“When leaders of a country are afraid of the truth, it’s time for the country to be afraid.” Jeanne C. Folks, D.Min, LPC
The use of the word “just” is often intended to simplify and support. Instead, however, it most often winds up implying that something very hard for that individual is easy. That he or she is stupid or lazy or weak if they don’t do it. That there’s something wrong with them. For example, we say to people, “Why don’t you just stop doing that?” (Drinking, overeating, getting angry, being scared of something, being sad or stuck, etc.) Or “Why don’t you just do that?” (Exercise, make phone calls, change jobs, think about the positive, be brave, etc.) If it were easy for people, don’t you think they’d already have stopped unwanted behaviors or feelings and exchanged them for something better?
We set up the person we believe we’re trying to help when we “Why don’t you just?” them. They become defensive trying to explain why something easy for us is hard for them. We feel like they’re making excuses. They feel accused, unsupported and misunderstood. Worst of all, they feel abandoned by us because we have indeed abandoned them. Not a viable road to freedom. Sadly, ironically, the struggle they’re dealing with may then entrench further and be even harder for them to shift.
As an experiment, let’s all agree to not say, “Why don’t you just . . .” to anyone for a week and see what changes. Replace it with, “Wow, I see that’s hard for you. I’d like to hear about your struggle. Things aren’t always as simple as they appear, are they?”
For those of us who tap, what comes next in the sharing are all “tappable” issues. The fears of failure or being judged. The anguish of giving up something we believe we can’t live without. The fear of doing something is a way so new that we might lose the sense of who we are in the process.
When there’s real support, rather than the dismissive “Why don’t you just . . ?” statements. The person who struggles has room to investigate rather than be ashamed. “Why am I stuck? Why is this hard? Why do I struggle so much with . . .? and “When did this start? Where did I learn this? What does my heart and soul really need?”
When we stop telling people what they just must do and start really listening to their pain, so much can change. A pathway of respect and compassion is laid. Movement and wisdom are possible and change has already begun.
I had a wonderful experience on Saturday introducing a group of young, talented therapists to EFT. They were so enthused and excited about the healing potential of the work. One of the things we kept coming back to was the idea of just telling the truth while tapping through the points. That sounds so easy, right?
With EFT, the task is to tell the truth in the present moment. If that is “I’m confused” or “I just went blank” than that is your truth. Not knowing where you are or what to do next is something even though it might feel like “nothing”. Let go of the need for the next words, the next statement, and say what you know in the moment. Trust that you’ll know another truth in the next moment. Having faith that your system wants to communicate with you will help the fear to drop away. There’s nothing to figure out. Just tell the truth. It’s already there inside you.