A lot of our difficulties with feeling self-acceptance comes from the idea that we don’t quite come up to standard. We’re too fat or too thin, we don’t have enough confidence or patience. If you are going to judge yourself you need to have a standard against which to fail.
Over the years we’ve accumulated a number of standards of behaviour, appearance, thought, speech. All the ways we are supposed to measure up to be a good person, worthy of respect and appreciation. Because we’ve been awash in these standards since an early age we can’t easily spot them. They are just part of our universe. Fortunately there are clues in our experience as to where these standards lie.
You can find them in these kinds of sentences
I’m too … – fat / greedy / lazy / (add your own)
I’m not … enough – clever / tall / rich / (add your own)
Let’s take “I’m too fat” as an example. The key word in this sentence is too. If I say “I’m am fat” it can just be a statement of fact, I’m above my ideal weight and that could cause medical problems and difficulty getting into my current set of clothes.
If I say “I am too fat”, the word too adds a standard (too fat compared to what?) and gives you an opportunity to judge yourself – self judgement is a long way away from self-acceptance. Being too … something is an opportunity to beat yourself up for not meeting a standard which is often out of conciousness and probably aquired during your upbringing.
If you say the sentence with the too in it I suspect you will get an extra ‘charge’ on it. Try this experiment complete this sentence
I am too X [pick something that applies to you. ]
Now say out loud
- I am X
- I am too X
What’s the difference in feeling when you say those sentences?
The flip side of being too … is being not enough. For example: I’m not disciplined is different to I’m not disciplined enough. Disciplined enough compared to what?
What we are after in this part of the process is to neutralise the sense of too … or not enough. We want to neutralise the charge of self-judgement that goes with those statements.
You might be thinking if I don’t feel an attachment or charge on these thoughts, won’t I just run-amok. I am too greedy if I accept how greedy I am won’t I just make a dive for the kitchen and eat myself silly?
My answer to that is: Do you have to feel bad to be good?
Standards are useful as guidelines they are not so useful when they are used as sticks to beat yourself up with. The extra emotional charge on the I’m too … is just that, extra, another opportunity for self judgement for believing that you don’t come up to scratch.
Make a list of I’m too ... statements that apply to you. Get yourself a sheet of paper and just say out loud “I’m too ….’ and write down what comes to mind. When I tried this exercise for the first time I listed more than 20 items.
When you’ve completed the list, work your way through each item. Saying it outloud and scaling the negative charge on that statement from 0-10.
Starting with the sentence with the strongest first start tapping (or use whatever change process you would like to use) to reduce the charge. Using the example I’m too fat.
“Even though I am too fat I accept who I am and how I feel.”
If while you are tapping on that statement memories come to mind, make a note of them so you can deal with them later. Each of these memories probably paid some part in coming to these conclusions. Neutralising them will pay dividends.
If you find yourself getting stuck you can use the the following setup phrases to take a different angles on the issue
- Even though I don’t want to accept that I am too … I accept who I am and how I feel
- Even though I can’t accept that I am too … I accept who I am and how I feel
- Even though I am ashamed that I am too … I accept who I am and how I feel
When you have neutralised the charge on each item, test the result by saying
I accept that I am … [fat]
Take care of any tail-enders that arise.
Use the same process for the ‘I’m not … enoughs.’
Make a list filling in the blanks I’m not …. enough and start repeat the tapping process.