Note from Steve Wells: This moving and inspiring article by Louise from the UK outlines her progress on a lifelong journey towards self-acceptance and self-love using tapping. As she explains, it can be difficult to allow yourself to experience love and acceptance from others when all your early life experiences taught you that you are NOT acceptable. The warmth and open-hearted acceptance which is at the core of Provocative Energy Techniques (PET) thus represented at once her greatest fear and a potential pathway out of her prison.
I met the Dalai Lama once. It wasn’t planned. I just happened to rock up at a Buddhist retreat centre in McLeod Ganj, India, just 30 minutes before His Holiness was due to give one of his public audiences.
Before my arrival, I had no idea the Dalai Lama was at his private residence, never mind giving a public audience that very afternoon. It was one of those events where it required so many different things to line up, it would have been pretty difficult to pull it off, even if I had tried to plan it. I had just enough time to sign up for my retreat program, drop off my bag, before joining a group heading off to meet him.
As we waited patiently in line, I did my usual people-watching thing from a distance and watched each person, not as they briefly, yet very personally, met him, but afterwards, as they walked away. Most were radiant with joy. I witnessed: huge smiles, small private knowing smiles, tears of joy, and much laughter.
Just before it was my turn, a guy from our group, who had attended a previous audience, gave me one piece of advice: “Make sure you look into his eyes”. So I did. And I experienced something so profound, something I had not experienced before, and have only experienced once since: an incredible warmth, acceptance and love, far beyond anything I had thought was possible to experience.
As I walked away, instead of radiating joy, as many others had, I burst in tears and sobbed – a proper ugly cry, as popularized by Oprah – no serene joy radiating from me! It was years before I understood why.
The only other time I have experienced that same level of warmth, acceptance and love is when I sat out front with Steve, as I took part in a demo at one of his and David’s PET workshops. I felt terrified, and yet compelled to work with Steve. Afterwards, I was left with both understanding and not fully understanding why - you could say I’m a slow-learner!
And yet, it took another couple of years before I built up the courage to work with Steve one to one again, having recently signed up for his Exclusive Coaching and Mentoring Program. I initially thought I was scared to death of working with him again because he would continue to lampoon/cartoon*, as Dr David Lake describes it, my ‘f**ked-up’ness in all its fine glory – I know you’re going to do that anyway, Steve, and it still scares me on the back of a childhood filled with shame and humiliation, but I know I can completely trust you and how liberating it is.
On signing up to Steve’s program, I have only just realised that it’s not working with Steve I’m afraid of, he’s one of the warmest, most caring guys I’ve met, what I’m actually scared of is: I’m scared to death of being accepted and loved.
There, I’ve said it – something that had been hidden so deep I hadn’t even realised the fear existed until now. And it has hit me like a lightning bolt of pure truth, triggering more sobbing and ugly crying. With being quite a stranger to sobbing (although hard to imagine from my feedback so far!), or even being upset - I’m much more used to going into freeze - I know I’m onto something when I do: the more snot, the bigger the release!
I realise being loved and accepted terrifies me because I don’t know where that leaves me. I don’t know how to be ‘loved’ without having to please, without having to work so hard to earn it, or having to turn myself inside-out and hide my perceived flaws to be mildly acceptable, especially to myself. And I don’t know how to keep ‘hold’ of it, how not to ‘lose’ it, or what to do with my perceived unacceptable-ness if I am accepted.
As much as my memory tried to protect me, I was hated by my parents. I saw it in their eyes. I heard it in their voice. I felt it in the sting of every slap of humiliation, both emotionally and physically. I know it wasn’t really about me. And yet it was. Their anger, and hatred, for whatever was going on for them, and their need to rid themselves of it, was stronger than their ability to love themselves and me. I was not enough for them - of course I wasn’t: they weren’t enough for themselves.
So I took the blame, as every kid does. I made it about me. I held onto the fantasy that if I tried really hard in the vague hope of being able to achieve ‘good enough-ness’, I would become loveable and they in turn would love me.
From my realisation that I’m scared to death of being accepted and loved, a further realisation has hit me: I had to make the couple of people who did try and reach out to me, a couple of wonderful teachers, wrong: wrong in their assessment of me. I had to believe I was not loveable as I was, otherwise it would have left me having to face the fact my parents were incapable of loving me – not that I was un-loveable. And that, I could not have handled.
So I have sobbed again, for not being able to let people in who loved me, and I feel more solid as a result. A shift has taken place. I can’t quite put my finger on what, but it feels significant: not yet stable, but stable enough for it not to be fully undone.
And ‘cos I’m still hooked into being a good girl(!), I’ve been doing my homework and tapping on the perceived downsides, as Carol Look, EFT Master calls them, of what being loved means to me.
I’ve also been using an exercise I learnt from Steve on another one of his and David’s PET workshops, where you write down the two opposing beliefs, such as ‘I am un-loveable’ and ‘I am loveable’, listing (and tapping on) the positives and the downsides you believe each of them currently entails.
But I’m also doing it for selfish reasons, because it feels good – a relief! And for entirely selfless reasons as I know to really love and accept another, I have to be able to love and accept myself.
Part of me can now own that I am loveable at a much deeper level, even if other parts can’t. I also feel guilty for making those, who did accept and love me, wrong, and I feel scared of what believing and feeling I am loveable is going to mean in relation to myself and others. So, I keep ‘flip-flopping’ between the different sides of each paradox, as I tap through and release the next layer.
I’m now at a point where I feel I have come full circle since I first discovered tapping through EFT. I’m right back where I started: ‘Even though I am both loveable and un-loveable, I completely love and accept myself anyway’, but this time with much more depth and understanding.
What do you think? I'm sure Louise would love to read your comments.