EFT For Emotional Freedom: Breaking the Rules
Breaking the Rules

I got my first computer many years ago. After I assembled it, plugged it in, and played with it for a while, I decided to copy what I'd written onto a floppy disk and discovered that I couldn't.

I panicked - and though thoughts of my sizable investment contributed somewhat to my anxiety, my main source of terror was that a mysterious piece of equipment sat before me, nonworking, and I had no idea why.

I was going to have to call someone. I was going to have to ask for help, and that was the most frightening thing of all, because I had a rule that I could do everything myself.

I didn't call it a rule; I didn't even know that it governed my thoughts and behavior, but the thought of violating it had me as terrified as a strict Christian would be if thoughts of adultery passed through his mind. My own rule was just as rigid.

Rules and Beliefs

Beliefs shape the way we view ourselves and our world, and they limit the kinds of experiences we will allow ourselves to have. I was unwilling to allow myself the experience of being helped (or to experience gratitude).

All beliefs are limiting, but rules are especially so. Where some beliefs carry the weight of "I should/should not," a rule is more accurately expressed as a "must/must not," combined with the strong suggestion that violation will result in punishment.

Some rules are part of being physical. We have a rule that we will have bodies and that we will live by the law of gravity. Like the bones that support our physical bodies, certain rules give structure to our lives.

The problem with rules is not their existence, but with how they come into our lives and how we respond to them.

Unknowing Learning

Years ago, friends who were the parents of a small boy requested that guests avoid the use of certain words in his presence because he added to his vocabulary indiscriminately.

In the same way we acquire many of our rules in our earliest years. We not only absorb the rules our parents deliberately teach us but also absorb their speaking and practice of their own rules. Because we've taken them without thinking about them or questioning them, they become invisible to us.

Thus invisible, they have the power to create great unhappiness in our lives.

My rule of not asking for help created a feeling of helplessness when I was faced with a situation I couldn't solve on my own. A friend of mine discovered a rule that when people didn't call her, it meant that they were rejecting her.

Rules can affect not only our interpretation of others' behavior but what we allow ourselves in terms of happiness, abundance, and health. Do you know anyone who can't sit down and relax until their house is completely clean and tidy? Or someone who feels guilty if one day out of 365 they skip their exercise program?

Do you have any rules about what you must do to have prosperity, i.e., work hard, sacrifice your free time, suffer unhappiness in order to earn the "happiness" of wealth?

Unhappiness is often results from the restrictions of unexamined rules. When you're unhappy, look for the rules that are responsible.

Tapping on the Bones

First, ask yourself some questions. You probably know the situation that's making you unhappy. Say, for example, that you expected a call from a friend, and she didn't call.

  1. I'm unhappy because my friend didn't call me. What does this mean?
  2. It means she's rejected me. Why does it mean this?
  3. When people care about other people, they call them. That's the rule.
  4. In addition to rejection, how do you feel about someone breaking this rule? I feel worried and a little frightened. Maybe something happened to her.

Then begin tapping.

Even though I feel worried and frightened that my friend didn't call, I choose to believe that some old rule is making me feel this way.

Even though I think something terrible might have happened to her, I choose to let go of this fear.

Even though I feel that if she really cared about me, she would have called so that I wouldn't worry, I choose to give up this rule.

She's really thoughtless.
If she cared, she would have called.
What if something awful happened?
I'm so worried.

Continue in this vein, and as you do so, allow these feelings to direct you to the past. Without forcing it, see if you can remember someone important to you expressing these feelings.

You might discover something like this:

My mother insisted that I call her if I was going to be home late. Otherwise, she would worry too much. If I loved her and cared about her, I would call.

Then you have material for more tapping.

Even though my mother believed that checking in promptly meant you loved her, I choose to realize that not everyone believes this.

Even though my friend didn't call me, I choose to recognize that she may have gotten caught up in something else.

Even though my rules tell me she doesn't care, I choose to let go of that rule.

I have a rule about calling.
The rule makes me unhappy.
Do I want to be happy?
Or do I want to follow the rule?
I've had this rule so long.
It's hard to give it up.
But keeping it makes me unhappy.
I'd rather be happy.

Keep on tapping until you feel relief.

Rebuilding the Structure

Sometimes when people realize how rules have limited their lives they want to toss away everything they've ever believed and start anew. This would be a little like raging against the limitation of bones and deciding to remove them from the physical body.

I recommend a slower pace, which can have several aspects.

One is to continue the kind of questioning I describe above; another is to recognize when one of your now-recognized rules goes into effect. Consciousness alone can have a powerful effect in relaxing their hold on you.

Another aspect - and a very important one - is the choosing of new rules, consciously, deliberately, trying them out to see how well they support you. In that choosing you are also deciding the kind of person you want to be.

Ask yourself who is the person you really want to be? Imagine the new you and write down a description. If you hear a voice telling you this is impossible, allow that voice to speak through tapping.

Even though part of me believes this is impossible, I choose to believe that all things are possible.

Then ask yourself what kinds of rules this person would have. Write them down. Turn them into affirmations. Think of them often and do your best to live by them--until you outgrow them.

And you will, for when we are truly conscious and evolving beings, we find that for each stage of the journey we need new guides. With EFT we can more easily find them.

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