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author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem
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Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine
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Polish - Polski
- Parent Category: English
Stress is a Scarcity Belief
Dear EFT Community,
Eloisa Ramos makes clear how we learn as children a coping strategy that can be tremendously stressful to us as adults. EFT to the rescue! Visit Eloisa's website.
by Eloisa Ramos
Stress can be another word for “lack of time”. It is a scarcity belief. To clear the stress we need to get to the beliefs that fuel the anxiety and others emotions associated with stress. Here is my personal example of how I discovered this and how I addressed the problem with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).
I leave home, right on time, to drive my son to school. A street block away, I notice he is carrying his cross-country tennis shoes. “Where is your gym bag?” I ask. He said, “I left it in the gym.” Since he was wearing sandals I asked, “Did you bring socks?” “No.” he answered. So, back we go to get his socks. Now I doubt that I can get him to school on time, and I feel a little tightness in my chest. I call this stress, but I try to keep positive anyway, hoping we won’t be late.
As we get close to the school, a truck in front of me signals to turn left, it looks like I have enough room to pass on the right, so I try. But in my hurried state, something happens that my mind can’t explain. The truck appears to be moving closer to my car as I pass, so I am forced to veer further to the right, or so it seems, and go up the sidewalk. The truck turns left and I come off the sidewalk and drive on. Even though we get to school right at the bell, my son will be late anyway because I see him going to the gym to drop off his tennis shoes first! Oh, well, at least I tried.
Coming back from school, I take a deep breath. Ahead, I notice a parked police car just about where I went over the sidewalk. I also see why I ran into the sidewalk. The street narrows! I had plenty of room to pass initially, but just a few feet ahead, it turns to sidewalk. I didn’t notice that before. I feel embarrassed thinking that the policeman probably saw me hit the sidewalk, along with the other parents driving behind me. I also thought about how getting late to school still brings up fear and how deeply entrenched that fear is. Teachers don’t like you being late to school (a deep belief of mine). You get punished for being late, right?
Yes, it is an EFT tapping moment.
I tap on the Karate chop and say, “Even though I feel embarrassed, everyone saw me go over that sidewalk, I deeply and completely accept myself. Even though I feel embarrassed, I made a mistake, I deeply and completely accept myself. Even though I feel embarrassed, I misjudged the sidewalk and made a mistake, I deeply and completely accept myself."
Tapping the EFT Short-cut points beginning at the top of the head I say, “I feel embarrassed, the people behind me saw me, the policeman saw me, I’m afraid they will judge me, I’m afraid they will have noticed my mistake and will judge me by that, I’m afraid I will be judged negatively, I’m afraid my mistake is a reflection of me, I’m embarrassed to have made a mistake.”
Round two at the Karate Chop point I say, “Even though I feel embarrassed and afraid that people will look at what I did and not see me and my true value, I deeply and completely accept myself. Even though I am afraid people will focus on the mistake and think negatively of me, I deeply and completely accept myself. Even though I’m afraid that people will judge my value based on my performance and here I made a mistake I deeply and completely accept myself.”
At the top of the head point I say, “I’m afraid that people will focus on the mistake and not see that it is not me.”
I stop because I recognize a thinking pattern here. My mind has been trained to focus on the negative, the mistake, on “what is wrong or different with this picture”. That is where my attention goes automatically, and even though I can recognize we are all doing the best we can and not get into blaming, I see this tendency of where my mind focuses. For many of us, our attention goes to what is wrong. But I guess this is not unusual, especially if you consider that many of us have mistakes associated with punishment. They seemed to go come together when we look at our childhood experiences.
How did your parents deal with your mistakes as a child?
Perhaps a few of you had parents that saw mistakes as opportunities for learning and did not punish you for it. For many of us, the displeasure in the look on their face or tone in their voice was more than enough punishment. What is a child to do in a world that is so big, new, and unpredictable? There is just no way around making mistakes. What type of strategy can a child make faced with an impossible situation? My strategy was, “I’ll be perfect and make others perfectly happy.” I became the student all teachers dream about. The daughter any parent could be proud of. Perhaps some of you decided the best way to avoid punishment was by hiding mistakes. You hoped perhaps that they wouldn’t find out. That maybe they would believe the story that you gave them, “Judy did it, not me.”
What is a lie to a child who is only trying to save themselves from pain?
We did the best we could.
Now we get to see how these strategies, are just what they are. Coping mechanisms made up by a young child doing the best they can, under the given circumstances. It is time to update these strategies, letting go of the fear that clings to them. So, I look at my life and see that many of my “incidents” take place when I’m in a hurry. My rational mind says, “How about leaving the house 10-15 minutes earlier?” Gees, how about that! Pretty obvious, isn’t it? I do like the idea, but I’m feeling some resistance.
I would have to get my teenage son up earlier, no easy task in my mind, because he would not like it. See, I strive to make others perfectly happy. Anyway, I recognize how much sense it makes to leave earlier, so I have to ask myself, “Why didn’t I think of this before? Why have I been putting myself under stress by cutting my time so short when I leave home?”
I consider these questions and notice that I have made the time at home “my time”, but the time at work or school, not my time. At home I get to decide what I do and when, but not at work or school. So of course, I am going to maximize my time at home and minimize the time that is not mine. “There is not enough time”, this voice in my head says. What I give to work and school, I take away from myself and visa versa. You see how the resistance to leaving home earlier comes from thinking this way. This is a belief in scarcity. There is never enough time, or so it seems.
That is why we are stressed, hurrying to get to places on time.
We have “set it up” that way because every experience we have where we are late, or we are rushing to get somewhere on time only reinforces the belief that “We lack time.” We are attached to this belief and will need to let it go, to solve this problem permanently. We need to step out of this vicious circle where the belief attracts the experience and the experience reinforces the belief. This is the incredible benefit that EFT offers me and you. It gives us a tool to step out of the vicious cycle and see what is really happening. Once we release the emotions that cloud our mind, we can see the reality of the situation more clearly.
The problem is now simple to solve. This is why I love EFT.
Eloisa Ramos, EFTCert-II