By Dr. Patricia Carrington
I find that even very experienced EFT’ers often fail to use EFT to change the basic ways they view life. This is probably because most of us have difficulty seeing the forest for the trees. We can recognize the details of our lives and we know how we respond to them, but we can be quite unaware of the underlying assumptions about life and people that are actually running our lives.
An important extension of EFT is to address the hidden underlying assumptions in our lives and change them in ways that can serve us better.
An example of this might be a person who believes that he or she shouldn’t make others around them “feel uncomfortable”, or pained, or upset because they are more successful than this other person in some area. This is a common erroneous belief that can all too easily feel as though it were a fundamental truth, although it is actually only one way of perceiving the reactions of others to one’s own success.
My client “John” is an example of this. He was clearly aware of the difficulty he had in realizing his full potential in his career as a physicist, but somehow the blockages he faced seemed to him to be inevitable. They made sense to him and he had many practical reasons for explaining away his inability to use his true potential.
When he came to me for counseling about this it became evident that John’s underlying belief (which he had thought was the only “reality”) was a conviction that if he advanced further than his present plateau in his career he would deeply distress others who were important to him, particularly members of his own family, and most importantly, his father who was a distinguished physicist in his own right. It was therefore extremely important for John to use EFT to address this underlying assumption.
Since he initially didn’t think there was any point in tapping on such an established “fact of life” as this belief, we commenced by softening the edges of the issue and as Gary Craig puts it “sneaking up on the problem”.
I suggested to John that he start by using the EFT statement:
“Even though I may hurt my Dad if I surpass him as a physicist, I choose to see this possibility from a new perspective.”
This EFT Choice was not asking too big of a jump for John with respect to his belief system. It just suggested that he begin to see the situation from a “new perspective”.
After several rounds of tapping with this EFT statement, John said, “Actually, I’m wondering why my family should be so upset if a family member distinguishes himself …this never occurred to me before.” John was already beginning to change his perspective. He was now questioning his assumptions about academic success and its possible effects on his family members.
He then went on to use EFT for various aspects of his belief:
“Even though I’m afraid that Dad will be threatened if I succeed in areas where he hasn’t done as well, I choose to see that there are other possible outcomes from my success.” After a round of tapping on this statement, he commented, “Of course he might want to boast about me to his friends, he always does like to boast about things, so I guess it might be a mixed bag for him.”
John continued to tap on this aspect of his problem and then came up with this EFT statement,
“Even though Dad might be upset by my promotion, I choose to let him handle his own problems about this.”
Tapping on this brought John to a place where he no longer felt he had to be responsible for his father’s reactions to his achievements. At this point I suggested that he might want to return to the first statement he had tapped on, “Even though I may hurt my Dad if I surpass him as a physicist, I choose to see this possibility from a new perspective.” and tap on that again. I have found that returning to a former EFT statement as a person advances through an EFT session is often very useful –– what couldn’t be handled easily before can often be productively tapped on when essential blockages have been cleared out of the way. I guessed that John might be ready to formally shift his perspective now, something that would have been too threatening for him before.
In fact, when he tapped on his original statement again, he now began to see many different possibilities in terms of his family’s reactions and we were then able to help him generalize this new perspective to other areas of his life. He began to feel much less responsible for other people’s (his colleagues’ etc.) reactions to his own success, and thus more able to focus on his own goals.
My point is that EFT can be used brilliantly to change your deep-seated attitudes towards life and even your most entrenched beliefs, provided you realize that most attitudes you have held for any length of time are probably embedded deep within your psyche. They may even have been there since early childhood. Therefore, it may take quite a bit of patience and persistence to change them.
I suggest that you begin, as I did here with John, by first addressing the resistance to changing the attitude. If you know you fear changing it, or despair over changing it, or whatever your reaction may be to changing it, when you tap on that resistance you are preparing yourself to work on the attitude itself, and your EFT work will go much faster.
EFT Master, Dr. Patricia Carrington