Prior Programming

computer program codePrior programming is the collection of ideas, concepts, views, and beliefs that we use as our “operating system” in daily life. These programs come from our parents, religious institutions, schools, families, peer group, media, and society. Sometimes the programs are valid. Sometimes they are not. When the programs are not valid they definitely work against the positive changes we may be trying to make in our lives.

One aspect of prior programming may be the expectation that we should be content with what we have.  Do you remember an experience as a child when you wanted something but you were told it was wrong to want it? I do. I also remember being told to consider all of the poor unfortunate people who had even less than I had. There is a lot of programming that goes on to convince us to not want more or not want something different (except in TV commercials which do the opposite.)

Say this statement aloud, “I should be content with what I’ve got.”  Rate the truth of the statement on a 0-10 scale. Remember that 10 is very intense or very true for you.  Write down your rating.

illustration for karate chop pointRepeat the following statements while tapping on the karate chop point. “Even though I should be content with what I’ve got, I deeply and completely love and accept where I am right now.  Even though I’ve obviously been taught that I should just be content with what I’ve got, I deeply and completely accept myself and all of my feelings. Even though I know I should be content with what I’ve got, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and my desire for more.”

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Side of Eye…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Under the Eye…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Under the Nose…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Chin…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Collarbone…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Under the Arm…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Top of Head…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Take a deep breath and check the intensity of your original statement, “I should be content with what I’ve got.” Write down your new rating.  If the rating is above a 3, continue tapping with the previous statement.  Once your rating is quite low, move on to the positive tapping rounds below.

Eyebrow…I appreciate what I have now

Side of Eye…It is ok to want more

Under the Eye…Wanting more doesn’t mean I am unhappy

Under the Nose…It just means that I see possibilities to make things better for myself

Chin…I feel gratitude for what I have right now

Collarbone…I will feel gratitude if I get the things I want too

Under the Arm…I choose to feel calm and relaxed about wanting other things

Top of Head…I choose to love and accept myself and all of my feelings

Take a dep breath and let it out.  Check the intensity of your original statement, “I should be content with what I’ve got.” Record your new rating. If it has gone back up, consider starting back and the beginning and repeating the sequence.  Or, if you noticed some resistance to the positive tapping statements, it might be useful to just tap while repeating the ones that were most difficult for you.

This is only one example of how tapping can be used to address prior programming that keeps us from moving forward in meaningful ways. Try using it for all of your “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” and you will begin to experience true emotional freedom.

It Will Be Difficult

Excuses Be Gone by Wayne Dyer book coverIt will be difficult is one of the excuses identified in Excuses Be Gone, a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer and published by Hay House in 2009. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have personally used this one.  It has also been a favorite for many of my patients over the years.  People (myself included) very often can cite all of the reasons why they want to do a particular thing or why they should make a particular change. If I’m in a good mood, feeling full of energy, and feel that the person is highly motivated (again, including myself), my initial response to the excuse will be “so what?” Why does something being difficult mean that I shouldn’t or couldn’t do it? When I have actually asked that question people have looked at me like I’m crazy.

There seems to be an unspoken maxim that states that one should never try to do something if it will be difficult. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine, but the opposite might also be true OR, it could actually be easy.  Without a crystal ball it is pretty hard to tell. I might know that something was difficult for me last time or that it was difficult for someone else, but I can never know for sure that something will be difficult this time. It may not be very helpful to jump to that assumption.

If we apply Dr. Dyer’s paradigm for managing the excuse it might include asking

Q – Is it true? Will it be difficult?

A – Probably not.

Q – Where did the excuse come from?

A – I allowed it

Q – What is the payoff?  How does this excuse help me?

A – I( get to avoid risks and stay the same.

Q – What would my life look like if I couldn’t use this excuse?

A – I’d be able to really be myself

Q – Can I create a rational reason to change?

A – Yes

My paradigm for addressing the excuse is similar but also includes tapping (not a surprise I’m sure.)

Q – Where did this excuse come from?

A – Start tapping (tap through the points, changing to the next one whenever it diagram of the tapping pointsfeels right) and let your thoughts flow freely while you try to answer this question. This might include becoming aware of what you are feeling, when you have used this excuse before, and how it feels when you use it.  Get as specific as you can about the excuse, the purpose of the excuse, and the desired outcome of the excuse.

Q – Was there a time that this excuse helped or protected me?

A – The answer is probably yes. Now keep tapping and get specific, remembering the instances in which the excuse was somehow beneficial to you. Try not to get caught up in self-judgment or blame. View the events as if they were a movie or as if you are seeing it happening in the distance and keep tapping.

Q – What am I afraid would happen if I drop this excuse?

A – You will get better results if you can suspend self-judgment about having used this excuse before.  As you found out with the previous step, you developed this excuse for a reason.  Now continue tapping and take a look at the fear or anxiety that entices you to keep using the excuse and perhaps re-evaluate its usefulness to you.

Q – What would be the benefit of eliminating this excuse?

A – Start Tapping.  All things have pros and cons. Now is the time to look at the positive side of eliminating the excuse.  Your results will be best if you can get very specific and get a clear vision of what things might be like on the other side of the fence if you eliminate the excuse.  Remember, the grass is supposed to be woman jumping over the fencegreener on the other side so focus your energy on all of the good things awaiting you if you jump over the fence without the excuse.

If you decide to keep the excuse, please do so without self-blame or regret. You now understand your own motivations and decisions. If you decide to let go of the excuse, congratulations. Now you know that what you are contemplating may actually be easy.  You have also gained awareness of your own ability to do things that are difficult.

Avoid the Pedestal. It’s a Tough Fall.

multiple busts on pedestal in museumHave you ever put someone up on a pedestal?  Did you think they could do no wrong?  How did that work out for you?  Turn that around.  Do you want to be the one up on the pedestal?  If we are really honest, sometimes we do seek that type of relationship with other people.  The following tapping exercise gives you a starting point if this is an issue that resonates with you from either side of the pedestal.

 

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping the karate chop point): The Tao Te Ching tells me that I don’t want to be on a pedestal, but I seem to seek that position anyway. Even though I seem to want to be viewed as something special, or something “more”, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Even though my mind acknowledges that danger of being put on a pedestal, my behavior suggests that I feel otherwise. In spite of this conflict, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway. Even though I don’t want the pain of falling off of the pedestal, I would like the love and respect that I believe comes with being put on a pedestal.  I choose to remain open to new ways of thinking about this.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…My mind and emotions are not in agreement about this issue

Side of Eye…I choose to remain open to clarity

Under the Eye…I have a lot of emotional baggage that I don’t fully understand

Under the Nose…I have put others on a pedestal

Chin…And when they let me down and “fall” off of that high place

Collarbone…We generally both get hurt

Under the Arm…I don’t want to continue that pattern with other people

Top of Head…And I don’t want to experience that fall myself either

Eyebrow…I am open to learning new ways of getting my needs met

Side of Eye…Maybe I am confusing adoration with respect

Under the Eye…Maybe I am confusing respect with love

Under the Nose…Maybe I am just confused all the way around

Chin…Awareness is a good place to start with this issue

Collarbone…I choose to be gentle with myself as I learn a new way

Under the Arm…I am looking forward to changes in the way I relate to others

Top of Head…I am looking forward to changes in the way I view myself

As I said, this exercise is just a starting point.  I know I have more work to do on this issue.  Do you?

Stop Worry Now

worried woman with hands over faceWorry.  People use that word to mean many different things. Some people only seem to worry when something truly is amiss.  Other people worry about things that are unlikely to ever happen.  There have been many studies about the negative effects of worry on our health.

Cover Image of Tap It Away: 10 Minutes to Freedom With EFT by Dr. Leanna ManuelMake no mistake about it, worry is a destructive force but it can be stopped.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been the mainstay for many mental health professionals when treating worry.  I have used to too.  However, I find that combining CBT with meridian tapping (EFT) is even more effective. There are examples of how to use meridian tapping to stop worry and anxiety in my book Tap It Away: 10 Minutes to Freedom With EFT.

Below is an example you can use whenever worry appears in your life.  (New to Tapping?  Click HERE for a brief explanation and video.)

Step 1: Name what you are worried about, then insert your worry in the blank.

Step 2: Tap on your karate chop point and repeat these statements. “even though illustration for karate chop pointI am worried about _________, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Even though I am worried about ________, I choose to feel confident no matter what.  Even though I am worried about ________, I love and accept myself and all of my feelings.

Step 3: Tap on the points while using the recommended reminder phrases.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…I am worried about _____

Side of Eye…This worry about _____

Under the Eye…I am worried about _____

Under the Nose…This worry about _____

Chin…I’m so worried about _____

Collarbone…Even though I am worried about _____

Under the Arm…I choose to face it with calm confidence

Top of Head…Even though I am worried about _____

Eyebrow…I won’t let that worry stop me from the things I want to do

Side of Eye…Even though I have worried about _____ in the past

Under the Eye…I choose to react based on the present situation, not the past

Under the Nose…I have worried about _____

Chin…But I choose to think about how well I can handle so many different things

Collarbone…Even though I have worried about _____

Under the Arm…I choose thoughts that are confident

Top of Head…I experience feelings that are calm and happy

 

Taker a deep breath and let it out.  Continue tapping with these or similar reminder phrases until your worry has subsided.

I’d Rather Be Them

Want to Be ThemI don’t think I’m alone on this.  Sometimes it looks like everyone else’s life looks like it is going much better than my own.  I catch my self thinking “I’d rather be them” instead of embracing being me.  If this is ever true for you, tap along.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping the karate chop point): Even though I often think that I’d rather be them instead of me, I am open to learning to accept being me. Even though I often long to be someone other than who I am, I am eager to learn to love and accept myself more completely.  Even though being someone else seems to be quite alluring at times, there is another part of me that likes who I am.  I am open to getting more in touch with that part of myself on a regular basis.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…I’d rather be them instead of me

Side of Eye…This is another manifestation of the grass is always greener

Under the Eye…Even though I know the fallacy of that type of thinking it still creeps into my consciousness

Under Nose…When I want to be someone else I’m really rejecting me

Chin…How can I expect other people to accept me when I don’t accept myself?

Collarbone…When I want to be someone else it sometimes means that I just want to hide from my own problems and challenges

Under the Arm…Other times it means that I’m buying into the myth that other people don’t have the problems I have

Top of Head…While I know that is false, it is easy to fall into the trap since I don’t see their problems

Eyebrow…I only feel my own

Side of Eye…When all of my longing to be someone else or live someone else’s life is over

Under Eye…I’m still left with whatever it is that I need to deal with

Under the Nose…The energy of wishing and longing for someone else’s life is wasted

Chin…It would be better spent trying to be the best me I know how to be

Collarbone…That’s the advice I always give to others

Under the Arm…Be the best you that you know how to be

Top of Head…In every second, minute, hour, and day

Eyebrow…That’s the message I often need to hear too

Side of Eye…Be the best me

Under the Eye…During the good times and during the bad times

Under the Nose… Not trying to be perfect

Chin…I don’t really want to be someone else

Collarbone…But sometimes I’m materialistic and just want the things they have

Under the Arm…I don’t want to be them

Top of Head…I want to learn to be the best me I can possible be.  Because I am enough.

My Cravings Always Win

book cover for Don't Diet Reprogramming Your Weight With Meridian TappingThe tapping exercise below is from Don’t Diet: Reprogram Your Weight With Meridian Tapping.  Cravings are something that I continue to struggle with.  It seems to be a problem for many people I know.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping on the karate chop point) – Even though it seems like my cravings always win, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway. Even though is seems like my cravings always win, I choose to continue to try. My cravings are a part of me, and I accept myself.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…My cravings always win

Side of Eye…So it doesn’t seem worth it to even try

Under the Eye…I might as well just go ahead and eat it

Nose…If I fight it and then lose, I just end up feeling worse

Chin…Even though it seems that my cravings always win

Collarbone…I know that it isn’t really true

Under the Arm…Sometimes I am able to resist

Top of Head…I am open to learning about what makes me more successful during those times

Eyebrow…And less successful at others

Side of Eye…My cravings don’t always win

Under the Eye…My cravings sometimes win

Nose…In reality my cravings aren’t against me

Chin…They are a part of me

Collarbone…My cravings are a signal that something needs my attention

Under the Arm…I can choose to deal with it without food

Top of Head…I can choose to continue toward my goals

Eyebrow…It would be helpful to stop seeing this as a battle

Side of Eye…Its not a battle with winners and losers

Under the Eye…I am open to knowing what it is that needs my attention

Nose…I choose to treat myself with more compassion when I’m faced with cravings

Chin…So that I have the energy to address whatever it is that is behind this feeling

Collarbone…That’s it.  Cravings are just another feeling

Under the Arm…A feeling in disguise

Top of Head…And I am open to feeling it.

Potato Chips

Open Bag of Potato ChipsVegetable chips are good for you, right? Well they were probably better for me than potato chips.  I still ate too many of them and I ate them too late at night to be good for me.  I didn’t feel very good about that so I decided to tap.  Here is what I came up with.  If you have suggestions for improvement, let me know.

Setup (while tapping karate chop point). Tonight my problem was potato chips. illustration for karate chop point At least they weren’t regular potato chips.  These were fancy vegetable chips.  While I’d like to feel better about that, the truth is that I ate too much.  Too many calories.  Too late at night. I wish I had more control over my snacking.  And tonight my problem was potato chips.  In spite of this, I choose to love and accept myself anyway.  Even though I ate more than I think is good for me, I choose to honor and accept myself.  Even though my eating feels like it was out of control, I deeply and complete love, respect, and accept myself.

 

Eyebrow…I ate potato chips tonightdiagram of the tapping points

Side of Eye…I didn’t measure them

Under the Eye…I ate too many of them

Nose…That makes me feel bad

Chin…Physically and mentally

Collarbone…I wish I had more control over my eating

Under the Arm…Really, I wish I didn’t need to control my eating at all

Top of Head…I’d like to eat whatever I want, whenever I want it

Eyebrow…But that isn’t the reality of my body and my metabolism

Side of Eye…I am open to understanding more about why I continue to overeat

Under the Eye…I am open to learning to tap before eating any snack foods

Nose…I’d rather deal with whatever I’m trying to “feed”

Chin…Instead of hurting my body

Collarbone…I can change this pattern one bite at a time

Under the Arm…I have the tools

Top of Head…Now I just need to use them

Too Judgmental

LighteningLike most things, making quick judgements about people, places, and situations has both an upside and a downside.  Sometimes these quick judgments can save your life.  Other times the quick judgments  have the negative connotation of  being too judgmental.  I confess that I often fall into this latter category making judments at lightening speed.   Tap along with the video to experience  meridian tapping as it is used to diminish the downside of this personality trait.

 

Ugh – Time to Meditate

Monk meditatingMeditation is good for me.   I think most people would admit to that.  I am personally guilty of letting anything and everything interfere with my plan to meditate.  That is true whether I am planning to meditate for 5 minutes or for an hour.  Fighting against the resistance has been futile.  Tapping about the resistance has been beneficial.

 

 

illustration for karate chop pointSay these words while tapping on the karate chop point: Even though I am resistant to meditation, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.  Even though I am resistant to meditation, I love and accept myself, including my resistance.  Even though I am resistant to meditating, I deeply and completely love all of me.

 

 

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…I resist meditating

Side of Eye…I’ve done it before

Under the Eye…And in my head I can acknowledge the benefit

Under the Nose…So it is somewhat confusing to me that I am so resistant

Chin…Even when I put it on my to-do list, I don’t

Collarbone…Some forms of meditation have been pretty difficult for me

Under the Arm… But other practices have been successful

Top of Head…I guess I’m not completely convinced

Eyebrow…That the benefit justifies the time

Side of Eye…That can’t be true

Under the Eye…I waste lots of time

Nose…On the computer

Chin…Watching TV

Collarbone…On Social Media

Under the Arm…And that time could be spent in meditation

Top of Head…Time spent meditating

Eyebrow…Has to be more beneficial

Side of Eye…Than playing games on my phone

Nose…So that leaves me wondering what the real issue is

Chin…So even though I am resisting meditating

Collarbone…I choose to remain open to the possibility

Under the Arm…That I could change my attitude about this

Top of Head…Meditating is another tool I can use

Eyebrow…To enhance my mental, physical, and spiritual health

Side of Eye…I choose to begin meditating more often

Under the Eye…Just to see where it leads

Nose…If I’m not feeling the benefit

Chin…I give myself permission to use my time in another way

Collarbone…I also choose to experiment

Under the Arm…With a variety of meditation methods

Top of Head…I could consider it an experiment

Eyebrow…I could consider it play

Side of Eye…I could consider it therapy

Under the Eye…I could consider it spiritual practice

Nose…I choose to explore the role of meditation in my life

Chin…My resistance is just another piece of information

Collarbone…About myself

Under the Arm…It would be awesome to learn from this

Top of Head…And more fully understand this part of who I am.

 

Cookies

stack of cookiesHave you ever done it?  I mean, have you ever eaten a whole box of cookies…..all at once?  Before you say no, think about Girl Scout Cookie time and the box of Thin Mints.  I’m not proud to say it, but I’ve done it…..more than once.  Even if you haven’t done it, and you’ve eaten more than you actually intended to, this tapping may help.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (tapping on karate chop point): Even though I just ate a whole box of cookies, I choose to look forward to the day I can control my eating better. Even though I just ate a whole box of cookies, I am open to learning more about why I did it. Even though I just ate a whole box of cookies, I choose to feel hopeful that I can do better in the future.

 

Eyebrow…I just ate the whole box of cookies

Side of Eye…That was more than a whole day’s caloriesdiagram of the tapping points

Under the Eye…I ate way more calories than my body needs

Nose…It was a lot of sugar

Chin…And a lot of unhealthy fats

Collarbone…The first one tasted good

Under the Arm…Actually, the second one tasted good too

Top of Head…After that I was really just chasing the rush that the first two gave me

Eyebrow…I know why I started eating them

Side of Eye…I was upset

Under the Eye…And I just wanted to feel better

Nose…The sugar worked for a while

Chin…And that taste brings back happy memories

Collarbone…And food always works

Under the Arm…For a while

Top of Head…But then I felt bad

Eyebrow…I felt bad because I did something that wasn’t healthy for me

Side of Eye…And it didn’t solve the problem

Under the Eye…For a minute or two I felt better

Nose…But then I went back to feeling upset

Chin…And guilty about the cookies

Collarbone…I choose to forgive myself for eating the cookies

Under the Arm…I choose to forgive myself for not wanting to feel upset

Top of Head…I choose to learn from this and move forward confidently