Editors note: Duff’s been a friend of mine for a lot of years now. I’ve never met him. He’s an internet buddy. Today I found something he shared to be quite beautiful and so I asked if I might share his method for working with a difficult feeling. I will remind the reader that nothing I share is ever appropriate for everyone and sometimes what is appropriate for us one time may not be the next time. This is just one more resource to keep in mind, share or use when and if appropriate.
By Andrew Duff Mcduffee
Today I felt worthless.
I hadn’t felt that emotion in a long time, and to be honest it took me about 45 minutes to recognize that’s what it was.
Worthlessness is a terrible feeling. It paralyzes, makes solutions seem impossible and inner resources inaccessible.
I felt worthless because I was reflecting on mistakes I had made in the past. But ironically, feeling worthless doesn’t give me any energy or motivation to do anything to correct my mistakes in the present. So ultimately it’s not very useful.
So I did a quick process to change my state, the process that has worked the best for me with states like worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness (what I consider to be the core of depression).
I quickly regressed myself back in time, in 5 year jumps, and asked whether I still had this worthlessness, like this:
“I’m 33. Do I still have this imprint of worthlessness?”
By imprint I mean worthlessness is learned. Nobody is born feeling worthless, we have to learn it at some point, it has to be imprinted on our nervous systems.
I kept going back. 33, yes. 28, yes. … 13, yes. And so on. I even had this imprint at 3 years old.
But then I went back all the way to just one year old and no, I didn’t have that imprint.
I don’t know how or when exactly I learned it, but sometime after age 1 I did (according to my fallible memory at least).
So then I asked myself, “what is it like, to have never experienced worthlessness before?”
And the answer was Beingness and curiosity. I just “was.” And I was also curious about the world and what I could learn to do.
Then I memorized that state by pressing my left index finger and thumb together, and told myself, “each time I press my index finger and thumb together, the feelings of Beingness and curiosity will double in intensity.”
I opened my fingers and pressed them back together about 5 times until I had a nice robust state. Then I sent that feeling through every cell of my body.
Then I imagined being 1 years old, and pressed my finger and thumb together again, getting that sense of Beingness and curiosity. And then I imagined walking along my timeline into the present, allowing those states to transform all those experiences, and then seeing myself going out in the future.
I then floated up over my timeline, back to age 1, and repeated the process 4 or 5 more times, at different speeds to allow it to integrate more fully.
Then I asked myself, “do you feel worthless now?” And I laughed. No, I do not feel worthless.
“And why not? Why do you no longer feel worthless?”
And the answer was that worth is a weird thing, like trying to assign a dollar value to a human life. Human beings aren’t transactions, they are living beings. It doesn’t make sense to think of myself or anyone else as worthy or worthless.
The whole process took about 5 minutes.
I am continuously amazed by this stuff. 🙂
Some other (somewhat related) posts about working with “parts” and “sub-personalities” here
Other posts by Andrew Duff McDuffee on Everything Matters: Beyond Meds
Andrew “Duff” McDuffee has worked as a coach and trainer since 2003, using NLP and hypnosis to create change at the unconscious level. He’s taught NLP practitioner trainings, Neo-Ericksonian Hypnosis, Core Transformation, and more. He’s presented at top hypnosis conferences such as Hypnothoughts Live and ACHE. Duff specializes in helping people transform anxiety and stress into calm and courage. Duff’s private practice website can be found at duffmcduffee.com
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