This week I am pleased to say I have a wonderful guest blogger, Annie Lin @annielinNY writing this weeks blog. She is an expert in EFT and offered to add something about the connection with self-esteem. Her contact details are at the end of this blog. Enjoy!
Has anyone ever told you, “You need to get some self-esteem” as if it were an item in a store? The term is tossed around glibly, often as an indicator of a person’s potential—the implication being that if you aren’t lucky enough to have your own heaping helping of healthy self-esteem, you’re doomed. So get some, why don’t ya?
Not so fast.
When self-esteem is framed as something that individuals must obtain—a commodity
instead of a practice—the inevitable result goes completely against the spirit of the concept.
Studies show that children exposed to self-esteem programs in an academic setting don’t hold themselves in any higher a regard than students who never learn to recite “I’m special” by rote, and are no more likely to succeed socially or in school. That’s because, when a child is incentivized for high self-esteem in the classroom, much like being rewarded for superior math skills, his or her self-image becomes fused with their sense of ability.
Then, when that child’s self-esteem dips and they are unable to “get’ it again as easily as suggested, the child—or the grown up adult—feels shame, doubt, even self-loathing, for being so inept at loving themselves.
A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of self-compassion, a term championed by Psychology Today blogger Kristen Neff, Ph.D. and it stuck with me.
Neff emphasizes how the traditional approach to self-esteem—usually linked to aesthetics or achievement—inherently leaves someone out. We can’t all be at the top of our class, the best looking in the room, or rolling in dough.
Self-compassion, on the other hand, is about acknowledging that inequality, injustice, andsuffering are part of the human experience, as are fluctuating attitudes about us. We are all bound to fail.
Practicing self-compassion means forgiving ourselves for these failings instead of
punishing ourselves for them, demanding that we “get” self-esteem—and fast!
EFT tapping—the Emotional Freedom Technique—is one of my favorite ways to practice
self-compassion. EFT uses acupuncture energy meridians to relieve stress, abate anxiety, and help people cope with other strong emotional reactions to distress.
It’s also an excellent way to exercise self-compassion and kindness, undoing the negative effects of growing up in invalidating environments—one of the main causes of fluctuating self-esteem.
Learning a technique like EFT may seem daunting but you can actually learn the basics in
just a minute or two. The first step is to become acquainted with your various tapping points.
The most basic ones are the karate chop—the point on your hand from your little finger to your wrist—the top of the head, the eyebrow, the chin, and the collarbone. Then, when you are experiencing moments of personal disappointment, shame, or self-doubt, tune into where you are feeling it in your body. Do you furrow your brow? Clench your jaw? Feel a tightness in your chest? Zero in on that sensation and pair it with a statement of self-acceptance while lightly tapping on your karate chop with two or three fingers of the opposite hand.
A typical set-up statement goes something like this: “Even though ________ (I am feeling tightness and frustration in my chest right now), I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.”
Continue repeating this statement as you tap on the different points of your body. Notice the intensity of the emotion you’re tapping. Remember, it’s normal if these
feelings don’t subside right way. Being gentle with yourself as you tap is vital to the practice of self-compassion.
As you make EFT tapping a regular part of your life, the positive results will become more and more reflexive. My clients—even the early EFT skeptics—find that after tapping just a few times, when distress hits, EFT is immediately soothing, helping them replace self-doubt with self-respect and break patterns of sending critical, invalidating messages to themselves.
Healthy self-esteem isn’t about getting—it’s about doing. And it’s all in your hands. For more on tapping your troubles away, feel free to email me at annielin (at)
or check out my blog!
Annie Lin is the founder of New York Life Coaching. She specializes in helping people create and infuse their lives with joy, passion, and fulfillment.
Author of the book, Fall In Love and Stay There! Annie has coached hundreds of clients, from corrections officers to university professors. The results achieved by her clients are immediate and lasting.