The Affirmation That Isn’t Affirming

The first part of the EFT technique is called the Set-up Statement. While tapping on the side of the hand (the “karate chop point”), we begin with two simple words: “Even though.” That’s a hint that something’s coming next!: our problem.

“Even though I have this problem… “ EFT is all about solving problems. We focus on what isn’t comfortable in our lives, be it a physical symptom, a painful emotion, or a negative thought (or limiting belief). We aren’t looking for what we want to be in our lives. No, we are deliberately aiming our flashlight on that which is dark, heavy, and unwelcome. The problem.

Then we balance our problem with an affirmation. The original affirmation taught by Gary Craig, EFT’s founder, is “I deeply and completely accept myself.” By coupling our problem with an affirmation that says we accept ourselves even though we have that problem, we are lowering any resistance we might have to letting go of or getting over that problem.

Here is an illustration. When my problem is a pain in my knee, saying, “Even though my knee hurts, I deeply and completely accept myself,” sounds true. I do accept myself even though my knee hurts. There is no resistance to getting over this knee pain problem.

But if I hurt my knee by kicking the dog for which I feel deep regret and shame, I would not accept myself, would I? Then that set-up statement doesn’t sound true. I don’t accept myself even though my knee hurts because I know I hurt my knee in a deplorable manner for which I condemn myself.

And that’s when the customary affirmation isn’t affirming. I cannot say, in this instance, that I accept myself. It just isn’t true. If I say it mechanically because it’s the way EFT is taught, I will wince inside. I will feel a resistance toward the affirmation.

If you have been around EFT awhile, you know that some practitioners use even more affirming affirmations than Gary’s original one. “I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself” is one I hear a lot. Some people even add, “and I forgive myself.” This just isn’t true a lot of the time. At least before we start tapping.

So what do we do? We change the affirmation to something that is true. One phrase I use a lot is, “I want to deeply and completely accept myself.” Some people say, “I’m a good person anyway.” One phrase that isn’t exactly an affirmation but works almost every time is, “That’s where I’m at right now.” (Credit for this goes to my EFT colleague, Jade Barbee.)

So in this case, a better set-up statement would be, “Even though I hurt my knee when I kicked the dog and I feel terrible about this, that’s where I’m at right now.” This statement doesn’t make me wince inside like “I deeply and completely accept myself” would. I don’t resist the affirmation.

So in your EFT practice, if you can’t say, “I deeply and completely accept myself” truthfully, then please change it to a different, believable affirmation. Or simply say, “That’s where I’m at right now.” Then tap, tap, tap the sequence of points and you may come to accept yourself anyway.