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78 Albert Ellis Quotes You Must Know

Famous As: Psychologist, Psychotherapist
Born On: September 27, 1913
Died On: July 24, 2007
Born In: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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
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.

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

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
You mainly feel the way you think.

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

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

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

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
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.

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.

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
Neurosis is just a high-class word for whining.

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.

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

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.

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
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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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
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.

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

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

Albert Ellis
Stop shoulding on yourself

Stop shoulding on yourself

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Albert Ellis
Needing leads to bleeding - to almost all inevitable suffering.

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.

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

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

Albert Ellis
Worrying about dying will hardly help you live.

Worrying about dying will hardly help you live.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

People have motives and thoughts of which they are unaware.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Albert Ellis
The goal of all life is to have a ball.

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.

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.

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

Albert Ellis
Insight will help you very little.

Insight will help you very little.

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.

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.

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