( This article assumes you already know and practice EFT. ) ( Article Preface )
Do You Focus on the Rose or the Thorns?
By Steve DeSanto
Are you feeling disappointed right now? Did somebody NOT live up to your expectations?
(again) Did something fall below your expectations? (again) Did you fail in your attempt to do something?(again) Welcome to life. If you took a survey you could probably fill a book with all the reasons we feel disappointed. Nevertheless, some people seem more likely to feel acute disappointment than others. Maybe it's partly personality type and partly a mix of problems that make the difference between mild or bitter disappointment. We all know people who seem to pride themselves on their negative take on the world. They have the attitude that says:
"What are you so happy about? Even if life were a bed of roses, it wouldn’t
be all that great. Most rose bushes have a lot more thorns than blossoms!"
All of us have reasons why we THINK we're the way we are. A sourpuss tells you about his trials, how his horrible life history couldn't possibly have produced a positive outlook. Yet the perpetually happy person from a similar background may ignore life’s thorns to concentrate on the blossoms and use the following reasoning:
"With all the tragedy, abuse, and junk in my life, I'd go nuts
if I didn't maintain a joyful outlook."
Most of my life I've been a visual artist, a painter. I've always looked at the world through the creative eyes of one who enjoys making something new and different. Everything can be improved. And although I've always been appreciative of the world around me, thanking God for the beauties of nature and taking delight in man-made objects and architecture, I've also always had a critical side. For the past 15 years or more, I thought of my critiquing as an integral part of The Artist's Mind. It made good sense that if I was not disappointed by something, I'd have no desire to change anything or create something new. Authors, too, often say their reason for writing books began because of their disappointment with books they read. I'm sure this sentiment is common in many fields of endeavor. I suspect anybody who does something new and different is driven by disappointment on some level. So, in that respect disappointment can be a positive motivation.
ARE YOU LIVING A LIFE OF SUPREME DISAPPOINTMENT?
( 0 to 10 - How high is your feeling of disappointment intensity today?)
In recent years, my own Attitude of Disappointment began to weigh me down. Even though I continued to love nature and art, my outlook grew more critical so I was feeling disappointed with everything. Nothing lived up to my expectations. Nothing met my standard of excellence. People disappointed me, circumstances and places disappointed me. You name it. The old Peggy Lee song, "Is That All There Is?" could have been my theme song. Yet, I wondered if it was partly because of my age.
THEN ALONG COMES EFT
It took me at least a year of getting great results on a multitude of issues with EFT tapping before it occurred to me I might be able to bring about a major attitude shift regarding disappointment. Could it be, I wondered, as easy as tapping on a simple phrase like:
"Even though I'm disappointed with life, I deeply and completely accept myself?"
Well, it was. Almost. I used several slightly different phrases, addressing a variety of disappointments. In other words, I targeted specific subjects -- disappointment with myself related to specific areas of my life, disappointment with certain people and certain groups, even disappointment with feelings related to individual aspects of circumstances. And, surprise, surprise, it worked! My level of disappointment dropped. I remember formulating EFT setup phrases that emphasized FEELING disappointed.
"Even though I FEEL disappointed about________I deeply and completely accept myself."
I think this emphasis on FEELING may have helped a lot in shifting my outlook. It was, after all, how I FELT about everything that weighed me down. I have not, however, become uncritical. I am not 100% satisfied with everything and everybody. I still do not think everything is "just peachy." But my 0-10 level of disappointment with people, places, and circumstances is down ... way down. What seems to have happened is a shift between "knowing" disappointment intellectually and "feeling" it. I remember reading a quote years ago by the ancient philosopher, Epictitus, which went something like this: "Man is not bothered by things that happen, but rather by his “opinion” of things that happen." This idea made a profound impact.
Shifting how you feel and think about something, your situation, your family, your job, or where you live, does not change your circumstances. But don't make the mistake of NOT being willing to tap because you think your circumstances must change first for your disappointment to clear.
It really is your viewpoint about something that makes all the difference. And you can change that with EFT. And the change can be fast. How fast is a matter of who is tapping and perhaps how many issues you might need to address. One thing to keep in mind is this. I was able to lift my spirits by erasing my intense level of disappointment without antidepressants or any other kind of meds.
Tapping away disappointment can shift the way you respond to everything and everybody. And THAT can change your circumstances over time. So, if you feel like the joy has gone out of your life, or if it's been a long time since you've felt any real joy, perhaps it's time to target your list of reasons you're feeling disappointed day-in and day-out. Write them down and compose EFT phrases to tap on.
I used phrases like these:
1.) "Even though I feel disappointed because_______________, I deeply and completely accept myself.
2.) "Even though I feel disappointed when________________(fill in the blank with a name)
_____________( fill in the 2nd blank with what that person does that upsets you) . . . I
deeply and completely accept myself.
3.) "Even though I always expect _______________(fill in this blank with your expectation) . . . I deeply and completely accept myself.
4.) "Even though I am always disappointed by ______________________, I deeply and
completely accept myself, and I forgive myself for any past emotional issues I may be
holding onto that cause to harbor feelings of resentment and disappointment.
Make up phrases of your own to tap on, and don't forget to use some positive choices as well:
5.) “Even though I always feel disappointed when ____________, I now choose to focus on
positive things like ____________________.
6.) "Even though _____________( name of person) has always disappointed me, I choose to
realize that nobody is perfect and I can now smile and view what _________( person )
does as a humorous character in a TV comedy sketch.
7.) "Even though I have a lifelong habit of feeling disappointed about ___________ (person, place or circumstance), I now choose to think of it as a great joke and just smile."
( or end this phrase with some other positive choice)
Another Related Tapping Consideration
Disappointment is closely linked to unrealistically high expectations. Of course what seems unrealistic to one may not be for somebody else. You may also be expecting too much of yourself because of unnaturally high expectations placed on you by a parent, relative, or
friend. If your 0-10 intensity of disappointment feels high to you, that’s all that matters. It’s bothering you enough that you need to erase it. Compose setup phrases that address your own unnaturally high expectations. Here are some samples:
8.) “Even though I keep setting higher and higher expectations for myself in the area of __________so that I will never feel satisfied about anything I achieve . . . I deeply
and completely accept myself.”
9.) “Even though Dad was never satisfied with anything I did . . .”
10.) “Even though Mom was never satisfied with my weight and always wanted me to stick to a diet . . .
11.) “Even though my grades were never good enough for my parents, . . .”
I could go on and on, but you know what bothers you and what doesn’t. Put your negative issues in phrases and tap away the intensity. Tap it to zero! If other issues pop up, compose new phrases and tap their intensity down to zero, too. This isn’t rocket science.
Many people can’t believe EFT is really as simple as it is. The main rule to keep in mind is: Compose your tapping phrases using whatever negative issues and complaints come to mind, be very specific, and tap the intensity to zero. Every time you relieve and erase the emotional sting associated with a long-standing, upsetting event, person, or circumstance in your life, that’s one more event, person, or circumstance that will no longer bother you.
Remember this: Hanging on to your disappointments will only make you a bitter and unhappy person. Why would you want to stay that way unless you are getting some kind of secondary payoff? Are you?
Note: As I said at the top of the page, this article assumes you already practice EFT. If you’re only familiar with counseling and talk therapy, my suggestion that you can relieve major disappointments fast, and perhaps even erase them, probably sounds ridiculous. After all, some people see counselors or therapists for years and experience little or no change in the way they think and feel.
Clinical psychologist, Roger Callahan, the inventor of Thought Field Therapy (TFT), the forerunner of EFT, tells us in his book, TAPPING THE HEALER WITHIN, (page 6)
that before TFT:
“Like many psychotherapists, I wanted my clients to get better. I wanted to deliver
them from the distress in their lives and help them function normally again. But I felt strongly that, as a profession, modern psychotherapy was letting patients down...they simply weren’t being helped...I certainly wasn’t alone in embracing this bleak perspective of my profession. Some of my fellow psychologists and I often discussed
our dismal track records. We agreed that only a small percentage of our patients ever got better. They felt the same frustrations I did. They conceded that traditional approaches simply didn’t work for most people...”
While we can be disappointed with anybody or any circumstance, the following is a short list of disappointments to get you started. These are only general categories, so you should fill in the blank to get very specific.
Disappointed with Life because ____________________
Disappointed with my job because __________________
Disappointed with my boss because _________________
Disappointed with my profession because _____________
Disappointed with my parents because _______________
Disappointed with my children because _______________
Disappointed with my teacher because _______________
Disappointed with circumstances because _____________
Disappointed with myself because ___________________
Disappointed with my wife because __________________
Disappointed with my husband because _______________
Disappointed with my church because ________________
A good book on this topic is:
“So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore,” by Jake Colsen
Disappointed with God because ________________
( Philip Yancey wrote a great book called, “Disappointment with God.” )
Disappointed with ( the person’s name ) because __________________
Disappointed with __________________________
The more specific you get when composing your setup phrases the more satisfying your
results. Therefore, instead of just tapping on a general phrase like, “Even though I’m disappointed with my husband,” say something like, “Even though I was disappointed John came home late from work yesterday,” ... Or, “Even though I’m disappointed Mary didn’t want to visit my parents last weekend because__________ ...” Or even better -- and this is often The Key to getting lasting relief -- Pick out specific disappointments from “your past” that still upset you and tap their intensity to zero.