The power of self-acceptance

September 30, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Posted in All in a day's work | 2 Comments

Here’s an article that I just wrote for a Buddhist magazine For You… since no one else in my centre seems to have the time to write and I am the i/c, might as well share some of my thoughts, and hopefully they will be useful to some readers. Your responses are welcome!

The Power of Self Acceptance

 

How many of us can say “I deeply and completely accept myself” and mean it from the bottom of our hearts?

 

If you can, I sincerely congratulate you and I believe that you are leading a happy life, one that brings joy to yourself and others around you. 

 

But the majority of us would not be able to say and mean it, including myself. Try it. Say that sentence in your head, and be aware of the thoughts or feelings that arise in response. Go ahead!

 

What response did you get?

 

For some, it may be a cynical “Yeah right!”; for some, it may be a “Yes I think I do, except that…”

 

For some, the moment you say that sentence in your mind, the inner critic inside you might immediately cry in outrage, “How can you even say such a thing? You’re stupid and worthless and unlovable…”, and continue with a super duper long list of your flaws and failings.

 

The opposite of self-acceptance is self-rejection, and that forms the basis of all of our problems, and yes, I do mean ALL of our problems, including the fact that your child is misbehaving, your boss is too demanding, and your spouse just doesn’t care.

 

That may not make a lot of sense to some of us. You may wonder, “What has my inability to accept myself deeply and completely has to do with the people and situations in my life that are causing me distress?”

 

Imagine that each of us sits on a boat that floats down the river. Like any normal river, it has dangerous curves and is sometimes filled with rocks that make the course more challenging. However, if our boat is sturdy and strong, it will guide us down the river, and we will have a safe journey, even an enjoyable one, since we can relax enough in the security of our boat to enjoy the scenery.

 

We cannot control the river of life, though we can choose the course that we wish to take – and every course has its own set of obstacles. What we can do is to build ourselves a sturdy boat, to keep ourselves afloat. Yet, every part of us that we reject, be it our appearance, emotions, “negative” traits, etc, is like a hole punched into the boat, allowing water to seep in, and making us more vulnerable to the obstacles that we encounter. As the holes increase in size and quantity, it becomes challenging to steer the boat towards our desired direction, and we may even lose faith in our ability to complete the journey.

 

When we are able to accept ourselves, including the parts of us that we perceive as ugly and worthless, warts and all, we have built ourselves a comfortable and strong boat, which brings us down the river without too much effort from us. Even when we encounter rocks and huge waves, our boat keeps us protected, and we can face all dangers, knowing that they will pass eventually, and we will still be safe.

 

Not easy? Of course it isn’t. We live in a society that promotes negative labels and unrealistic ideals that are deemed as “normal”. Parents are taught to ignore or punish their children who are misbehaving, which translates to the child as “If you don’t meet my expectation, I won’t accept you”. Advertisers make it their goal to convince you that you have to buy their product or use their service to become worthy of love and acceptance. It is almost impossible for any of us to make it to adulthood and be able to accept ourselves deeply and completely.

 

Still, it’s never too late to start strengthening the boat you are in. Here are a few ways to do so.

 

Avoid the pirates

As far as possible, reduce your contact with people and situations that cause you to feel bad about yourself. How can anyone strengthen their boat when people around them are constantly inflicting further damage? People who try to damage other people’s boats very often cannot help themselves because they themselves also have damaged boats. Have compassion for them, but also stay away from them as much as you can, until your boat is strong enough to withstand their attempts to damage it.

 

Find the cracks and holes in your boat

Become mindful of your negative self-talk, and start to “repackage” them as, “Even though I am fat/incompetent/stupid (and other negative self-talk), I deeply and completely accept myself.” This is the standard phrase used in Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a natural healing method that is based on acupressure and is both simple and effective. Just saying this phrase by itself can be very powerful, though you may also tap the fleshy side of your palm while saying the phrase, which stimulates your energy system and reinforces the effect.

 

Accepting your flaws does not mean that you no longer need to improve. On the contrary, this gives us even more strength and motivation to change for the better. What is the point of beating ourselves up over our flaws over and over again, only to feel so low that you can’t even see yourself as having the ability to change? Be aware of the cracks and holes, but don’t make it worse by hammering on them!

 

Mend the cracks and holes

Forgive yourself more frequently. If we are able to eavesdrop into another person’s self-talk for one day, we will probably find it ridiculous, even laughable, at the kind of things that he will beat himself up over. Yet, we are doing the same things ourselves, taking all kinds of little events as a confirmation of our unworthiness. Ok, so that didn’t go the way you hoped – that’s life! Oh, so you made a stupid mistake? Congrats for being human! Learn to say, it’s ok, I’m ok and I forgive myself. A boat that is sturdy and strong is more likely to “behave better” than a boat that has been damaged from criticism and judgments.

 

It is not about pretending that we have no flaws. Rather, it is about acknowledging them and loving ourselves in spite of our imperfections. Only man-made diamonds are perfect – and their value is nothing compared to natural diamonds, whose imperfections make them sparkle all the more.

 

Feelings of guilt and shame are rarely what drives us to achieving success and happiness. Usually, they lead to the very opposite – you may do the right thing because of the guilt and shame, but if they are the only motivations involved, chances are you will still feel bad about it in the end.

 

Yet, it is also not about repressing the negative emotions and beliefs that we have about ourselves. Try forgiving yourself, even for having negative emotions and beliefs. As the saying goes, what we resist, persists. My clients and I often find that when the negative emotions and beliefs are acknowledged and accepted, they dissipate by themselves almost like magic.

 

Lay a stronger foundation

Give yourself positive affirmations more frequently. It can be as simple as thanking yourself whenever you are doing a small act of kindness for yourself or others. When we complain of being unappreciated by others, it also means that we have forgotten how to appreciate ourselves. Louise Hay, author of “You Can Heal Your Life”, recommends looking into the mirror everyday and saying “I love myself” as many times as possible. This will definitely feel uncomfortable when you first start, but once the holes and cracks are filled in, you will feel better and better everyday.

 

Seek out good boat owners and boat repairmen

Build up a positive support network which will give you the tools and resources to strengthen your boat. Surround yourself with people who themselves have strong and sturdy boats, and are able to give you love and appreciation. Go for counseling or self-development courses that can help you find the cracks in your boat, and give you the tools to mend them.

 

 

As the nursery song goes:

 

Row row row your boat

Gently down the stream

Merrily merrily merrily merrily

Life is but a dream

 

Indeed, when we travel in a sturdy and strong boat, life does become a dream. What kind of dream? The kind whereby we can accomplish anything we want, because our boat gives us the security and protection we need, and we don’t have to waste any energy worrying about the obstacles that may lie up ahead. The kind whereby events become less substantial, so we can take things less personally, and simply accept whatever comes our way.

 

May you have a wonderful journey!

 

Boat repairs are available at Shan You Counselling Centre, where our counsellors are professionally trained to help you find and mend the cracks in your boat, so that you can have a smoother, more pleasant journey in your river of life. We are located at Blk 5 Upper Boon Keng Road #02-15 Singapore 380005. Please call us at 67419293 for an appointment.

 

 

 

 

 

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Return to normalcy

September 28, 2008 at 11:18 pm | Posted in All about little boy, All in a day's work, Rantings and ravings | 2 Comments

I’m finally back to normal.

In my terms, normal means being able to smile and have fun with pple again, and not getting super paranoid about personal failings and flaws.

That’s one reason why i haven’t been blogging. When i get into my down periods, i would simply withdraw from the world and live in my little hermit shell. Blogging might have done me some good, but there are the occasions whereby blogging abt the negatives makes me feel even more confused and clueless.

Have been tapping, mostly globally cos i’m just not very good at zooming in onto my issues (def shld look into finding an EFT practitioner to work with!), and also resuming my mani chanting, which really helped some. What really helped though was conducting my 3rd run of EFT workshop level I today. I was initially worried that my doldrums would affect the workshop atmosphere, so I made sure to meditate and chant extra long. For some reason i didn’t really feel like tapping, though i did it, albeit infrequently. And of cos, I prayed to Green Tara to guide me throughout.

It must have all worked. Well, the workshop didn’t go as smoothly as my 1st run… that was still my best, and perhaps it was beginners’ luck. Today I rambled at some points, lost track at some points, but overall, it still wasn’t too bad. I loosened up midway through and started having fun, and of cos, when that happens, things just started flowing really well. There were even a few good laughs, and i’m thankful that for the demo on EFT for cravings, I got a total of 4 volunteers with high ratings, and all of them lost their cravings afterwards, even commenting that the potato chips/ferrero rocher chocolate tasted/smelled different after that. Great party trick to use actually… except that you will have a lot of party snacks leftovers!

Nevertheless, I cld prob have been more grounded during today’s workshop. I even forgot the foundational principle of EFT! Wrote it in the reverse, and luckily, had the thick skin to admit my mistake to the participants who laughed forgivingly. But ah well, i deeply and completely accept myself! And at least I sold 5 decks of EFT affirmation cards today which was fantastic!

Guess if i were to continue with my meditation and chanting, and be sure to do a mini meditation just before the workshop started, things can only get better next week. The great thing about conducting EFT workshops is that I get to tap frequently enough to ease whatever anxieties or blockages that would prevent me from presenting the material well. So no matter how nervous or shaky I may feel at the start, which hasn’t been much anyway, things usually get better, esp once we start tapping. Of cos, the other great thing is that EFT on its own is so awesome, that it’s hard to foul things up. It’s always a joy to see the participants looking amazed and delighted with this new tool that they have learnt, for helping themselves and those around them. What a gift it is for me, to have the opportunity to present this gift to others, that can empower them to be their own healer. 🙂

Must say that EFT workshops are right up there on my list of fave things to do. It’s more pleasure than work, and how nice to get paid for it. Ok, have to admit, a while ago i was a little upset that there are 10+ signups for this workshop. I *thought* the turnout will only get better, and on the contrary, the figures dropped from 30 to 22 to 10+.

Then I looked at things in perspective, and i reminded myself that i first started doing EFT workshops for the joy of sharing something good with others. Money/fame/etc was secondary, if at all revelant. Already, it’s a blessing to be able to share with a group of 10+ pple, and there are certainly better economies of scale in doing that, compared to doing one-on-one therapy. I started to feel grateful and excited about the workshop, irregardless of the numbers, and guess what? There were a few last min signups and there were 20 pple in total. Not bad at all!

Of cos, I also have to be honest with myself. Ever since i started reading Harmonic Wealth by James Arthur Ray, who gives some very excellent and down-to-earth insight on various forms of wealth, I also realised that I need to keep developing my workshop material, and continually deliver better stuff, if I wish to attract higher numbers. On hindsight, the 1st EFT Level I was held 1 week after I attended the Journey Intensive with Brandon Bays, and i was still fresh and shiny from all the wonderful healing work that occurred then. The universe must have known that I was ready to share, and indeed i was.

In comparison, while i had more experience by the 2nd and 3rd workshops, I was less enthused and “clean” on the inside… so the numbers dropped accordingly. I am a firm believer of the Law of Attraction, not just in terms of manifestation, but also in terms of the principle that like attracts like. Hence, i take the numbers as an indicator of the quality of service I am offering – that is my instant feedback on how well I am doing, and right now, i can see that I need to keep polishing myself, in order to reach out to even more pple.

Well, I’m setting the intention to attract all the resources and tools that would help me with my polishing, and hopefully by the Holistic Living Fair, I will be shining so brightly that the EFT demos would receive WONDERFUL response. 🙂

Talking abt the Holistic Living Fair, i’m really looking forward to it! It’s on 11 and 12 Oct, and once again, my centre will be paying for the booth, so i get to do EFT demos for free – yeh! This time round it is organised by a new company, and I believe it will be even better than before. Do come down to Fort Canning Centre on those 2 days if you are free…. and bring lots of cash, cos u will def be tempted to try out the alternative/holistic therapies, or buy some stuff. U may check out its website at www.holisticliving.sg.

Mr Gua Gua is away on biz trip and little boy and I are at my mum’s place again. While Mr Gua Gua may be missing us, I must say that staying at my mum’s place is always like a return to singlehood days, where i get to laze ard and get to eat homecooked food, and i can just play with little boy! I’m sure if you ask little boy, he will tell you that Mummy is more fun to be with at Popo’s house! Indeed, i’m more relaxed, more flexible, more ready to laugh and play. Away from responsibilities and household chores and accumulation of STUFF (i.e. junk) back at our place, i certainly find it easier to just enjoy little boy, instead of feeling like i need to nag and lecture every half an hour. It’s a welcome break, cos i know i have been rather grumpy and irritable lately, and one of the reasons for my recent doldrums was that i kept feeling like i’m a bad mother and that little boy is getting tired of me! It’s true… sometimes he would just roll his eyes at me, or give me a frustrated look… oh dear, i thought only teenagers do that!

Sure doesn’t make it better that i am getting many parenting cases lately, and sometimes, while listening to my clients complain about their children’s shocking misbehaviour like staying away from home for days, swearing at the parents, etc, i find myself wondering if i will be in their shoes one day. Geez… i really pray not. Yet, it seems like these parents are good, concerned parents who are pretty emotionally stable, and i really wonder, what’s with the youths these days? For one, the amount of money they are spending can be quite alarming. A teenage client who was addicted to soccer betting told me that his friends can spend at least $50 to $100 in an outing, where they will go arcade or watch movies. I ask him if there is cheaper entertainment ard, and he explained that they already do sports on weekdays, so weekends they want to do different things, and seems like arcade and movies are the main forms of entertainment they have.

I do sympathise with parents these days. What to do when the kids are overspending, and refuse to work, and if you try to limit their allowance, they throw vulgarities at you and threaten not to come back home? Boys’ Homes and Beyond Parenting Control are not solutions either – according to my client, they will tell you frankly that it’s of not much help if the children are not willing to go there, and gee, which youngster would?

Aside from helping my parent clients manage their emotions with EFT, there is not much else I can help them with. It’s easy to say, just let your child make his mistakes and learn from them – that’s life. But even for a bochup parent like me, it would be tough for me to, for example, let little boy starve for half a day, if he refuses to feed himself. So yes, i still feed him, though i just give up if he insists on running abt instead of staying in his chair. Hmm, actually, i go buy him snacks after that.

So is it the parents’ fault? Maybe our society just has too much, that children (and adults) can afford to take things for granted, and parents start to bribe children with the material things. It’s really sad, and almost impossible to reverse once the expectations have been set. So remind me, never to bribe little boy with rewards to be good, instead, using love, stories, and definitely, EFT!

I just attended a workshop on using storytelling to heal children. It’s magical to hear the stories from the trainer, of how she used stories to transform children into children who are more than willing to perform the desired behaviour. It’s true, that logic really doesn’t work for children – it’s more powerful to entrance them with fantasy and magic, using carefully constructed stories. One example was of a girl who was throwing a tantrum because her grandmother wouldn’t push her on the swing until she put on the safety belt. Another woman who attended the storytelling workshop by the same trainer was struck with the inspiration to tell the girl that the swing has a magic lash that would turn her into a princess – and of cos, after that, the girl eagerly put on the safety belt.

But in order for me to do that, i really need to find that part of me who still very much believes in fantasy and magic. I know she exists, just that it can be hard to find her at the times when she is needed! Probably it wld help to start living more like a child… worry less, be more in the present, and just have fun. I tried out the story technique one day with little boy one evening. Earlier on he kicked up a big fuss when i ate one of his raisins, and i meant, a BIG fuss. He was practically inconsolable… *sigh*. Of cos, the more i preached abt sharing, the more agitated he got. During bedtime, i made up a simple story about a big dog with a bone who refused to share it with the little dog. I added some doggy crying, and a few woofs-woofs here and there, and of cos, they ate it together in the end, with some yum-yum sound effects. It’s a cheap shot at story telling and not very magical at all. But after listening to the story, little boy suddenly announced, ian share raisin with Mummy (yes he can speak in whole sentences now!).

Needless to say, i was thrilled that my 1st attempt met with such success! Unfortunately, he’s still not very good at sharing, and i have not managed to get a raisin from him yet. 😛 However, he has been willing to share other foods a few times, so i remain hopeful. 🙂

Anyway, i’m also aware that toddlers are not even supposed to understand the concept of sharing. Sometimes i just get influenced by the other adults who don’t know and insist on teaching the “right” things. Ah well… parenthood does seem like a process of trial and error, and crossing your fingers, hoping that you are not too far off the track. At least that’s how i see it, and i hope that my combination of love and detachment, plus EFT for myself and for him, plus the varied parenting styles from little boy’s other caregivers, will help him to grow up into a well-balanced and responsible fella.

Alrightie.. will stop here for now. Do check out my website at www.eftaffirmations.com again if you haven’t done so in the past 2 weeks, cos i have made a few changes last week and would appreciate any constructive criticism. So far i have gotten 1 order, and another pending… well, i’m actually pleased that i’m getting any response at all, and will continue to anticipate for more. 🙂

Post PET workshop and Integrative EFT Centre

September 19, 2008 at 6:53 am | Posted in Manifestations, The journey within | 2 Comments

The workshop was really really gd and it was really really bad.

Gd because Steve Wells is such a fantastic teacher. I actually got a lot of spiritual stuff from these 4 days. Well, one can say that everything can be spiritual, but Steve is wonderful at presenting different perspectives in a balanced way. I learnt many gd stuff about EFT and PET too, as well as learning how to set REAL goals and would definitely be putting them into practice for myself and my clients.

Bad, cos I started off feeling wonderful and ready to get my hands dirty, and by the end, I was anxious, almost miserable and ready to get out. It could be the constant tapping that i did in these 4 days, and as fate would have it, the last day was in NUS, and I found my “old self” coming back. The old self who had the greatest adolescent angst in school (not so much in NUS, but the “school” theme brought it back) and was always afraid of being unpopular, in fact WAS unpopular, blah blah blah. What brought it back in full force was the last meal, where the table topic was “your most embarassing moment”. I was the last one, and seriously, I must have totally blanked out the embarassing moments in my life. At least, I couldn’t remember any embarassing moments which were actually entertaining at the same time. The rest were telling stories about zippers and period stains (that lady was awarded with a barbercued prawn by the only male at the table), and maybe I haven’t recovered from whatever embarassing moments in my life to be able to tell them in a funny way.

So in desperation, i told the table abt a moment that happened way back in P4. In 5 min I was done, and the guy was like, that’s it?

Hmm, i guess for future embarassing moments table conversation, now THAT could be a story to tell… the embarassment of telling a lousy embarassing story.

Anywayz, before attending the workshop, i honestly felt that even if i may not be 100% confident, i was pretty close, and i guess this workshop made me realise that that’s not the case. If it’s not for EFT, i would still be beating myself up over the lunch thingy, and at least now, i am classifying it as “an uncomfortable lunch”, which is far from being something like the end of the world.

For someone who is aspiring to help others, i think this is actually a gd thing, for me to know that there are plenty of things in myself I need to heal. If not for EFT, i would be down in the dumps and thinking stuff like, what, i’m still like this after all this while? Now, it’s all good, and i’m just thinking about the strategy for working on myself. Pretty constructive huh?

In fact, my hands have been getting sweatier and sweatier throughout the workshop – definite signs of anxiety. Question is, what is the anxiety abt, and i honestly am not sure. My hands are a lot of drier now, but when i think about the workshop, even vaguely, the sweaty feeling comes back again. In fact, i also got sweaty palms sometimes when watching the EFT DVDs, and i hope all these means that the tapping is somehow uncovering the underlying anxieties and treating them at the same time. Maybe i should feedback this to Steve, and find out if i’m the only one in his workshops to leave worse than before.

Ultimately, it’s all good, cos i would rather know about my problems than to live in my comfort zone, thinking that i’m good enough to help others. Of cos, this doesn’t stop me from helping others, just that I’m aware that there will be limits and i will need to break through them if I want to be a better helper.

Alrightie, dawn is breaking so I better do the homework that I assigned to myself today. We were all sup to choose the most impt goal and come up with baby steps to accomplish in the next 48 hours. I told my buddy that i will blog about my aspiration of starting an Integrative EFT Centre tonight. Well, it’s actually more like tomorow morning, but since it’s still dark outside, i’ll consider it done.

WILL start an Integrative EFT Centre by 2015, December 12. It’s just a random date, so don’t ask me why. I will be working with a team of Lightworkers, all with the same goal of assisting others in their evolutionary growth, with the use of EFT and other healing modalities, whereby EFT could be the primary or secondary technique. As Steve said, EFT may work for everything, but it may not be the BEST for everything. In my own experience, EFT can be incorporated into almost any therapy, and if you can mix it with another excellent therapy, you can only get better results, so why not? Hence, the idea of Integrative EFT, which Gary may or may not approve of, but doesn’t matter really, cos I think it’s gd anyway. 😛

This will be THE place to go to if you need therapy, or just want to develop your potential further. You can have your pick of therapist, healing modality, AND fees will be priced according to your income, which means services will be made affordable to ALL. I haven’t quite figured out if i actually expect to see the pay slip of everyone who walks in, but most definitely, services WILL be available to all.

This doesn’t mean that the staff will be underpaid. On the contrary, I expect to make 100 K a year, and the rest of the staff will earn anything between 50 K and 100 K a year. Money doesn’t make the world go round, but it does provide you with the resources to be a better helper, and I believe that when you are happy and secure, you are more willing and able to contribute to the world. Thus, my staff will be very well paid, plus they will get lots of intangible benefits, such as 1 month annual leave, for them to go on holidays, take retreats, etc, as well as daily EFT therapy. The latter could be anything from half an hour to 2 hours, which mean I intend to hire 1 or 2 persons just for taking care of the staff. Unless you’re really experienced in this healing business, it can be very easy to take on the negative stuff of others, and I want to ensure that the staff are getting their emotional closets cleared out regularly, so that they don’t dump their own rubbish on the clients. New employees also need to go for at least 2 months of therapy, which will be partially sponsored, to clear out their old emotional stuff.

In addition, staff gets to enjoy monthly mini-retreats, or sponsored to go for spa/massage services, etc. In fact, instead of letting the “top employee of the month” get the perks, the perks will be going to the “bottom employee of the month”, with the idea that the more nurturance a person receives, the higher the quality of his or performance. (Hee… any of you wanna work for me now?)

The facilities itself will be cozy and inviting, and just stepping into the place will make you feel safe to face your inner demons (can’t possibly make it like a spa where all your troubles just seem to fall away… or else what is there to work on?). Everything that makes up the physical environment is selected because they are eco-friendly and natural, free from chemicals and other toxins, and of cos, only organic food and drinks in the pantry!

There will be a lounge room and a meditation room, for staff to relax and get centred in the free time between sessions, and every day will start and end with a group meditation and prayer. At the start of every week, we will come together to report on our emotional state, challenges, plans, etc, so that everyone is in touch with one another and are on the same frequency, whereas the “staff caretakers” can take note of the ones who may be particularly vulnerable that week. Every year, a staff member will  be nominated to get sponsored to go on a family trip, and of cos, it will be such a supportive family environment that everyone will NOT be voting for themselves, but for their colleague that they feel truly deserves to go.

On top of the in-house services, there will also be outreach programs to schools, mental hospitals, prisons, rehab centres, and other places which will benefit from the work we are doing. Staff will also take turns to go for international energy conferences and other related events, to promote awareness of our centre and to bring home learnings which will be shared with everyone.

This Integrative EFT Centre will be so highly successful that marketing is done merely through word-of-mouth, and that is sufficient. Organisations will actually volunteer to give donations, because of the excellent work we are doing, and the centre will expand by 2020, becoming internationally known.

Whew… okie, i think that’s enough manifestation for the day! I really exceeded myself this time… this is the biggest dream i have come up with till date, and isn’t it cool?!

Thanks universe for giving me all the resources i will need for this dream, and i know they are on the way soon!

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