In the first Flotsam and Jetsam article I suggested that it was worth tackling the drip, drip, drip of negative thoughts and feelings that float in and out of conciousness. In this article I want to draw some distinctions between the different types of flotsam and jetsam, and what you might be able to do with the bits of junk that come your way using EFT and other techniques. (If you want to know more about EFT download the free manual from this website or visit www.emofree.com.)
Unhelpful memories: All those little recollections of time when things didn’t work out, memories of foul ups and disasters. These often lead to unhelpful feelings and unhelpful thoughts. Taking the sting out of these memories is well worth the effort. One method of dealing with unhelpful memories is described in the Composting for Beginners article.
Unhelpful feelings: Notice that I don’t call them “bad” feelings, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you should or shouldn’t feel certain feelings. Rather than question the morality of them, I attempt to notice the feelings and decide whether they serve me. At it’s simplest I just ask myself whether I want it or not.
Here are some examples:
- Feeling bad when someone else gets the praise.
- Feeling blamed even when you know you did nothing wrong
- Feeling angry at yourself.
Unhelpful thoughts: These are ideas and beliefs about how our world works, what’s possible and what’s not, what’s good and what’s bad. I find these harder to spot than feeling, they turn up in fragments of what we say and think.
Here are some examples:
- I can’t do …..
- I mustn’t …..
- He’s an idiot …. (maybe true, maybe self fulfilling prophecy)
- I’m no good at ….. (ditto)
- I’m careless
Both feelings and beliefs respond well to EFT (and other processes) but there are a couple of problems.
- Noticing them. Often times we’re busy, and this stuff comes and goes in the background of our mind when our attention is mostly elsewhere. It’s easy to miss these bits and pieces.
- It’s unlikely that we can deal with them (if we notice them) right at that moment. “Excuse me Mrs Jones while I do a few rounds on tapping on the thought that you are a pain in the neck!”
Fortunately there’s an easy solution, it’s called a notebook! If you keep a notebook around it’s quite easy to capture the little critters on paper and get back to them later. I don’t have a great memory (that’s a good example of an unhelpful thought) and I find writing them down really helps me deal with them effectively. So make a note somewhere, take them home and deal with them at you’re leisure.
How can you check your unhelpful thoughts and feelings, if you want to use EFT on them. Feelings are quite easy, you can assess how intense they feel on a scale of 0 to 10 and start tapping.
“Even though I’m angry at my brother …..” Tap, tap, tap
How about thoughts? One way of checking the power of the thought is to say it out loud and notice how true it sounds, where 10 is completely true and 0 is completely false, this is the Validity of Cognition or VOC test.
For example, if I check the critter we just found a few moments ago, “I don’t have a great memory” , I get a 10, that is the statement seems/feels completely true! This is a suprise to me, I didn’t think it would be that strong, but I often find that ideas and beliefs that look quite silly written down have quite a charge associated when I say them out loud. Now that I know how strong this is it’s a short step from here to changing it.
Even though I don’t have a great memory, I’m alright, I’m OK …. tap, tap, tap
10 … 8 ….6 … 3 … 1 … 0
I did six rounds of EFT tapping to get from completely true to completely false. Does this mean I now have a great memory? No, I don’t think so, but one of the ideas that get in the way of my memory performace has been removed so I think my chances of having a great memory have gone up.
It’s important to recognise that beliefs condition our experience and enable or limit our behaviour. Carol Look an EFT specialist in the treatment of addictions likes to comment that beliefs are compulsive, if you have a belief, you have to come up with the evidence to prove it (whether that’s good for you or not).
Henry Ford remarked “If you think you can, or you think you can’t. You’re right!“.
This is why it’s worth finding and changing the myriad little nets of beliefs and feelings that limit us, I’m not talking about the big problems in our lives (if we have any) but the little things.
In Gulliver’s Travels, when Gulliver is shipwrecked on Lilliput he wakes up to find that he has been tied to the ground with hundreds of, what are to him, tiny little threads. In spite of their individual insignifcance the total number of them keeps him firmly in his place. I’m advocating snipping away at the apparently insignificant threads that are holding you in place. Each thread you cut gives you a little bit more room to manoeuvre, a little bit more freedom.