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The value of tough love: from powerless to “I have a choice”

Hey everyone,

I had a recent experience with one of my clients that was so illuminating I wanted to share it here. He generously gave me his permission to use his email under an “alias.” So we will call him Pete.

Pete came to me to help him resolve issue around intense and paralyzing shame. As is true of many of my clients, he came from a family that was “abusive” in many ways. I prefer not to use labels like “abusive” without explaining what I mean by them. By “abusive,” I mean that a lot of violent communication was used in his home, such as judgment, blame, criticism, and a lot of yelling and fighting. As is the case with many people, this really undermined Pete’s self-esteem and sense of worthiness and safety in the world.

Pete is in his first few weeks of my 15-Week Miracle coaching program. As I explain on my coaching page, this program is a commitment. There are many ways in which I facilitate my clients making a strong enough commitment to get the most out of the program. One of my policies is that they show up for all sessions on time and respect my 48-hour cancellation policy.

Now, at one level, Pete was showing up for sessions. But at another level, he was not showing up for sessions. This is an example of how our subtle “saboteurs” can work against us even when we are “doing everything right.”

What was happening is that Pete would arrive for session on time, but his technology was not working. My intuition said this had little to do with his technology. It was clear to me that Pete’s unconscious mind was sabotaging him, and that the only way he would clear this up would be to change his beliefs at an unconscious level.

When Pete gave me less than 48 hours of notice for canceling his next session (for a seemingly good reason that he obviously thought was “beyond his control”), my intuition said it was time for a “tough love” email. I reminded him of the commitment he had made to me and to himself by signing up for the program. I explained to him that the technology issues and other “obstacles” were not beyond his control, but in fact were being created by his subconscious mind out of his fear. And I told him that the only way I would be willing to “make up” the session he was going to miss was if he committed to the program now and fulfilled all of its requirements for the full 15 weeks. If he did those things, I would make the missed session up for him after the program was over.

I did this for both of our benefit (this is an example of how I have trained myself always to think win/win, inspired by the teachings of non-violent communication). I knew that only if he made a firm commitment to overcome these obstacles would he get full value out of the program. And I knew this tough love was also necessary for me to have order in my schedule, as I arrange my entire schedule around sessions, and it’s highly disruptive for me when people miss sessions or show up with technology that is not working.

Lo and behold, when he showed up on time for his next session, the connection was remarkably clear, as it usually is with the rest of my clients. It started to get disrupted again a few minutes in, and I could not hear him, but he could hear me. My intuition said that this was a reflection of shame and an unconscious desire on his part to be “invisible.” So I asked him to tap, repeating after me, even though I could not hear him, on themes like, “Even though I feel so ashamed … I don’t want to be seen … I feel worthless … I’m scared if people see me, they will judge and criticize me … I’d rather be invisible … it’s safer to be invisible …”

After about ten minutes of this tapping, with me simply following my intuition, the connection became crystal clear (his voice could now be clearly heard on my end) and continued thus for the remainder of the session. Both of us were relieved and happy.

During the session, Pete shared with me that in the week since my tough love email, he had tapped on his own, had realized that events were not “beyond his control,” and he even came up with a new mantra:

“I have a choice.”

Beautiful.

After our session, I congratulated Pete on this huge step forward in taking his power back in his life. He wrote me this email, and gave me permission to share it with you.

Hey Erika,

Thanks. Actually right before the session I was still very nervous. I was afraid that there would be connection problems again. And I also prayed before it, hoping not to have connection problems again. I’m surprised and glad we pulled through.

One of your messages you sent to me also serve as a “wake up call.” You wrote, “I tell you what, Pete, it is my strong, strong intuition that what is needed in this situation is tough love. You must stop thinking that events like this are ‘out of your control’ because that is exactly the issue that is keeping you stuck.” It sort of kicked into me and made me realize I needed to be in control of my life. I felt emotionally charged in a positive way. What I need sometimes is tough love because I realize my character is rather “spoiled” or “rebellious” in a way. And so I started to develop this empowering affirmation, “I have a choice. I choose to be in control of my life.”

- Pete

Thank you, Pete, for this beautiful inspiration. All of us can remind ourselves about Pete’s insight, as we go about our day, if something happens and we are tempted to “play victim.” Nobody is a victim in this world. You can choose to turn your entire life into a sanctuary of delight.

You have a choice.

About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

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