Being perfect

During one of the EFT Cafe meetings a friend and I were discussing the problem of having to be perfect. ‘I must be perfect’ is quite a common theme and I have a way of dealing with it which I’ll mention at the end of this post. I mentioned to my friend that I’d got the idea from Carl Rogers and I’ve just looked up the quote from Rachel Naomi Remen that prompted the idea.

Years ago, I was invited to a seminar given by Carl Rogers. I had never read his work, but I knew that the seminar, attended by a group of therapists, was about ‘unconditional positive regard’. At the time I was highly sceptical about this idea, but I attended the seminar anyway. I left it transformed.

Roger’s theories arose out of his practice, and his practice was intuitive and natural to him. In the seminar, he tried to analyse what whe was doing for us as he did it. He wanted to give a demonstration of unconditional positive regard in a therapeutic session. One of the therapists volunteered to serve as the subject. As Rogers turned to the volunteer and was about to start the session, he suddenly pulled himself up, turned back to us, and said “I realise there’s something I do before I start a session. I let myself know that I am enough. Not perfect. Perfect wouldn’t be enough. But that I am human, and that is enough. There is nothing that this man can say or do or feel that I can’t feel in myself. I can be with him. I am enough”.

I was stunned by this. It felt as if some old wound in me, some fear of not being good enough, had come to an end. I knew, inside myself that what he had said was absolutely true: I am not perfect, but I am enough.

Rachel Naomi Remen “The Search For Healing” in R Carlson & B Shield ed (1989) “Healers on Healing”

How do I use this when people or I need to be perfect. I tap in the following way.

Even though I have to be perfect and I’m not good enough …..

Without stopping I do the three rounds with the following reminder phrases

  • I have to be perfect ….
  • Perfect is not good enough
  • Good enough is perfect

You may need to experiment with this but I find it unglues the ‘I have to be perfect’ belief quite nicely.

Coincidentaly, many years ago I attended a long training in the Person Centred Approach in which Carl Rogers was one of the trainers on one of our weekend modules. This was just a couple of years before his death. It was kind of strange to be in the company of someone quite so well known, and revered, I have a book he kindly autographed.

Although what I do now looks nothing like Person Centred counselling I have a fondness for the principles of empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard that were the centrepiece of his approach, and a great respect for the man. It’s ironic that it’s taken the practice of EFT & NLP to develop my empathy, and so forth, to a reasonable level. I wonder what he would have made of that?

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