Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 44.
There are many ways to define what a personal boundary is. One definition that makes sense to me is that our personal boundaries, among other things, allow us to: say “no”, accept being told “no” in a graceful way, and avoid suffering trying to control the uncontrollable. Today I’ll talk about how to use EFT to improve our ability to gracefully accept when other people say “no” to us.
Just like we have the right to say “no” to other people, other people have the same right to say “no” to us, and that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with either one of us. Now, even if we might know this intellectually, sometimes emotionally it might still hurt when other people say “no” to us. It might make us feel rejected, and it can be hard not to take it personally.
So, how can we use EFT to diminish and release our unpleasant emotional reactions to being told “no”? As we know, with EFT we want to go from the general/global issue, such as “fear of rejection”, “taking things personally”, etcetera, down to specific “movie scene” events. These might be previous memories or future made up scenarios.
When coming up with these specific events, it can be useful to ask ourselves: “Whose ‘rejection’ would I be most triggered by? Am I thinking about a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or someone else?”. Then, as you think about that person, come up with an actual “movie scene” specific event. When I say “movie scene”, I simply mean something we could see or hear with our senses. “Fear of rejection” isn’t a specific event. However, “imagining her reaction when I ask her if she’d like to have dinner with me” is something we can see/hear, and is therefore a specific event / movie scene.
As you come up with a specific event that involves this person saying “no” to you in some shape or form (it might be a past memory or a made up future scenario), ask yourself: “What sensory element within this event seems to be the most emotionally charged?”. It might be the other person’s facial expression, body language, or maybe their tone of voice or something they say. And as you think about that now, what feeling, emotion or sensation do you notice coming up for you now?
An example of a phrase you might use while tapping on the side of the hand point could be: “Even though when I imagine asking her if she’d like to have dinner with me, and I imagine that she responds with “uh, I’m afraid I can’t”, she sounds very uncomfortable and I can tell she doesn’t want to have dinner with me, I feel embarrassed, and I feel this in my throat area, I accept that this is what I’m feeling right now”.
Another important aspect to address is: “What do I believe this (the other person saying “no” to me) means about me and how does that make me feel?”
An example of how we might tap on this would be: “Even though when I imagine asking her if she’d like to have dinner with me, and she responds with “uh, I’m afraid I can’t”, I guess this means I’m so boring she doesn’t want to spend any time with me, and this makes me feel sad, I accept myself anyway”.
If you are tapping on “future events” sometimes you might notice previous memories coming up during or after a tapping round. These are probably connected to why it feels emotionally painful to be told “no”. As you notice these memories coming up, you can make a note of them and decide if you want to work on them right then and there, or at a later time, maybe even with the help of an EFT practitioner.
So, to recap, being able to gracefully accept being told “no” by other people allows us to respect their boundaries and their right to decide what they want to do (and not do) with their time, energy, money, etcetera. Sometimes though, our emotional reactions can get in the way of being able to gracefully accept hearing “no”.
We can use EFT to diminish these emotional reactions by coming up with emotionally charged specific events where we are told “no” by someone else, and tap on how we feel about these events, one aspect at a time. It can be useful to focus on the sensory aspects within these events (what we can see or hear, such as the other person’s facial expression, tone of voice, what they say, etcetera) and also on the meaning we associate to them (“this means I’m unworthy of love”).
If any of this feels like it’s too emotionally intense to work on your own, feel free to enlist the aid of a certified practitioner. I love helping other people (and myself) deal with these issues.
That’s it for today. I hope this article was helpful. 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: How would you use EFT to improve the ability to gracefully hear “no” from other people? Do you have any questions or comments about what I wrote? Is there any particular topic you’d like me to write about? I’d love to know in the comments below.