“I deeply and completely accept myself”
What happens in you when you say this phrase? People who have done a lot of EFT can glibly let these words roll off our tongues without a second thought, and go right on to the next “Even though…” statement. But as a practitioner, if I am paying attention, often I find there is a kind of hesitation when someone says these words. It seems like a sort of dullness comes over them, and they are speaking mechanically without inhabiting the words.
Why is it easier to get emotionally involved in describing our problems in the “Even though” statement of the problem, while our attention seems to kind of drift off when we are stating our acceptance for ourselves?
I have heard people say that when they repeat the words over and over in EFT sessions and on their own, eventually they find less resistance to saying it, and it begins to feel more true. So there is value in repeating this statement, even if we may not totally believe it.
This is what EFT is all about – being able to believe ourselves when we say “I love and accept myself.” When someone admits to having a hard time with that set-up phrase I would ask, “What can you say about yourself that is believable to you?” I am willing for them to back off from the standard set up phrase as far as they need to go to find something to say. It may be “I am OK,” or “I am a good person inside.” Even those statements may be too much. I might try “I want to like myself,” or even “I want to want to like myself.”
So many of us grew up thinking, “Nothing I do can be good enough. I must not be good enough.” We probably came from parents who felt that way about themselves. Our grandparents may have had a version of the same belief. In fact, at least in the West, this belief is rampant. The Dalai Lama has expressed surprise at how widespread this self doubt is in our culture. But on the grand scale of things it just doesn’t make sense that we are here to prove to ourselves or anyone else that we are good and worthy.
What if we started from the premise that we are as good as gold already?
In various ways in my EFT sessions, and in myself too, I am always looking for a doorway in to the goodness that I believe is always inside each of us, from the start, even though we don’t experience it on a regular basis. I always find a part of the person who can say something positive about themselves. It may be hidden at first, it may get distorted on the way out, but our goodness is always there in some form.
For me, healing is not always or only about “getting rid” of the pain. It is about learning to develop a state of mind and being that can hold the storm on the surface of the ocean at the same time as it holds the powerful stillness deep down: having both at the same time. Having a choice about where to put our attention. EFT is a great tool for this purpose.
I am remembering one of my favorite stories. It is not a fairy tale, it is a true human tale, and no less magical for that. (which is not to say that fairy tales aren’t true….)
In 1957 in Bangkok, a group of monks from a monastery had to relocate their massive, ten and a half foot tall, 2.5 ton clay Buddha from their temple to a new location to make way for a new highway being built through the city. They used a crane to lift the idol, but it began to crack, and then rain began to fall. The head monk was concerned about damage to the sacred Buddha, and he decided to lower the statue down to the ground and cover it with a large canvas tarp to protect it from the rain.
Later that evening, the monk went to check on the Buddha. He shined a flashlight under the tarp, and noticed a gleam reflected through a crack in the clay. Wondering about what he saw, he got a chisel and hammer, and began to chip away at the clay. The gleam turned out to be gold, and many hours later the monk found himself face to face with an extraordinary, huge, solid gold Buddha.
Historians believe that several hundred years before this, the Burmese army was about to invade Thailand, then called Siam. The monks covered their precious statue with an 8 inch layer of clay to disguise its value. Very likely the Burmese slaughtered all the Siamese monks, and the secret of the statue’s golden essence remained intact until that day in 1957.
We are all like the golden Buddha, in some way.
We are covered with a protective layer, so well covered that perhaps we have forgotten how to remember our true value.
Recently I watched an on-stage EFT session where a highly experienced practitioner was working with a woman whose issue was dissatisfaction with her work, and feeling like she couldn’t be who she really was. (“I can’t accept myself…”) The practitioner got into a daring but convoluted and eventually unworkable procedure that involved the on-stage volunteer becoming her mother as the tapping subject.
Now, the mother was an extremely conservative Christian, who thought that her daughter was totally off track and didn’t approve of her life choices. The practitioner was trying to convince the woman’s mother, through the tapping, to give up her long-held Christian beliefs that were making her see her daughter in a certain critical way. His intention was good, in that he wanted the mother to see how she was losing the connection with her daughter by holding so tightly to her religious beliefs that she saw the daughter thwarting. This kept the daughter from just accepting herself as she was.
I couldn’t help wondering about the benefit of trying to talk someone out of their religion. This mom was very convinced that she was right, for her. In this case it seemed that no amount of specific events tapping was going to make any difference.
People in the daughter’s predicament have been trying for so long to be who other people thought they should be, and at the same time resisting this, that they haven’t given much consideration to who THEY are, what they themselves actually love. Watching this session, I wanted to learn what makes the woman herself happy, when does she feel most herself, how does she know when she is being who she really is?
How could she see her own inner gold?
Years ago when I worked with children around their school and learning issues, I would begin by asking them a question most of them had never thought of before: “What do you like about yourself?” Once in awhile a child would start writing a list right away, but more often I would ask them questions. “What are your parents always saying they like about you?” “What does your best friend like about you? What does your dog like about you?” I would make a substantial list, and read it back to them. I could see the surprise on their faces. “This is me??” they were thinking.
I often use this tactic with adults too, and I get the same surprised look or tone. They start out slowly, because few people in their past had been shining the light on their goodness so they could see it. But one answer will lead to another. The responses become great qualities to weave into the second half of the set-up statement, and into the tapping on the points. Recently, all a woman could think of was : “I am nice to cats.” I turned that into “loves animals,” and she agreed, and we moved on to “I want to help people,” and that led to “I want to share what I have.” (“So… you have a generous heart…” )
Here is the list we ended up with (you can get a sense of where I was expanding her original answer with a question) : draw well, make things, creative, good problem solver, like a challenge, patient, good learner, smart, intelligent, aware, interested in so many things, curious, seeking to understand, self-taught, truth seeker, good question asker, want to feel part of the world, find a place where I belong, love deep connection, wonderful laugh, good sense of humor…” There is a lot to like in this woman, and she really saw it for the first time!!
I am always listening to the person’s words for images that will complete the sentence “I can love and accept myself because _______.”
One client began her session by saying, “My heart hurts.” She talked about lack of acknowledgement in her life, her son leaving, panic attacks, not being able to express who she really is. She was actually vehement about not accepting her self in that moment. Her chest actually felt tight and hunched and constricted.
Instead of going to specific events in this case, I chose to begin tapping directly on the phrase “my heart hurts,” and to experiment to find what she would accept.
Even though my heart hurts, I accept that this is what is happening right now and I want to bring healing to my heart. Even though my heart hurts, and it feels empty and sad and unacknowledged, I accept my heart and I want it to feel better. (I asked her if she could say that easily enough. She could. I would have changed those phrases if she had trouble with them.)
I had asked her what “feeds” her heart? What does she do that is healing and soothing for her heart? As we talked and tapped, two images emerged that turned into powerful healing tools. This woman is a gardener, so that was on her list of heart-nourishing activities. She also thinks of herself as a survivor of her difficult childhood. So when she rather wryly compared herself to the strong pervasive “weed” purslane, I asked her to tell me what she liked about it. She said: “It is beautiful, resilient, abundant, delicious, adaptable. It grows big or tiny according to the space it is in. It is a survivor! Nothing stops it from flowering, not even being uprooted or chopped to bits. It even thrives on disturbed soil.”
This was a ready-made source of wonderful phrases that came right from her own experience! I wove them consistently into our tapping set up phrases and tapping on the points. Some examples:
Even though my heart hurts, and I am having trouble saying that I accept myself, I know that I am like purslane – nothing can stop me from flowering!
Even though my heart hurts, and I am feeling it constricted in my chest, and my body is hunched over trying to protect my hurting heart, I accept my heart and how it feels, and I want it to know that I am strong and a survivor. I know how to thrive on disturbed soil.
As she began to feel better, and was able to say, “I accept myself,” (we were still working on the “deeply and completely” part), she remembered a dream that she had awakened with that very morning. In her dream was a magical sounding being called Hummingbird Lady. She described her as “radiant, moving filmy light, gossamer silk, tinkling bells.” I asked her to imagine becoming Hummingbird Lady – what was it like to BE her? Being Hummingbird Lady was “joyous, twinkly, expressive, sensitive, full of light. She sees the good, the potential, how things CAN be.” When I asked where she felt Hummingbird Lady in her body, not surprisingly, it was in her heart.
So we tapped:
Even though my heart has been hurting, I accept myself anyway, and now I know I can turn to Hummingbird Lady in my heart to see things differently.
Even though I am feeling under-appreciated and unacknowledged, and I can’t express who I really am, I accept myself anyway and I accept how I feel, and I am so glad that I can call on the strength of purslane and my ability to see the good – even in myself!
Even though my heart hurt and I thought I couldn’t be myself in all those situations (notice that I slipped in a past tense here, a suggestion to the unconscious mind), I deeply and completely accept my heart and I choose to find ways to feed and nourish it so it can feed and nourish my life. I am a gardener of my heart.
As we tapped through the points, I invited her to utilize the qualities of purslane and Hummingbird Lady to consider all those events that had been part of the recent panic attacks: her ability to see the way out, find the hope and light in a dark situation, the strength to speak up to my partner, that difficult conversation with my sister, too much coming up.
I wove in suggestions like: “Even though my mother thought there was no way out and no hope, I accept that I may have picked that up from her, and I choose to draw on my own inner strengths to thrive on this disturbed soil. I am good at growing things!”
Even though my father thought the world was a dark place, I accept that that is the way it was for him, and I know that I have inner resources that help me to choose a different response. I am a gardener, gardeners work with light!
By the end of the session this woman ‘s heart felt light and her chest felt open, even when she considered the problem areas in her current life. “She said, “I have spent my life weeding the garden, both the outer one and the inner one. It is in my nature to take what is here and make it better. I can do this.”
Before beginning to tap I try to learn enough about the client’s issues to get an intuitive sense of the pattern, how the problem gets replicated in their life and history. If I don’t get that sense, I am still willing to just jump in and trust that the current will carry me and the tapper through an interesting landscape together, and I trust that we will arrive in beauty.
I am holding the client’s own images of what feels right and good for them, weaving these images into the set up and tapping point phrases.
We are laying down the grooves of new neural pathways. Continually, with imagination, we are morphing the work towards their center of goodness so they have lots of anchors inside to recreate this sense of being-ness for themselves. Now they have seen themselves in all those inner mirrors and they have felt themselves literally embodying those feelings and those behaviors. They know what a true guiding YES feels like for them.
The bottom line for me as a practitioner is to be open and trusting, and follow the road signs – the person’s feelings and the body sensations. I always have their wholeness and goodness in mind. It guides me on that inward journey. This is how I live my own life too, trusting my goodness and watching the road signs. The road sign are always my feelings. If I feel bad, it is the wrong direction…. What is the thought or action that would make me feel better? Simple, but not always so easy!
Throughout the session I am always testing the work that the tapper and I are doing, because I want the results to feel good, right and **above all** generative in his or her heart.
This is what “I deeply and completely accept myself” means to me. It is a profound statement that rests in the heart of all life.
With my love and blessings,