How to Motivate Yourself: EFT Tapping to Master the Pleasure Pain PrincipleFeb 27, 2021
Having trouble motivating yourself to make the changes you know you need to make? Life has the potential to be a very simple affair. Anything you could ever want to do or become is really a simple list of steps you have to take to foster the change you want to make. Yet, almost no one is exactly where they want to be. They resist change every step of the way and the whole process becomes quite painful for most.
Because we associate pain with many of the steps towards our goal and humans have a very natural tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
On some level, you already know this, but I wonder if you have ever processed your life through the system of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Let’s do it together right now.
Example 1: You have a friend who refuses to give up excessive drinking even though they say it’s ruining their life. They want to pull their life together, but they just can’t seem to make the change happen. Why? Because they associate more pain with quitting alcohol than they associate pleasure with being free of alcohol addiction. They also associate pain with alcoholism, but it isn’t enough to overpower the pain they associate with the thought of withdrawal. If this ever changes, they will naturally make different decisions. For example, alcoholics anonymous talks about the importance of reaching “Rock Bottom” before a person is really ready for successful change. Rock Bottom is nothing more than that moment when the pain of alcoholism reaches that point of intensity where it overpowers the pain you associate with quitting. It is at this point that the system of pleasure and pain flips and real change becomes possible.
Example 2: You have a friend who is having trouble making themselves exercise. They know they want to lose weight; in fact, they want it really badly. They associate a lot of pleasure with the idea of looking the way they want to look. But they associate so much pain with working out that it overpowers the pleasure they associate with weight loss. Then, one day, they find a form of exercise that they don’t mind as much. They begin to associate less pain with exercise and the road to the good feelings they associate with weight loss is cleared.
Example 3: You have a friend who stays in abusive relationships. She spends her entire life complaining about her significant other. You tell her to leave them, but she never does. Why? She associates more pain with being alone than she does with being with the wrong person. If she could come to a new relationship with being alone, she could let the bad relationship go and become available for a completely new romantic step in her life.
Everything you have or don’t have in your life is tied directly into your system of pleasure/pain associations. Using this lens, look through your life right now. If you’re here reading this article, something brought you here. You’re looking for something. How does what you’re reaching for interact with your associations of pleasure and pain?
Your current system of pleasure and pain associations are your biggest barrier, and often your only barrier, to lasting change. They are why your are resisting change.
These associations are specific to you. They are built out of your life experiences and they are yours to adjust. Some systems work to help you increase the pleasure you associate with change, but the easiest way to overcome resistance to change is to actually decrease the association of pain. Most of the things you think are too painful, require the same energy expenditure as the things you enjoy. You just took on some negative emotion at some point in your life and attached it to the action.
How do we adjust the pain we associate with our goals so we can move forward?
The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Tapping.
EFT can be used to lift the anxiety you associate with addressing your barriers to change. We use EFT to walk right into those moments when the associations were formed and we move them out of our system. A highly focused EFT session can systematically alter the pain we associate performing the negatively charged tasks. As you lift the pain associated with these tasks, the pleasure you attach to achieving your goal overpowers the pain association and easy action towards your goal becomes your new normal.