What most people know as the “emotional freedom technique” is a process consisting of the body meridians, tapping, and repeating affirmations in order to liberate and balance the energy that causes negative emotions to appear. This is of course a simplistic description, but I have done this purposely because I want to talk to you about a different type of emotional freedom technique, one that will make sense to you even if you are more of a “conventional psychology” type person.
It comes as no surprise that most of us are emotionally crippled. Society not only makes it difficult for men to express certain emotions such as sadness or fear, it also frowns upon women expressing anger, but just because we mask an emotion outwardly doesn’t mean we stop feeling it.
Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, the authors of “emotional intelligence 2.0”, affirm that only 36% of people can identify their emotions accurately as they are happening.
Later, we tend to analyze the situations but not really touch on our feelings, especially if they are considered “negative.”
The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man while he lives—the death of genuine feeling, the death of inspired response, the awareness that makes it possible to feel the pain or the glory of other men in yourself. ~ Norman Cousins (Tweet this)
This emotional taboo is something we learn to inflict on ourselves very early on, and is the cause of many of our mental and physical issues. Most addictions and self destructive behaviors come from desperate attempts to silence feelings we feel we should not be contemplating. The emotional freedom technique I want to offer is precisely the ability to come into contact with our emotions once again—to embrace them as part of who we are and control them in a much healthier manner, rather than denying their existence all together.
Feelings are Guides
It’s very important for us to realize that our emotions are the purest form of communication we have with our innermost desires. If we want to be happy we should not lie to ourselves or sensor our feelings. I am not talking about allowing yourself to go on a rampage and punch that annoying co-worker in the face because you can’t stand him anymore. We don’t have to take action on every emotion.
However we do have to acknowledge them, own them, and through their recognition be better able to understand ourselves. Your emotions indicate to you what you really want. Stripped from societal pressures and the pre-conceived notions that others have of you, it is the most honest compass to a fulfilled and blissful existence. Emotions are a connection to your perfect self, very worthy of attention and utmost respect.
Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you. ~ Roger Ebert (Tweet this)
5 keys to the emotional freedom technique
There are several steps you can take to master this version of the emotional freedom technique. Some might take you longer than others to accomplish, but all of them are worth trying, because they lead to a better and much happier you.
1. Understand that there are no bad emotions
All emotions are valid and necessary, remember the movie “Inside Out?” The message was the same. There is a lot of information you can gain when you allow yourself to feel those “negative emotions.”
It’s certainly healthy to stay positive. I am a big proponent of that notion. But you don’t do it by denying yourself of the negative feelings. If you try to resist them they will linger even longer! So instead do the next step.
Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change. ~ Gretchen Rubin (Tweet this)
2. Let yourself feel to the fullest
Savor every emotion; let them come to you without judgment. Don’t resist them and don’t try to rationalize them. Just feel them. Most times we stop ourselves from feeling. We get scared. We stop the process and try to distract ourselves from the emotions.
Fight that urge. Give your inner guidance the floor and don’t muffle its voice anymore. If you need to, go where you can be alone and allow yourself to fully feel your emotions. The main reason why doing this feels so nerve-wracking is because we are not used to it anymore, but in time, this will allow you real control and no breakdowns.
3. Cry when you feel like crying
Crying is amazingly healthy! And very few of us just let the tears flow without restriction. Also crying is not necessarily attached to negative feelings. One can as easily cry out of laughter, happiness, or even pure pleasure instead of out of sadness or despair. No matter the reason, crying is a release of accumulated energy and you always feel better afterwards. So do it! Have a good cry whenever you want to. It’s one of the bravest things to do.
4. Pay attention to your body
We have been separated from our emotions for so long that when you start applying the emotional freedom technique you might have trouble identifying them. So start paying attention to your body. Each emotion tends to create sensations in different parts of the body, for example for most people fear tends to show in the pit of the stomach while love feels like expansion in the chest. If you get familiar with your body sensations you will be able to identify complex emotions and understand yourself better in each situation.
5. Never fret over the opinions of others
This one is very hard for most people. But believe me when I tell you that with practice it becomes much easier and it brings incredible peace to your life. There is no way you can please everybody and even if you could try pleasing the majority what good would that do if you are not happy? With time, ignoring your emotions in order to make others happy (for example by following a career you don’t enjoy) only creates resentment and it will keep you from reaching your full potential.
You need commitment to utilize this type of the emotional freedom technique. It is certainly not an easy task. It is a real journey to liberating yourself from all the noise and really getting to the bottom of who you are. Hiding our emotions is a very unhealthy habit; it creates resentment, blocks access to the root of the problems, and stimulates self-destructive behavior.
Emotions are very intimate guides; they work like a game of hot-cold to point you in the direction of what you want. They are the most honest and pure feedback you can get, and all of them, including the ones we tend to consider negative are valid and correct.
Allowing yourself to be emotionally free is always the best option for you, both emotionally and physically. It reduces stress and can help lower blood pressure. When you are able to identify your emotions properly, you can take real control of them and avoid actions from a subconscious level. You will start living a more genuine life and that is the best gift you can give to yourself and those who you love.