Tap Into Courage

quote from Michelle Obama: courage is contagious and hope can take on a life of its own

In a recent discussion about the importance of learning to set healthy boundaries, one person said, “It takes courage to stand up for what I need and to say ‘No’ when I need to. I don’t know if I can do it.”

She was worried that she wouldn’t have the courage to actually follow through with setting a boundary when faced with a situation. I totally get that. It’s hard, especially when everyone around you is used to you saying “Yes” all the time. It takes practice. It might not turn out as you intend the first few times, but with practice, it will.

In just a moment I’ll show you some tips on how to make it easier, but first, you should know that setting a healthy boundary goes far beyond one act of saying “No.” It has a beautiful ripple effect. When you have the courage to set a boundary,

  • you gain confidence for the next time when you might need to set a more critical boundary,
  • you set an example for those around you to learn to take care of themselves by having the courage to set their own boundaries, and
  • you instill hope in yourself and those around you that things can change.

What if your act of courage inspires others to stand up for themselves?

If you’re having trouble saying “No,” first read the helpful suggestions in my  free guide.

If you’re anticipating a request that you know is not right for you, stand in front of a mirror and practice your response. Hear the question in your mind and repeat your response until you can say the words without hesitation. Keep your response short and to the point. Suggested easy responses and follow-ups are in the free guide.

And what if fear is keeping you from even trying? EFT Tapping is perfect for calming negative sensations and emotions. Identify what you feel (fear, anger, etc.) where you feel it in your body (your gut, heart, throat, etc.), and note how strong that feeling is on a scale from 0 – 10. Then start tapping. (See the EFT Basic Recipe for how to tap and a diagram of all the points.)

Tapping on the side of the hand, take a slow, calming breath, and repeat this setup statement three times (remember to substitute with words that describe exactly what you’re feeling and where you’re feeling it):

Even though I feel this (fear, anger, frustration…), and I feel it in my (gut, heart, throat…), I accept myself and how I feel and that’s just the way it is for me right now.

Tapping on the other points:

Top of the Head: I have these negative feelings,
Eyebrow: and I feel them in my body
Side of the Eye: when I think about saying “No.”
Under the Eye: It won’t be received well.
Under the Nose: Maybe I can be prepared for what they’ll say.
Chin: I’ll have my response ready and practice it.
Collarbone: I’ll stand firm and set this healthy boundary.
Under the Arm: It feels safe to say “No” now.

Take another slow, calming breath and notice how you feel. What’s different? What’s your level of intensity now from 0 – 10? Did anything else come to mind? Did the sensation in your body move or shift? Continue tapping more rounds as needed to get your intensity down as close to 0 as possible, using very specific words that describe how you feel.*

When the big day comes, take a calming breath before answering a request that isn’t right for you, and confidently set your healthy boundary. You can tap if/when guilt comes up later, but do your best to have the courage to try. With practice, it becomes easier. Breathe in courage and the hope that comes with it.

Keep Calm and Tap On!

*If you’re curious about EFT tapping and would like a step-by-step guide to learn how to tap and how to apply EFT to a variety of issues from stress to physical pain, check out my book: Emotional Freedom Techniques: The Art of Managing Stress Through EFT Tapping.

Please remember: It's important to contact a professional if things feel too big for you, whether it be a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or certified EFT practitioner. Never discontinue your current medications without first consulting your doctor.