is not to change your desires and wishes but to persuade you to stop demanding that you absolutely must have what you wish-from yourself, from others, and from the world. You can by all means keep your wishes, preferences, and desires, but unless you prefer to remain needlessly anxious, not your grandiose demands.

- Albert Ellis

Self-esteem is the greatest sickness known to man or woman because it's conditional.

- Albert Ellis

Failure doesn't have anything to do with your intrinsic value as a person.

- Albert Ellis

Happiness is experienced largely in striving towards a goal, not in having attained things, because our nature is always to want to go on to the next endeavor.

- Albert Ellis

Strong feelings are fine; it's the overreactions that mess us up.

- Albert Ellis

Being assertive does not mean attacking or ignoring others feelings. It means that you are willing to hold up for yourself fairly-without attacking others.

- Albert Ellis

For that again, is what all manner of religion essentially is: childish dependency.

- Albert Ellis

Convince yourself that worrying about many situations will make them worse rather than improve them.

- Albert Ellis

I think the future of psychotherapy and psychology is in the school system. We need to teach every child how to rarely seriously disturb himself or herself and how to overcome disturbance when it occurs.

- Albert Ellis

Stop shoulding on yourself

- Albert Ellis

We can actually put the essence of neurosis in a single word: blaming - or damning.

- Albert Ellis

If the Martians ever find out how human beings think, they'll kill themselves laughing.

- Albert Ellis

Most people would have given up when faced with all the criticism I've received over the years.

- Albert Ellis

Rational beliefs bring us closer to getting good results in the real world.

- Albert Ellis

Needing leads to bleeding - to almost all inevitable suffering.

- Albert Ellis

The more sinful and guilty a person tends to feel, the less chance there is that he will be a happy, healthy, or law-abiding citizen. He will become a compulsive wrong-doer.

- Albert Ellis

Worrying about dying will hardly help you live.

- Albert Ellis

Whining about your own, others', or the world's failings is a main element in what we usually call neurosis.

- Albert Ellis

We can't change the past, so we change how people are thinking, feeling and behaving today.

- Albert Ellis

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.

- Albert Ellis

There's no evidence whatsoever that men are more rational than women. Both sexes seem to be equally irrational.

- Albert Ellis

Eating is always a decision, nobody forces your hand to pick up food and put it into your mouth.

- Albert Ellis

The concept of deservingness for one’s “sins” implies that certain acts are unquestionably under all conditions “sinful.” And this is impossible to prove.

- How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything – Yes, Albert Ellis

Much of what we call emotion is nothing more or less than a certain kind - a biased, prejudiced, or strongly evaluative kind - of thought.

- Rational Psychotherapy and Individual Psychology, Albert Ellis

Freudian therapists do a lot of listening and very little persuading, and that was one of the reasons I eventually gave up being an analyst. You had to be too passive and not speak up, and you couldn't give homework to clients. While I was still an analyst, I wrote several articles criticizing psychoanalysis, but the analysts weren't listening to my objections. So I finally quit psychoanalysis after practicing it for six years.

- Albert Ellis

People have motives and thoughts of which they are unaware.

- Albert Ellis

I had used eclectic therapy and behavior therapy on myself at the age of 19 to get over my fear of public speaking and of approaching young women in public.

- Albert Ellis

Unless, of course, you insist on identifying yourself with the people and things you love; and thereby seriously disturb yourself.

- Albert Ellis

I think it's unfair, but they have the right as fallible, screwed-up humans to be unfair; that's the human condition.

- Albert Ellis

People could rationally decide that prolonged relationships take up too much time and effort and that they'd much rather do other kinds of things. But most people are afraid of rejection.

- Albert Ellis

The individual is taught that there is nothing that he as a total person is to feel ashamed of or self-hating for.

- Albert Ellis

Whenever you avoid alarming situations, you almost always increase your anxiety about them.

- Albert Ellis

We teach people that they upset themselves. We can't change the past, so we change how people are thinking, feeling and behaving today.

- Albert Ellis

By not caring too much about what people think, I'm able to think for myself and propagate ideas which are very often unpopular. And I succeed.

- Albert Ellis

If something is irrational, that means it won't work. It's usually unrealistic.

- Albert Ellis

People got insights into what was bothering them, but they hardly did a damn thing to change.

- Albert Ellis

You have only to exist as you do and to live your life as best you can.

- Albert Ellis

The goal of all life is to have a ball.

- Albert Ellis

Let's suppose somebody abused you sexually. You still had a choice, though not a good one, about what to tell yourself about the abuse.

- Albert Ellis

Most things worth having require some sacrifice, usually more than you expect.

- Albert Ellis

Insight will help you very little.

- How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything – Yes, Albert Ellis

Too many people are unaware that it is not outer events or circumstances that will create happiness; rather, it is our perception of events and of ourselves that will create, or uncreate, positive emotions.

- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Albert Ellis

For many years now I have had the quaint idea that all humans-yes, the whole six billion of them on this planet-are out of their fucking minds.

- The Road To Tolerance: The Philosophy Of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Albert Ellis

Spirit and soul is horseshit of the worst sort. Obviously there are no fairies, no Santa Clauses, no spirits. What there is, is human goals and purposes as noted by sane existentialists. But a lot of transcendentalists are utter screwballs.

- Albert Ellis

My rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) was one of the very few therapies that was originated partly or largely because I wanted to be brief and efficient. And therefore right from the start I was active and directive. I tried to show people some central masturbatory core to their philosophy and to get them to work at changing it cognitively, emotionally and behaviorally.

- Albert Ellis