Compassionate EFT

Image courtesy of Kirsten Stiles

Image courtesy of Kirsten Stiles

In every painful situation there are two sorts of suffering.

The pain of the circumstances and our resistance to the situation (including our lack of compassion to ourselves).

The pain of the situation is easy to understand.

Our grief, disappointment, anger, guilt, shame and all those other challenging emotions are easy to see and feel.

However, our resistance to the situation and lack of compassion for ourselves can be harder to see, although their effects are just as debilitating.

Although EFT/Tapping makes good use of our body and mind’s natural abilities to quickly soothe painful emotional states, we can easily be caught up in self-criticism and judgement of ourselves for having the problem in the first place. We may be so used to this self criticism that we barely notice it.

When we are with someone else who is suffering we may feel very accepting and compassionate of them and their distress and have a strong wish to ease their pain.

However, when we have a problem or experience some distress, we might not feel quite so accepting or compassionate of ourselves as we do of others.

Instead of being kind to ourselves we might think that it is wrong for us to have this problem. We might believe that being in this situation proves that we are bad, pathetic or unacceptable as a human being.

Not only do we suffer the problem we can even feel bad about feeling bad: we are a problem having a problem.

Falling off a bike can hurt in more ways than one

Recently I saw a sad demonstration of how this lack of self-compassion starts. When I was walking the dog one afternoon I saw a young schoolgirl fall off her bike, she landed in a heap, stood up and started to cry.
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EFT Café – How To See The Good In Yourself – Sept 10th, 2014

AppreciateIt’s easy to see the good in others.

The good qualities of the people we admire, or respect, are very easy for us to see and acknowledge.

But, it can be much harder for us to see and acknowledge the good qualities in ourselves.

It seems to be much easier to find qualities to feel bad about rather than aspects of ourselves to feel good about.

Our inbuilt tendency to dwell on the negative means that what we think of as the ‘bad’ pieces of the mosaic of our personality get far more attention than the ‘good’ parts.

It gets even harder if our early experiences led us to believe that to acknowledge the good in ourselves was a sign of unwarranted pride or big headedness. This kind of early life training makes it even harder for us to acknowledge what is good in ourselves, even it is the same quality that we admire so much in others.

In this month’s EFT Café, Andy Hunt will demonstrate how use tapping to achieve a realistic acknowledgement and appreciation of the good in ourselves without becoming a narcissist or a raving egomaniac.

The EFT Cafe is on Wednesday 10th September, 2014 from 7pm to 9pm and costs £10

Tapping Into Our Shadow

Under the light

Image courtesy of sean hobson

A man was walking home late one night when he saw the Mulla Nasrudin searching under a street light on hands and knees for something on the ground. “Mulla, what have you lost?” he asked.“The key to my house,” Nasrudin said.“I’ll help you look,” the man said.Soon, both men were down on their knees, looking for the key.

After a number of minutes, the man asked, “Where exactly did you drop it?”

Nasrudin waved his arm back toward the darkness. “Over there, in my house.”

The first man jumped up. “Then why are you looking for it here?”

“Because there is more light here than inside my house.”

Most people get into EFT/Tapping as a way of tackling the problems or difficulties in their lives. Using the process as a remedial tool to overcome emotional challenges.

It’s a great idea, and it’s why I started to use EFT on a regular basis. In the early years I had a lot of stuff to work with, no shortage of tappable issues

But there’s more to tapping than just fixing problems.

If you just use it to work on the obvious problems you can miss out on the potential of tapping to make profound changes in your life. You can go beyond remedial tapping into using EFT to heal the hidden, wounded parts of ourselves.

In some cases these are the parts of ourselves that we don’t want to think about or admit we have, even to ourselves. These parts, the ones we wish we didn’t have are sometimes described as our shadow.

We probably don’t like to admit that we have not-so-nice parts of ourselves and we may have done a very good job of covering up those responses and feelings to fit in with our families and communities.

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.”
– Carl Jung

Most of us aspire to be happy and good people.

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To Heal And Be Healed For The Common Good

heal (verb) : Old English hælan “cure; save; make whole, sound and well,” from Proto-Germanic hailjan, literally “to make whole”

Healing

Image courtesy of BK

In 2005 I had an odd experience which crystallised my reasons for doing the work that I do.

It’s taken me several years to unpack that experience and I’m still figuring out the implications.

I attended a Spirituality and Therapy workshop with Bill O’Hanlon, three days’ exploration of how we might understand and use spirituality in therapeutic work.

On the last afternoon he invited members of the group to stand up and say a few words about what was important to us about what we had learned and what we would do with the understandings we’d gained.

One by one participants stood up and answered telling the rest of us what they had learned and what they wanted to do next.

In a brief pause between speakers and without any conscious thought, I found myself standing up (a large part of my mind was wondering why I was standing up and what I was going to say) and saying “I don’t really know what this means but I want to heal and be healed for the common good”. I had no idea where that thought came from and was as surprised as anyone else that I’d said it.

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Healing Self Blame Through Tapping

Image courtesy of iandesign

Image courtesy of iandesign

If you burnt the toast this morning as you were making breakfast you could say that you blamed yourself for the mistake.

It’s not such a bad mistake, you would probably get over it by lunch time.

But, what if you always blamed yourself for everything.

That would be a very different experience: you might give yourself a hard time about how stupid you are and how you mess everything up. You might find it quite difficult to be happy.

People who are being blamed for things don’t usually enjoy the experience.

It gets worse. At least if you are blamed for something by someone else you could get away from them for a bit of peace and quiet, but if you are blaming yourself then it’s difficult to escape from it.

A client of mine, let’s call him Chris, had a strong tendency to blame himself.

When I had him say out loud “I blame myself” it registered 9 out of 10 as a true statement.

If you wanted to take care of this issue using standard EFT you might start digging around in your client’s past to find the experiences that lead to the formation of this self-critical attitude. That might take a lot of digging and tapping, but there are other ways to work with these issues, one of them is what I call Identity Reconciliation which is a part of Identity Healing.

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Tapping Into Patience

Patience

Image courtesy of Brett Jordan

Life is like a vast landscape with both soft grass and sharp thorns; impatience rails against the thorns, patience puts on shoes

  • Rick Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain

Life can be challenging.

We all have so many things to do, places to go, people to see and there is not a moment to lose … and then the world gets in the way.

Then we find ourselves in a long slow queue of traffic, or the person we have to talk to is taking an age to get to the point, or we need to finish a task and someone else is dragging their feet.

With so much to do and so many obstacles in our way it’s easy to get impatient; to seethe at the inefficiency of the world and the incompetence of the people around us. While delays are inevitable, seething can be optional.

Patience is the capacity to deal with difficulties, delays and discomforts without becoming aggravated. It acts as an internal shock absorber when things aren’t going according to our plan.

Impatience is a toxic brew of unpleasant feelings, a sense of pressure or urgency and a feeling of not being in control.

It spawns all sorts of unpleasant reactions in us and towards the circumstances, or people, we hold responsible for those situations.

Impatience:

  • can’t stand discomfort
  • is angry and resistant
  • wants relief or satisfaction, and wants it now!
  • focuses  its attention on what is wrong

Patience:

  • is tolerant of physical and emotional discomfort
  • is at ease with the situation
  • has its eye on the wider picture

One way of cultivating patience is to diminish the power of impatience.

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How To Make Progress By Being Intolerant

Sore feet

Image courtesy of Merlin

Imagine setting out for a long, delightful walk in the countryside.

After a few miles of happy wandering you notice that you have a stone in your shoe.

Would you:

A. Stop as soon as you could to take the stone out of your shoe?

B. Keep walking, ignoring or distracting yourself from the discomfort, eventually arriving at your destination with a shredded foot and a shoe full of blood?

I don’t know about you, but I’m voting for option A!

Imagine that you know EFT/tapping, or some other self-help process, that you have used successfully in the past. You set out into your daily life and during the day you notice you have a problem, perhaps:

  • Every time you think of your ex your blood boils.
  • When you get asked to speak in a meeting you feel much too anxious
  • You feel bad about about something you said all those years ago.
  • You can’t stop thinking about the argument you had with your teenager.
  • etc

Would you:

A. Set aside some time and work through the issue using tapping (or something else) until you were able to deal with the situation comfortably and resourcefully.

B. Tolerate the problem, getting used to it over time, until it seemed normal, allowing the stress to wreak subtle havoc on your system.

I’m voting for option A again. How about you?

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