I need to make some very important choices about my future. Is there anything I can do with EFT to help me make the “right” decisions?
photo by Paul Hocksenar
I love this question because often we only think of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) as a tool to help us with issues that already exist, such as dealing with physical pain, memories that still affect us today, and the emotions we feel in this moment. EFT is also a great tool for helping us to clear up issues so we can make better decisions for our future.
I believe there is a part of us that constantly inspires us to become our better selves, a still small voice inside of us that is fully connected in oneness with everything in creation. This still small voice has been given many names throughout time in every culture and every faith.
The problem comes when it’s difficult for us to hear this voice because it’s overwhelmed by a mix of louder worries, anxieties, and past experiences.
You will always have free will to make any choice, but EFT will help you to quiet much of the unhelpful noise of worry, anxiety and past experiences. This way you can hear the still small voice more clearly, inspiring you to be your better self.
There are three basic steps to achieve this.
1) Clear Resistance to Change
I was introduced to the idea of clearing any resistance to change by Maria and Ted Robinson. If we haven’t made a change or a choice in our life, then more than likely there is some resistance to change. Reducing or eliminating that resistance makes sound decisions for the future, and follow-through on those decisions, much easier. (We will get to the specific resistance in the next step.) It is a good idea to begin any EFT tapping session about a future choice like this:
I need to make a decision about my future…Every time I make a choice it means that I’m making a change…Change is scary because change brings different…Different can be scary…There is some part of me that is resisting this change…It is resisting this change because it’s worried the outcome might not be the best for me….I thank this resistance because it is trying to protect me…But this resistance is making it hard for me to make the choice I need to make…The resistance is cluttering my mind so I can’t see clearly…I choose to let go of whatever resistance I have…I choose to know there is a still small voice in me that is going to lead me on the right path…I trust myself to make the right choice when I get clear…I give myself permission to let this resistance go…I give myself permission to trust my own judgment.
2) Clear The Emotions Associated With Making The Choice
Every time we make a choice there are two aspects of the choice that can worry us: the certainty of the outcome, and the magnitude of the choice.
Our level and worry is affected by the combination of these two factors. Typically the higher the level of uncertainty or the greater the magnitude of the choice, the higher our anxiety level is going to be. The lower the level of uncertainty and the smaller the magnitude of the choice, the lower our anxiety level.
Here are a few examples:
- Trying a new style of food we have never had before: If you’re not an adventurous eater, the level on uncertainty could be very high. But you know you will be home in a few hours, so if you don’t like it you won’t starve. Therefore there isn’t a great deal of anxiety about your dinner choice.
- Choosing a major in college: For some reason you have always known you were going to be a teacher. You love sharing your knowledge. You love watching people learn. You really enjoyed the chances you’ve had in the past to teach, even when you had an unreceptive class. By choosing to major in education you are going to be taking very topic-specific classes. If you decided later to change your major none of the classes are likely to be useful. This could put you a year or two behind, costing you time and money. Even though there is a great deal of certainty about the choice, the magnitude of the choice may cause more anxiety.
Every choice we make is going to have aspects of certainty and magnitude associated with them. These characteristics are also going to be very personal. One person might see a choice as being a very big deal (having a large magnitude) and another person will see the same choice as minor (small magnitude).
There are benefits to having varied levels of worry and anxiety. This encourages a cautious approach that helps us avoid completely impulsive or very dangerous choices. These worries and anxieties become a problem when they are the only thing we can hear. By bringing these into balance we are going to be more likely to hear the still small voice and make a better choice.
Each person is going to have a different set of worries, but it might look something like this:
I’m worried I am going to make the wrong choice…I’m afraid I’m going to get stuck with an outcome I don’t like…If I choose the wrong thing it could cost years of my life…If I choose the wrong thing it is going to cost me so much money, money I can’t afford to lose…I’m worried if I make the wrong choice I’ll have to start at the beginning again, and I don’t have the time or energy to do that….I choose to know I am not making a rash decision…I choose to know I have done my research…I choose to know even if I make the wrong choice I’ll learn from it and make a better choice next time…I choose to know even if I make the wrong choice I’ll be able to choose again…I’ve made lots of bad choice in the past that haven’t been the end of the world…I know the reason I’m worried is because part of me is trying to protect me from making a bad choice…I know this part of me is worried because it’s trying to protect me…But it is being over-vigilant. It’s preventing me from growing…I let this worry and anxiety step down…They are not needed right now.
3) Clear The Emotions Associated With Getting The Outcome You Want
We can be of two minds about an outcome. On one level we can see the outcome as a real positive and at the same time see it on another level as a real negative. For example, we might want a promotion at work. On one level this is great because it means a raise and more prestige. On another level it means we have more responsibility and we have more opportunity to make a fool of ourselves.
It is important for us to weigh all the pros and cons of any outcome, in any decision-making process. The problem comes when we can only focus on the negataives, the cons. Even if we can’t name the cons they will affect the choice we make. Whatever part of us knows the cons is going to fill us with limiting beliefs, making it harder for us to make the best choice.
EFT is a great tool for cleaning up these penalties of success. There are two ways we can do this.
First, there will be the cons that we know. These are going to different for every person and every choice, but here is an example of how you might tap on this:
I’m worried that the new job is going to give me too much responsibility…If I have more responsibility I have more chances to screw up again…If I do this right, people are going to expect me to do it right again in the future and I may let them down…My family thinks this is a bad choice because they don’t understand my passion and think I’m wasting my life…If I get what I want it’s going to take more time, and I may have to give up the things I love…I think I want this, but it might not be as great as I thought, and I may be disappointed with the outcome and feel like I’ve wasted my time and money…What are others going to think when they hear this is my dream?
Second there are going to cons that we don’t know. They are emotions that simply interfere with our receiving the inspiration we need to hear. In this case there is a very simple technique we can use to bring these emotions to the surface.
Remember the words we use in EFT are not magic; they are only useful in helping us to stay focused on the issue we are working on. If we are thoroughly focused on our issues, we don’t need words to stay focused, so we don’t need to say any words.
In this case we are dealing with emotions that we can’t necessarily name, but we need to create a situation in which we can feel those emotions intentionally. This can be done in two ways.
The first way is to tune in to others who have walked the path you are considering. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to relax. Once you’re centered and relaxed think of someone who has successfully walked that path. This could be someone you know very well, or it could be a stranger. Start tapping. Just move through the tapping points. As you do this tune into every aspect of this person’s life. See him making the choice. See her living the life. Pay very close attention to everything that comes up in you.
Very common thoughts are:
- They had it so easy. It may be harder for me.
- They have talent I don’t have.
- I’m jealous of their success.
- They make it look so easy.
- They didn’t have the obstacles to get there that I’ve had.
As long as you’re thinking about the life you think you want, with all of its pros and cons, you will be clearing resistance and interfering anxieties and experiences. If you can identify sources of resistance, you can tap directly on that, but even if you don’t, you will be clearing out the noise that is making your decision difficult.
The second way you can do this type of cleaning is to go through the exact same process, but this time see yourself living the choice. See yourself making the choice. See how you feel making the choice. See how you feel while living the outcomes of your choice. See how the people in your life react to the choice you’ve made. Hear what they say. Read their minds. Make sure you see it working out in the best way possible.
As you do this it’s very likely you’ll have these types of thoughts:
- I could never really do that.
- People are going to think I’m a jerk because I’m doing what I want.
- People may think I think I’m better than they are.
- People are going to be jealous of me.
- I’m not talented enough to do that.
- I’m going to look so foolish when I fail.
Again, as you are able to name specific fear, anxieties, and limiting beliefs, you can tap on them directly. But as long as you are feeling the emotion, even if you can’t name it, and your tapping will clean up the noise that is making your decision difficult.
Frequently, the roots of our fears and anxieties about making big changes in our lives are very deep. I would recommend that you do this every day for several days. You might even want to continue right up to the moment you make the choice. This will ensure that you deal with every new worry or anxiety that might arise, as you get closer to the decision.
Over time if you do this you will find that there is less and less noise in the decision-making process. Instead over time there is going to ever-increasing clarity. Are you going to get to the point where every choice you need to make is obvious? Probably not, but the more noise you clear out the more likely you are going to hear the voice of inspiration. As you hear and follow this voice of inspiration you will end up almost effortlessly in the place you need to be.