Why does the EFT set-up statement focus on the negative?

An EFT set-up usually begins with “Even though”, followed by a negative statement. A positive affirmation, such as “I deeply and completely love and accept myself” then completes the set-up statement. Examples:

“Even though I feel really tired today, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

“Even though my teacher humiliated me in front of the class when I was 9, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

“Even though I’m really nervous about my exam tomorrow, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

It may seem counter-intuitive to focus on the negative in this way. Aren’t we accentuating the negative aspects when we should be concentrating on thinking positive instead? The fact is that we cannot install positive emotions on top of negative ones that are rooted deep in our psyche. Taking the example of feeling nervous about an exam, simply affirming to yourself “I feel confident. I know I will do well in the exam”, when you don’t fully believe it, will bring up your inner voice of doubt. That voice will rebel against the part of you that wants to be positive, responding, for example, with “Oh, yeah? How do you know?” All parts of you need to be in agreement (congruent) in order for the positive thoughts and emotions to successfully take hold. In order to do that, we need to clear out the old negative stuff first.

The purpose of focusing on the negative in the set-up statement is therefore to:

  • acknowledge the problem from the start, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist.
  • make peace with where you are at in the present moment (this in itself can provide huge relief).
  • bring to the surface emotions relating to an event or issue, in order to provide a target for tapping.
  • release the negative charge associated with these emotions through tapping.
  • thereby clear the blockage in the energy system associated with these emotions.

The positive affirmation in the second half of the set-up statement, “I deeply and completely love and accept myself” provides the counterbalance to the negative. The purpose of the affirmation is to enable us to accept ourselves even though we have this problem. This background of self acceptance provides us with a safe foundation from which we can tap to clear out the negative emotions and replace them with positive ones.


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