Have you ever said to yourself “I love and accept myself”? Have you ever put your hand on your heart, closed your eyes and said “I completely and deeply love and accept myself”?
I urge you to try it now.
What is it like to say? Is it easy? Is it difficult? Do you believe it? Does it sound like a load of nonsense?
When we do EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) aka ‘Tapping’, we start off with what is called a set-up statement. The statement (which we say whilst tapping on the side of the hand with fingertips) is where we can acknowledge and tune into ‘the problem’. This could be the intense emotion, the physical sensation, image or memory. The statement usually starts with an “Even though…”, followed by the problem (i.e. this tightness in my chest, or this worry for my daughter) then followed by a positive affirmation. We say this positive affirmation because it makes it a lot easier to say the initial problem. It is of course not compulsory to say the EFT’s ‘default’ affirmation of “I love and accept myself” and the words are agreed upon with the practitioner before the round of tapping commences. I find however, that these words are extremely powerful but can be so very difficult to say for so many people.
When I first came across EFT I looked on YouTube to find many videos of ‘How to do EFT’. They were all very similar in their set-up statements and would use the affirmation “I completely and deeply love and accept myself”. What happened for me though was as soon as I tried to say those words, I just started crying! I had never told myself that I love and accept myself, no-one has ever suggested I say that to myself. Come to think of it, why would they?
After quite a bit of practicing, this did get easier to say and now I have no (well almost no)problems in saying it and I positively (though gently and when appropriate) encourage people to try and say it.
So why can it be so difficult to say? Much of it is probably down to general self-esteem, the way one views themselves or the way they feel others view them. I think for many, as I feel it was for me, we have become conditioned into thinking that self love is not necessarily right. We should not be ‘selfish’ and we should think of others before ourselves. I believe as a child I was very caring and loving to friends, family, animals, and held a belief that their needs came before mine. If I did put myself first it would feel bad or just uncomfortable. Whether this belief came from parents, global consciousness, multimedia, role models, education, genes or just something someone said once…I am unsure, but probably a mixture of them all.
With having children it feels very natural for me to (try) to take care of their needs first. The feeling that their happiness is more important than mine is a fairly common belief for many parents. But listen to the flight attendants during the pre-flight safety demonstration when they say “adults place your own oxygen mask on before helping children”. Quite clearly, if you do not help yourself first, you may not be able to help those you so dearly care for, in fact, it could be life-saving!
It is not easy though…to take care of yourself. We may be aware of the things that can make us feel better and cared for (a nice hot bath, yoga, a walk in the woods, a weekend away with old friends etc) but do we tell ourselves that we care? Can we honestly say that we love ourselves?
And acceptance…how can I accept myself with all my flaws, the way I look, the way I behave, my level of intelligence, these problems I have, my imperfections?
Well that is also not easy! If we are really hating the way we are feeling, the tendency is to fight that feeling and we tend to dislike ourselves more because of the feeling we are experiencing. However, as Carl Rogers so perfectly puts it “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”. Saying out loud “I accept”, or “I intend to accept”, even if we don’t fully believe it, we are bringing an element of acceptance to it and are becoming less at war with ourselves. And, the more and more we can say this to ourselves the easier it is to say. In time, words that we say to ourselves can become true. We can start to believe them more and then that belief can positively influence our daily lives, the people we love, and in dealing with the problems we encounter.
Of course it is not compulsory that these love and acceptance words are used throughout an EFT session. If these words appear deeply wrong to say then they are adjusted to something still positive but with more meaning. A simple “Im trying to do my best” or “Maybe I can begin to accept this” or “Right now, Im okay” are all fine. When I work with children I ask the child what it is they love to do, or what they feel they are really good at, and then use this. For example “Even though…(problem)…I am super great at playing football” or “I love singing along to Adele”.
So with EFT not only are we tapping on acupressure points to reduce emotional intensities in our body but we are also using words that can harness a more loving and self-accepting approach to who we are…that is…our perfect imperfect selves.
I hope that you may try to say these words to yourself and to use them regularly whether you do tapping or not. If you really struggle with these words, EFT sessions could help you to develop a healthier self-esteem in a gentle and safe way.
Thanks for reading and have a beautiful day!
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