What do we mean by “Emotional Freedom”?

Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 25.

As I’m sure you know, EFT stands for “Emotional Freedom Techniques”. But what do we mean by “Emotional Freedom”? Is “Emotional Freedom” about never experiencing “negative” emotions? I don’t think so. 

First of all, all emotions serve a purpose and contribute to our humanity. For example, anger can sometimes let us know that our boundary hasn’t been respected, or that we have an unmet need. Perhaps a more accurate term instead of “negative emotions” would be “unpleasant emotions”. But even so, is “Emotional Freedom” something that would allow us to never experience “unpleasant emotions”? No, and actually, I don’t think that would be healthy.

When we use EFT, we are not erasing our ability to feel emotions (whether pleasant or unpleasant). On the contrary, we are expanding our ability to feel them safely, without having to become enmeshed in them or become fully dysregulated. 

I believe that “Emotional Freedom” is about being free from the excessive unpleasant emotions that we experience in a repetitive way. In other words, it’s about breaking free from our negative emotional triggers.

For example, triggers such as: “every time someone looks at me funny, I feel like there’s something wrong with me and I feel ashamed”, “every time I have to speak in public, I feel really, really nervous and my mind goes blank”, or “every time someone gives me feedback on something I could improve, I take it really personally and I get really angry”.

Therefore, EFT is great at helping us release and diminish those excessive and repetitive emotional reactions. 

“Emotional Freedom” is also about being able to accept what we are feeling (even if it’s an unpleasant feeling), and accept ourselves having those feelings.

It’s also about being able to accept and feel peaceful about situations that we cannot control or change, such as certain circumstances that might be beyond our control, or the fact that we cannot control what someone else thinks.

And, finally, “Emotional Freedom” is about not being imprisoned by our “limiting beliefs”, such as “There’s something wrong with me”. If you think about what a belief is, and what separates it from a passing thought, is that a belief is a thought that has an emotional charge attached to it.

It’s that emotional charge that makes it difficult not to think about it and/or not to believe it, even if we might rationally suspect that the belief isn’t true, or we see evidence to the contrary (such as a loved one saying “hey, there’s nothing wrong with you!”). 

So, EFT can help us diminish and release that emotional charge so that the limiting belief can become only a passing thought. One that we can think about without suffering, and without really believing it.

And we do that by applying EFT to some of the memories that led us to believe, for example, that there’s something wrong with us. Those memories are acting like “emotional evidence” of the belief being true, which is why when we are able to diminish and release the emotional charge around those memories, the negative belief usually feels less true as a result. And we gain a more realistic and empowering perspective instead.

So, the more we apply EFT on all the different aspects of our lives that trigger negative emotional reactions and beliefs, the more we’ll increase our “Emotional Freedom”.

Therefore, to recap, I believe that “Emotional Freedom” isn’t about never experiencing negative emotions. It’s about breaking free from our excessive and repetitive emotional reactions or triggers, as well as from our limiting beliefs about ourselves and life in general. And being able to safely experience the full spectrum of our human emotions, without them taking over. 

That’s it for today. I hope this article was helpful to you. My name is Bruno Sade, and I’m a certified EFT practitioner with a mental health background as a clinical psychologist licensed in Argentina. I use EFT as a tool to help people (who speak English or Spanish) change their negative emotional reactions.

And, I’d love to know: Do you agree with this definition of “Emotional Freedom”? Do you have any questions or comments about what I wrote? I’d love to know in the comments below. 

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