photo by Wally Gobetz
I have started using EFT on a big issue. Some days it is really easy for me to tap. Other days I feels so hard to tap because I feel a million miles away from my goal. Am I doing something wrong? Should I be doing something differently?
I hear this all the time from clients. They find it hard to stay focused on an issue when it takes more than one session. It is easy to feel frustrated with tapping when we hear stories of one minute or one session miracles all the time.
There are good reasons why it takes time with many issues, but it can be difficult.
When we are in the middle of an emotion, such as feeling overwhelmed, all we can feel is overwhelmed and we lose track of all the progress we have made on the issue in previous sessions.
Here are a few things to keep in mind that will keep you on track when working on larger issues.
Healing Has Ups And Downs As We Get Better And Better
One of my favorite analogies of healing is of a stretched spring. Imagine a long spring in front of you. It is stretched from the floor to the ceiling at a 45 degree angle. Imagine that it is going from the lower left to the upper right.
If we trace the spring we will be going up and down with each spiral, but as we move along the length of the whole spring we will be moving in an upward direction in the long term.
This is what our healing experience is like. As we are tapping on our issues we are slowly moving up, but there will be daily up and down moments.
The problem comes when we are having a down moment. The problem is not that we are down, but when we are down we are so completely caught in that negative emotion that we lose track of the progress we’re making. We forget all that we achieved on the way to that point.
This doesn’t negate or explain away the negative emotion we are feeling in the moment, but it does give us some perspective. Healing seems more attainable when we have this perspective.
Almost without exception, when I’m working with a client over six weeks I expect that I’ll need to point out that they really have made a great deal of progress, even though they can’t feel it right now.
It Is Easy To Miss Our Progress
Here is a perfect example of one of my clients “Debbie” who didn’t see how much progress she had made.
Here is a little background on what Debbie was dealing with: Debbie’s mom has battled with cancer on and off for years and has been in hospital frequently in the last two years. Debbie’s sister is currently pregnant with twins. Debbie had made a change to who was providing the daily care for her mother and she called her sister to explain the new arrangement.
For some reason as Debbie was explaining the changes her sister started screaming and yelling. Her sister was yelling in such a ferocious way that Debbie couldn’t understand a word she was saying.
Debbie calmly explained she was sorry her sister was so mad at her, but Debbie was happy with the choices she had made. She offered her sister a chance to have a reasonable conversation about what had transpired, but it was not acceptable for her to be spoken to in that way.
Her sister hung up!
It was quite amazing that Debbie had responded so calmly. I know I might not have done so well.
What was even more amazing was her response considering her history. I’d worked with Debbie intermittently over eighteen months. When I first met her she would have flown off the handle if her sister had spoken to her in that way. Then she would have cried. Then she would have called a friend and cried to her friend. Then she would have felt bad for burdening her friend with her issues.
What Debbie understood was that her sister might be over-emotional because of her pregnancy and their mother’s illness. She saw that it might not have anything to do with what she had done, but this was the place her sister was choosing to lash out.
Debbie was able to react in this way because she was much more comfortable in her own skin. Eighteen months ago she would have taken the attack personally. Her fragile self-esteem would have been bruised by the experience. She would have responded in anger (which is the body’s way of protecting itself from an attack).
This is not to say that Debbie shouldn’t protect herself, or that responding in anger is always bad. Instead, in this situation Debbie identified the situation for what it was and realized that she wasn’t IN FACT being attacked but was the chosen recipient for some misguided rage.
The most amazing about the whole instance was that Debbie didn’t even realize she was responding differently than she would have done in the past.
As her sister was yelling at her she didn’t think, “I am choosing not to take this attack personally. I am going to be calm.” She was just calm. It was only when I pointed out to her that she had responded differently that she realized the extent of her own transformation.
Taking A Moment To See Our Transformation
The reason the change was less obvious to Debbie was because she was not making a new choice. Instead, she has transformed how she sees herself. Between the work we had done together and the work she has done on her own, Debbie transformed her understanding of her own worth.
Debbie is not “doing” anything differently. She is “being” someone different. Because she is comfortable in her own skin it is natural for her not to overreact to the attack, because there is no good reason for the attack.
It is just as important for us to recognize this type of transformation as it is to recognize that when we are down in the moment we are still moving upwards over the long haul. When we recognize this sort of transformation it benefits us in two ways. First, we can celebrate that we are doing better than before. Second, it encourages us to progress further.
Debbie’s experience is a perfect example of The Stages Awareness. I encourage you to read that piece to help you see where you are on the path to healing, showing you that you are on the right path and what further steps can be taken.
It is natural and common to be caught up in where we are in this moment.
If you are feeling like you aren’t making progress with an issue take a step back and ask yourself, “In the last few weeks, how far have I come with this issue?”
You will be surprised and feel re-energized to keep working on it.