“I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
It’s commonly suggested as a set-up phrase in Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), but as I’m introducing more and more women in my circles to this modality, I’m finding that most cannot resonate. It’s uncomfortable for them to even say it, let alone consider embodying it. We have to shift the wording to “I’d like to deeply and completely accept myself someday” or something entirely different.
And I get it.
For a long time, I felt the same. I never seemed to fit in anywhere. I struggled with my weight. I was convinced I was ugly and too shy and broken. I harmed myself. I took dangerous diet pills and deprived myself of nourishment. I maxed out credit cards trying to keep up with appearances. I kept people at arm’s length while doing everything in my power to keep them happy so they couldn’t catch on to how “not enough” I was.
These issues weren’t my fault, nor are they yours if they’re familiar to you as well. There’s a message permeating our patriarchal, consumerist society that says you need to change yourself or achieve certain milestones in order to feel good about yourself, but all it does is get you to conform and spend more money to compensate for what’s lacking while the bar is perpetually raised out of reach.
You can’t win when the game is rigged against you. The only way out is to stop playing.
Here are my top 3 strategies for disengaging so you can finally start reclaiming self-love:
1. GET SUPPORT
You can declare your desire to accept yourself as you are and set intentions to move toward that outcome, but the triggers for comparison and self-loathing are lurking everywhere. You’re constantly vulnerable to relapse — especially in the beginning.
Think of it like stretching a giant rubber band. When you keep it extended for a period of time, it will eventually loosen up. But until that happens, the farther you manage to pull yourself away from old thoughts and beliefs on your own, the harder it stings when you’re suddenly snapped back into place. That’s why it’s essential to have a coach, a counselor or therapist, teacher, a trusted friend, or a nurturing community helping you hold on to the edges — it reduces the risk of a sharp retraction or at the very least buffers the pain if one does occur.
If you don’t have another person who will back you up in this, lean on something greater than yourself until you’re able to find a human support system. Establish a daily prayer or meditation practice, or if you don’t connect with the idea of a divine presence, make a regular habit of spending time in nature to let yourself be held by the planet.
2. RECOGNIZE THAT IT’S A PROCESS
Even with plenty of support and a relaxed “rubber band,” you’re still going to have moments where you feel like you’re backsliding. But when you appreciate these moments as opportunities to strengthen your resilience to love and accept yourself rather than signs of failure or hopelessness, they lose power. They can’t hook you and tear you down like they once did.
In meditation, you’re instructed to observe your thoughts and let them pass through without judgment rather than aiming for the virtually impossible task of erasing your mind. A similar approach serves you well here. Watch your self-deprecating mental chatter, hear what it has to say, but choose (again and again) to bring your focus back to love.
3. TAP YOUR WAY TO FREEDOM
EFT itself can not only show you how readily you love and accept yourself but also lower your resistance to doing so. It’s become one of my favorite tools — both for myself and my clients — because of how quickly it can alter an emotional response without dismissing or suppressing it. By using your fingers to “Tap” on various acupuncture points on your body while giving voice to the negative thoughts and feelings that are running through your nervous system, you can turn down the volume on your negative self-talk, reprogram the limiting beliefs that make you want to shrink and hide, and even create some space around the triggers that send you spinning down a spiral of self-hatred.
With these 3 strategies — support, resilience, and a simple mind-body tool — you can cut yourself free from your old programming and re-wire your default settings to honor the truth of who you are.
OVER TO YOU . . .
How does it feel for you to say “I deeply and completely love and accept myself”? Tell me in the comments.