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Worry About What Other People Think? Here’s How to Stop

other people think

If you worry about what other people think, you’re not alone. It’s a crippling form of social anxiety that costs you time, energy, and money.

You know the symptoms:

The ceaseless replaying of social situations in your head, discussing those situations over and over with friends until they want to flee the building, bolting up from your mattress at 3:45 AM in sheer terror that someone misunderstood something you said.

You really torture yourself, don’t you?

Somebody else’s response is not your responsibility

Let’s say you attended a party over the weekend. You put on your earrings and pictured a fun evening. At the venue, you smiled at people, laughed at their jokes, made a few of your own. You were kind to everyone.

You did a good job.

Now the trick is to leave it alone. It’s beyond your control how the other people at the party perceived you or your efforts. For example, some people become suspicious when you’re kind to them. That’s not about you. That’s about them.

So, if someone doesn’t trust or like you because you’ve made an attempt at civility, don’t give him another thought. Move happily back into your own orbit.

And then, someone else may dislike you based on something as insignificant as the color of your dress. Maybe it reminds her of a dress her abusive grandmother used to wear. You have no control over that.

The key to setting yourself free from worrying about other people’s reactions to you is to just do your best and don’t worry. If you need inspiration, listen to this fine tune by Morrissey:

Let go of the idea that you can control what other people think

You can’t. Nobody can.

A wise woman once told me, “Not everyone is going to like you, Terry.” I found that incredibly liberating.

Until then, I thought it was important that everyone like me, and if they didn’t, it was my fault. The idea that I could just be myself without having to carry the weight of other people’s opinions came as a major relief.

As long as I do my best, who really cares what other people think? The ones who are supposed to “get me” will. The others don’t matter.

Even if you do your best, some people will misunderstand you

Case in point:

Many years ago, I took an excellent copywriting course at the School of Visual Arts. The instructors broke students into groups and assigned us to write an ad that employed humor. When the time came for my teammates and me to present our idea, the rest of the class laughed out loud. The instructors loved it.

We were mentally slapping each other on the backs until a guy stood up. He accused us of racism. He shouted, “I’m sick of you people saying my people multiply like rabbits. I’m sick of the jokes!”

Our ad didn’t reference his ethnic group. It had nothing to do with him whatsoever. Despite this, my teammates and I felt terrible about the situation.

In the end, though, this guy made something that had nothing to do with him all about him. It happened to us. At some point, it may happen to you.

But if you’re doing your best, it’s not your responsibility how people respond to you.

How to let go and not worry about what other people think

Once you leave a social situation, take your energy back. Seal yourself up. Sure, you can revel in the fact that you met interesting people and had a good time. There’s a fine line between reminiscing and obsessing, though, so be careful. If you find yourself ceaselessly replaying conversations, or if you wake up in a cold sweat, it’s time to de-escalate.

Put the soles of your feet on the floor and breathe. If you can’t manage that, shift your focus by imagining a social situation where you are admired and at ease. Whip out your journal and describe this situation as if it truly exists. Use sensory detail: What do you smell, see, taste, hear, feel?

If scripting a better situation is still too much of a climb, start by tapping. Your set-up statement could be something like:

Even though the guy in the blue shirt at the party shot me that look when I said I went to Manhattan College, I love and accept myself.

Then tap on the points:

The guy in the blue shirt…

Shot me a look…

As always, the words you use must be important to you. They must bring up an emotion in you. Don’t stress about this. What’s bothering you? Be specific and tap on it. (For a wealth of information on how to tap and the benefits of EFT, click here.)

Keep tapping until you feel calm. Keep tapping until you feel better. By taking action to alleviate your distress, you are training your brain to react differently in the future. You are taking your life back.

If you prefer to work with a practitioner instead of taking the DIY approach, set up an appointment with me. I’d be delighted to help you.

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Do Men Prefer Younger Women? Not Really

Men don’t prefer younger women, despite what you read at the check-out counter. Now, I’m aware George Clooney just became a father for the first time with his wife, Amal, a woman seventeen years his junior, but George Clooney is a celebrity. He is not the guy next door.

The media claim men prefer younger women

First of all, the media say that men are “hard wired” to seek younger women for fertility reasons. (They throw “hard wired” around a lot, also to explain why all men are programmed to cheat — another myth). The self-proclaimed authorities on this subject maintain this phenomenon exists to propagate the human race.

They want us to reduce men to lower mammals, like the ones seen mating in open fields on Wild Kingdom.

Now, I personally do not know any men who have intentionally sought younger women. I don’t know of any who’ve left a marriage for one, either. (The idea that men typically leave their wives for a younger model is another lie.)

And I’ve been around for a while. My father loved my mother and remained happily married to her until she died. Every one of my uncles stayed married to my aunts. My cousins remain married to their wives.

As for my male friends who are now divorced, I assure you, they did not leave their wives for younger women. In most cases, they didn’t leave their wives at all.

Here are some other heartening examples of men who prefer women their age

– A widowed friend of my husband is now in a serious relationship with a woman he dated as a teenager.

– A successful middle-aged single acquaintance met a local woman his age, the mother of two boys, on Match, and married her.

– A male friend regained his emotional footing after his girlfriend cheated on him and went on to marry a woman his age.

The guy next door does not prefer younger women and scoffs at men who do

Often, when an older man dates a much-younger woman, his peers don’t admire him. On the contrary, when the wife of a neighborhood man caught him cheating with a 23-year-old and divorced him, the other men in the area called him a dope.

Jealousy didn’t come into play.

“He lost everything,” said one. “And now he’s stuck with a 23-year-old girl who doesn’t know who Bruce Springsteen is!”

Then, in another case, a group of men laughed behind the back of a middle-aged friend who continually showed up to social events with a different younger woman. They considered him insecure and not overly bright.

If what I say is true, why are dating sites jammed with guys who prefer younger women?

Because there are a lot of jerks on dating sites.

Tip: If a guy poses without a shirt and wants a woman young enough to be his daughter, it means he’s a jerk. It’s not a sign that you should be discouraged about meeting the love of your life.

Know that for every jerk in the world, there’s a lovely guy out there who wants a relationship with a woman will will love him and be his best friend. He’s there for you if you’re willing to see him.

Perhaps the biggest myth about men is that they are purely sex driven and do not possess basic human emotional needs, like love. They are not allowed to cry or show weakness.

Are you pushing the right type of man away with the wrong attitude?

Some women tell me they’d be turned off if a man cried in front of them or showed vulnerability. They consider it a sign of weakness.

Does this sound like you?

Do you feel safer believing all men want younger woman, they’re all porn fiends, or they all cheat? Could this be some misguided attempt at self-protection on your part? Is it possible you’re afraid of a real relationship with a real man capable of expressing real feelings?

What’s that about?

If you face your fears, you can transcend them.You can have the relationship you say you want but has eluded you. You can meet someone who makes you happy.

But sometimes real men do date younger women

At some point, you may come across a really great guy who’s dating a much-younger woman. However, I’ll bet “younger” didn’t make the top five on his criteria when he looked for a girlfriend. I’ll bet she just happened to be someone he had a lot in common with. She turned out to someone who could be his best friend.

It’s not common, but people do sometimes fall in love with much younger people. Keep the handsome new French president in mind. Emmanuel Macron is 39. His wife of ten years, Brigitte Trogneux, is 64.

Want tips on meeting the right guy? How to Attract and Marry the Man of Your Dreams is on Kindle.

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My Week of Less Complaining

Less Complaining
What happens when you jot down complaints and turn them into prayers of gratitude? I’m going to find out.

Last week, after getting a nudge, I decided to limit my complaining to see if would improve my life. If what we focus on expands, you’d think my life would turn into one big party.

Right?

Here’s what happened

The first day went well, but that was to be expected. After all, it was the first day. Anyone could do that.

I also succeeded the following two days when I went on a business trip. Nothing warranted objection, really, certainly not the food, the accommodation, or even any of the people who spoke at the conference.

The hotel staff set up coffee stations in just about every corner, so I couldn’t even gripe about falling into a three o’clock slump. My bed featured a top-notch mattress. I even figured out how to turn on the shower without having to call the front desk.

Our hotel had a view of the airport, but by some miracle of modern technology, we didn’t hear a single plane. I only came close to complaining once, about the hotel’s cheap WiFi policy. They didn’t charge you to use it in the lobby, but they wanted $12.95 per day to use it in your room.

I decided to suck it up and turned on Stephen Colbert.

Then, over the weekend, on my way to my niece’s fourth birthday party, we hit traffic even before we got on the highway. In the broiling sun. I wanted to complain about it, of course, and emit some profanities, but I remembered my vow and managed a prayer of gratitude for smooth travel.

Interestingly, once we did get on the highway, we sailed out of Connecticut into New York. We arrived at the party after just one brief tie-up.

I lose it

On Sunday, a person who shall not be named resumed a behavior that I have requested him/her to cease. My automatic response was to go off on a tear about how sick I am of his/her nonsense, and when is he/she going to get it, and so on.

I went hog wild on this individual (behind his/her back), complete with jokes and petty imitations. I started to really enjoy myself at this person’s expense. Then remembered the challenge.

Also, it occurred to me:

If what I think about is what I bring about, is it possible that by complaining I am contributing to his/her annoying proclivities?

I find it again

Yesterday, when this offender reappeared and started up, I opened my mouth to go on a rant. I stopped myself dead. I got an idea to pray for him/her instead. My prayers worked in traffic. Maybe they would work here.

I don’t have any results to report yet, but I will keep praying for this individual. If anything notable happens, I’ll get back to you.

The future of less complaining: Another experiment

My success in enjoying almost no traffic gave me yet another idea: to jot in a notebook my complaints as they pop into my head, and then offer a prayer of gratitude for their opposite.

So, for example, if my complaint is:

This guy’s a giant asshole!

My prayer of gratitude could be:

Thank you, God, for this person’s hidden kindness and courtesy, which is now surfacing for everyone to see and feel.

Now, it’s nearly impossible to pray for a creep who skidded into the parking space for which I patiently waited, so the best course would be to tap and let off steam first.

(Even though this asshole took my parking space…)

By next week at this time, I’m sure I’ll have filled several pages with prayers of gratitude. I wonder what changes that will bring about.

How I feel so far after a week of less complaining

I was pretty happy to begin with, but I’m lighter and happier.

I notice that when I don’t complain I can be truly present for other people, instead of being preoccupied by a lot of nonsense. (Because who really cares if someone stole my parking space?)

And, when I’m not complaining, I can be more present altogether. It may sound corny, but I’m aware of the cardinal on my doorstep, the bursting hydrangeas, the chipmunk skittering across my lawn. I make note of the color of other people’s eyes. Everything’s a bit brighter.

I’ll let you know what the next week brings.

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Wedding Jitters? This Can Help

Wedding jitters affect brides and grooms for a number of reasons. It’s not just about the wedding. Both sexes may fear the loss of their freedom, but women have it worse, even if they’re not conscious of it.

Women have more to lose by getting married

It’s the woman, not the man, who’s expected to change her name after marriage. Some women don’t feel great about that. I didn’t. After all, my name when I met my husband was the name I learned to write at age five. I can remember spelling it for the first time.

I didn’t want to lose it.

Maybe you don’t want to lose your name, either. Loss of identity (or its slow erosion) is a possibility that many women face when they find someone to love. If you’re about to get married, maybe this is an issue for you.

EFT/Tapping can help you gain clarity about the situation. Maybe you can feel better about changing your name. Maybe you’ll come up with the right words to tell your future husband you’re not going to change it.

Or, maybe changing your name doesn’t bother you. Your jitters are due to something else altogether. You could just be stressed about the politics of seating arrangements at your reception.

Whatever it is, EFT/Tapping can help you identify your fears and very often help you come up with the solutions to them. Best of all, it can help calm you.

(New to EFT/Tapping? Get free instructions and information here.)

Whatever the cause, EFT/Tapping can help ease wedding jitters

Is it possible you’re anxious about expectations to have children? Or about the changes parenthood will make to your life?

Even in 2017, women are generally considered the primary caregiver when children come into the picture, which will present situations you may have yet to fully consider. That doesn’t mean worries about them aren’t simmering under the surface.

For example, if you want to return to work after you have children, it’s usually the woman — even in this late age — who’ll oversee childcare. If you’re an executive, and your kid gets sick, it’s probably not your husband who’ll explain to colleagues while he’s leaving the office to take care of her.

Maybe this bothers you. If it does, please tap on it. See what comes up.

What if you don’t know what your problem is?

Sometimes we’re nervous about things we can’t articulate. We don’t even know what they are. In this case, it’s effective to tap on the feeling and see if anything concrete pops up.

For example, you can identify a physical feeling and tap on that. Give your jitters a color, if they have one. If they have a shape, name it. Do they have a texture? Where do you feel them? In your chest? Your stomach? Your head?

You don’t have to overthink anything. Just do your best. Tap on the fatty outer part of your hand and put together a set-up statement.

For example:

Even though I have this buzzy red circle in my stomach when I think about my wedding, I am willing to love and accept myself.

Repeat the statement three times. Then tap on the points:

This buzzy red circle in my stomach.

Complete a round and ask yourself what, if anything, is different. Has the circle changed shape? Location? Color? Has the buzz diminished, or has it been replaced with a different feeling? Has something concrete, like a rogue cousin you have to invite to the wedding, popped up?

Note the changes and tap again.

Do another round

Alter your set-up according to the changes you noted after the first round.

Even though I still have these wedding jitters, this buzzy red feeling– it’s smaller now, with blurrier edges–, and I’m worried about my cousin Angelo, what he might say to Mike, I am willing to love and accept myself.

Repeat three times. Then tap on the points using phrases that bring up the most emotion.

You might use a phrase like:

Angelo and Mike!

Tap until you bring the intensity down. Tap until something shifts. In most cases, you’ll get a hit of clarity.

As you continue, you may find out that you’re afraid Angelo might reveal to Mike something embarrassing about your past.

Keep tapping. See what comes up. Maybe it’ll be a smooth way to avoid the situation. If you can’t avoid it, you may find a way to mitigate it.

Keep tapping until you feel calm and confident. Bring down that intensity. The goal is to feel good and strong and tranquil in your skin again.

EFT/Tapping brings clarity

It’s easier to stop being nervous when we know what’s causing our distress. If we can identify it, we can handle it.

Let’s face it, we girls have been brought up from the moment we emerged from the womb to find a husband, but we can lose a lot when we do.

EFT can help you excavate your inner nudges and discern whether or not you’re marrying a man who will make your happiness a priority, and also how to navigate big and little fears, especially about marriage. We must be aware of what we’re getting into. Our lives depend on it.

Tapping can be a huge help.

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NOTE: The situations discussed above are examples, which may or may not apply to you. This post contains a link to The Tapping Solution, which provides solid self-help EFT instruction and of which I am proud to be a paid affiliate. However, some people prefer to work one-on-one with a certified practitioner. If that’s you, I’d love to work with you. Contact me here.