Sometimes, in our multi-media, Type A Culture, living authentically feels impossible. We may discover this impossibility when we believe strongly in alternative medicine but we work, in one capacity or another, for Big Pharma. Or, at our core, we may understand the threat of ecological devastation by human industry but take the only work available to us, in the oil or automotive industries. More common still, we may understand the importance of organic, unprocessed foods, but our budgets and our neighbourhoods offer only inexpensive, processed foods whose primary ingredients – corn, soybeans, and wheat – are supported by government subsidies and allowed on our shelves without labeling despite containing killer pesticides and genetically modified organisms. Authenticity, that is, congruence between our values and our behaviours, is a hard-won achievement in western culture.
Whether we like it or not, we feel this lack of authenticity in the body. Headaches after reading of political support of devastating environmental practices, asthma attacks after hearing of a shooting blamed on lack of policing in a school, stomach disorders after eating the foods we can afford despite their lack of nutritive value, and heart, stroke, and diabetes risks because of the inertia that comes with despair are the many eloquent voices of the body protesting an inauthentic life. That’s just the way it is, we say, individually and collectively, when yet another war threatens, another school is devastated, and another community is robbed of its sense of coherence and value.
We can change this lack of authenticity in our lives. Tapping on the deep grief we feel over our lack of authenticity is an immediate way to create space that supports clearer thinking and problem solving skills. Creating a script isn’t hard if we concentrate on the disparity between what we value and what we do. For example, a person committed to ending the reign of Big Pharma but who works within a corporation that supports a medical solution to every problem may create a set-up statement such as the following:
“Even though I hate the fact that I work for this company that pushes pills that are of dubious value and that makes profit for shareholders its number-one goal, I trust that there is a way for me to live more in line with my values. Even though working for Company X makes me part of the problem and I hate feeling this way and I know my compulsive eating is related to this, I trust that my growing awareness will lead me to live a more authentic life. Even though I can’t see a solution to this problem right now, I trust that by expressing my lack of authenticity I will begin to move toward finding work that is in line with my values.”
Tapping through the emotions generated by working for a company whose mission statement and whose corporate behaviours are not congruent with our values is not as hard as it may seem to be. For example, simple reminder phrases need only address the truth of our present situation. Such phrases as:
“I hate this job but I’m afraid to leave it; the benefits are great but I believe in a complementary approach to health; I don’t reduce life to a pill; I don’t like working for a company that pushes drugs in every situation; I don’t know how I can find other work in this economy; I’m scared to death to leave; I have a family counting on me; I have responsibilities; I can’t just take off because I don’t like what the company does; I’m sure some of their drugs are valuable; still, I know many are over prescribed through compromised advertising; I don’t know what do do about this; I don’t want to be part of this system but I don’t know how to change.”
A few rounds of similar statements helps to clear the emotional sludge from our systems. Once this is done and we feel our Subjective Units of Distress (SUDs) have come down to a 1 or 2, we can then begin a problem solving round. Phrases such as the following can help us to take positive actions that will ease the stress of living without authenticity. For example:
“I’ve been in this kind of situation before; my over eating has always led me to examine possible causes and solutions and I suspect this is what is happening now; I wonder how I can return to authenticity; maybe I can list my skills and see whatever companies need these, companies whose mission statements are congruent with my values; I’m a very resourceful person; I’m a great problem solver; I don’t have to live with this discomfort; my intuition is strong; my researching skills are strong; my conscience is strong; I’m sure I can find work that is in line with my values once I set my mind to it.”
These reminder phrases lead us to phase three of the authenticity process because they set us up to consider how we can take action to end our discomfort and achieve our goals of finding work that we love because of its positive contributions to the world. For example, we might begin with:
“I wonder if anyone has started a green jobs data bank; I wonder if there are any jobs in my neighbourhood that my skills and my values and my budget requirements fit; I haven’t really been looking around; I’ve just been so depressed about working for this company; I know I can turn this around with some research; I wonder if there is a website that supports people who are looking to be part of a new, sustainable economy; I’m going to start looking today; and rather than eating when I feel the situation is hopeless, I’ll focus on looking for work in line with my values; I wonder if making a statement of intent might help; I wonder if crafting my own mission statement would give me the direction I need to find the kind of job I want; I feel like this might be a good place to start; I can catalog my skills and write my mission statement instead of sitting in front of the TV tonight and eating junk food; this feels like such a great plan; and when I get discouraged, because I know I will, I can always tap.”
Hopelessness is the enemy of change; optimism is change’s staunchest supporter. Tapping to turn around our hopelessness and self criticisms has amazing effects on the body, more powerful and healthful than any drug. Best of all, the only side-effects we must contend with involve making sure we are ready emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually to embrace where our authentic values lead us. And tapping lessens the stress of these side effects, as well.
Until next week