You SHOULDN'T be treated that way, but what if that's a SHOULD as well?

How to co-exist with other people’s criticisms when they don’t mean any harm?

I had a chat with my guitar tutor on WhatsApp today, and I told him that I liked ESP guitars and would want to get one someday when I’m ready to invest. But I got triggered when he said, eww ESP are the worsts, why do you like those? (he’s a SUHR lover). (i.e. ESP and SUHR are guitar brand manufacturing companies!). And I just took it all in! He might just be joking, or just a simple-tease, and logically I know he’s a great great tutor! And hands on by far the best tutor that could teach me what I love to be able to play!

But sometimes the things he says triggers me from my past, and perhaps this all is just more tapping opportunities for me. But I sometimes really don’t know how to feel. Yes I feel hurt by that comment but as an emotionally sensitive person, I now know that many situations are not done because of other people’s direct ill-intention, but the relived experience of a true past event that severely hurt me.

I know Rick, that you’ve given me several advice for us to always taken care of others and not do things that is a “NO” for us. (e.g. like the time when I went for the thriller escape room and when I wanted to exercise even when I was hurting). I sometimes do also feel like I SHOULD be taking care of myself inspite of the consequences of doing so, losing out on meeting friends, missing out on amazing opportunities and here, missing out on a great learning journey from my guitar tutor etc. and I just don’t want a small trigger that perhaps I could make it a “YES” through tapping, to lose out on these opportunities. I sometimes do feel like I should feel safe, and draw my boundaries and to me that’s also super scary!! :confounded:

I feel like if things were a true “YES” to me, ill probably be in my room all the time and just be in my comfort zone…so technically, we sometimes have the move out of our comfort zone, and make the "no"s to "yes"s, right?


My thoughts:
I think that’s a very vital distinction to make. The one thing that I won’t abide is intentional cruelty/harm of another being. From your description I don’t think your tutor was being intentionally cruel with his comment. It may have landed on you that way but I think it’s pretty clear that was not his intention. So, now you’re presented with the decision of what to do about it and there’s really only three choices that matter IMO. 1) do nothing and very likely continue to have this experience, 2) try to change the world so no one ever makes a comment again that you will be hurt by (currently this is a very fashionable choice btw), 3) change how you receive and interpret these sorts of ‘reckless’ comments that people can often make. Choose wisely… :slightly_smiling_face:

I totally understand this dilemma with my various anxieties and I struggle with this myself. I do think it’s useful to give ourselves a little loving push into discomfort. Otherwise there can be the tendency to stagnate. That can be done (needs to be done) with self-respect of course. There are reasonable, manageable levels of discomfort we can accept…terror and panic are not reasonable. Maybe it can be like looking for ‘simple uplifts’… we can find ‘simple discomforts’ to energize and activate ourselves as well and move us in a direction toward greater thriving…??? I’ve been doing this lately with some of my anxieties and it’s very helpful. Like Cathy describing how she moved toward some manageable discomfort by going to the bar with the goal of talking to three people…as a way of moving toward more ability to enjoy social situations with ‘calm and confidence’.

I see lots of popular idioms ‘out there’ that attempt to get us to disregard our objections in a way that isn’t very respectful to our inner ecosystem…“Just do it!!”, “No Fear!!”, “Take a leap of faith!”…telling us we should be bungee jumping our way through life. That’s not for my nervous system!! We are surrounded by those sorts of proclamations and if we don’t act in accordance to them we can feel like we’re ‘failing’ somehow…failing to meet a standard that society has set for us…and maybe it’s a standard set by people we know and respect. I can get caught in this myself very easily and it’s not a great feeling as it leads to lots of negative self-judgement.

So maybe tolerable bits of discomfort are possible…tolerable = right distance, right depth (to use Rick’s phrase)…and have an exit plan if things get too intense (‘exit’ for me doesn’t necessarily mean having to leave a situation, it means having a way to ‘exit’ unwanted feelings…I might just need to step back a bit in the intensity that I’m engaging with people for example…move to the sidelines for a bit…a pause can be a type of temporary ‘exit’ for me)…and that will slowly build into being able to engage in and enjoy situations that you currently are struggling with.

Just some thoughts and observations…maybe some of it can be useful for you Jun Rong… :slight_smile:


What Glenn said. :slightly_smiling_face:

There are humans that “attach” to their preferences in a way that anyone with a difference preference is “wrong.” And oh boy, will they say so.

It raises our Emotional Intelligence the more the interpretation of other people is grounded in something other than our own negative reaction.

  1. It sucks to have our preference shat on.
  2. That happens when people are feeling the need to protect their own choice from any doubt.

For #2, I know you saw that in your religious experiences. I’ve seen it virtually EVERYWHERE my whole life.

Mac vs. PC anyone?
iOS or Android?
This politician or that one?
My sports team or yours?
Bitcoin or Dogecoin?
Dessert first or last?

There’s this interesting “revealing” that happens with someone I am close to when I share something that I like that they have a different strong preference. I get to learn how they are oriented, inside themselves, about what matters to them.

An attack, put down, insult, tease, bully… if that is what comes OUT, then that is what is INSIDE.

Glenn mentioned about intentional attacks. If what someone feels is that I AM WRONG rather than a choice is different from theirs, and they keep attacking me about it, I need a lot more distance if they don’t stop when I tell them I do not want to discuss it again or it will impact our friendship.

That said, I am grateful when I find people who can honor my free will, my choices, and what’s right for me. Such people are precious!

I am grateful for people who might hold really strong opinions, and sometimes like with the guitar they might squirt out (and I might need to clear up my feelings, with or without their help) but then it is dropped… and we can still meet where there IS a Yes-Yes. Like learning some specific skills from your guitar mentor.


Thanks Glenn! haha, I’d love to choose (1) but one day, my mind would come yelling at me saying “hello, he hurt you, can’t you do smth about it?!” so I’d go with (3), and work on the reactions with tapping, and then realise that it takes so much layers to release the reactions and I’ll still get triggered, and then i’ll choose (2), and try as much as i can to avoid bringing up the topic to save myself from getting triggered.Wise enough? :joy:

Yess!! this is a good idea! I think in the past, I’ve often dismissed all of the grounding exercises, and the simple uplifts that Rick always mentioned, and assumes that doing the tapping is what the main essence, still is get to the root of the problem! But as I was faced with tons of overwhelm these few weeks, use the grounding exercises before doing any tapping were soooo essential! The need to recollect myself from the state of overwhelm and the simple reassurance that I am in my room, safe and sound makes my anxiety so much calmer, than if I were tapping straight into the issue, which actually induces anxiety, and makes the problem harder to address since there’s a lot of resisstance!!

And so yes, simple discomforts with self-respect seems so apt…with the right distance, and the right depth, and an exit plan. check, check and… check! I hope my next mental airplane ride would have those parachutes ready too!!! Thanks glenn!!

Helpful, Rick. And yes, when it does become an intentional attack, it seems like then there needs to be a distance, and a clarification, and a safe exit too.!! And hopefully, if we can move on back to guitar learning, that would be great right?


A fourth option is to cycle endlessly through the 3 choices…I hadn’t considered that…I suppose there’s a kind of wisdom in that…lol.


With people I care about and have established mutual respect, I do not assume an intentional attack – even when it might feel like one in my body-mind. Why? Well, we have some established respect to draw on.

An emotional “bank account” with a positive balance. :bank:

There’s an approach that I keep hearing from people who I take as being REALLY savvy and informed about many things. These folks are also on the autistic spectrum, and say that while this didn’t come naturally to them, because why wouldn’t a person want to be corrected if they are so poorly informed?.. it has saved a LOT of wasted time and energy:

Smile, Nod, and Let It Go.

It’s actually both savvy and powerful. It is saying internally, during a Power-Full Pause: “Hey, I have both my own opinion and my own information and preferences. I am not feeling any kind of openness on your part; indeed you’re signaling the weakness of your position through the way you are putting down other choices with ‘dismissal.’ Ok, so we actually have NOTHING to talk about here! I’ll let you float on in your own little world without intruding or interrupting my own joy.”

And yes, I am going to continue to practice this. I used it recently probably 4-5 times over two weeks, hit the ‘oh, you’re mind is set here’ and just smiled, nodded, and let it go. WORKED SO WELL!


I didn’t quite catch what this meant though, but it sounds valuable. Could you explain a little more?

I totally agree on this! but i, but now I feel like I’m hard pressing myself so much that I find it exceedingly difficult to dismiss them and let them go away. Because it does feel like a “hurtful” attack to my system and my FFF response are just always so freaky! I think it really is about time that I really start to be “ok” where I am, socially anxious, depressed and a sensitive person. I’ve always seen them as weakness and tapping has always been me trying to fix one thing after another when the next thing would clearly scream at me to be fixed cause I have not accepted myself where I am…! it’s so hard with all those layers! :confounded:

But yes, actually to share a bit more related to a point, I’ve made a big (and actually risky!) step to open up about my feelings of unappreciation to my band, and especially to my guitarist! I was really banging on the possibly of being told off for being overly-sensitive but I’m pretty happy that after unloading all of those thoughts, he was actually able to understand! I was really going with the idea that even if he doesn’t understand, at the very least, I have stated my boundaries loud and clear, and whether you like it or not, it’s up to you to decide!! It definitely feels liberating when you no longer have to hide that true anxious self, and i’ll feel a little less like “l’m the only crazy one here!”


Yeah, being an emotional freedom coach now for 15+ years, I assure everyone that no matter what your specific mix of “issues” are, you’re not the only one here. We humans have hidden a lot, and as we find ways to be more real – like you were with your band – a lot of the labels start to fall away.

Am I anxious or is my being asking for something clearer, more real, more free?

On the other statement, the Smile & Nod goes to picking and choosing who to really engage with, and “mostly” choosing the ease of letting the person be in their judgment and even ignorance without wasting life force on them.


@Rick I’ve noticed that you sometimes reframe emotions to be more understandable or maybe to help us question their power or dig deeper? Like when I’ve talked about my fear of abandonment you have asked how much of me has that fear and whether it is just part of a natural need I have. I’m not capturing it quite right, but I’m curious to learn more about what it is you are doing there. I think it would be powerful to learn how to stop labeling myself as anxious for example and to see myself as having a need for more freedom. I want to understand this reframe better and do it for myself more. Thank you.


My short answer is that… therapy is paid for my insurance, insurance requires diagnosis, so we end up pathologizing e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!

Sensations. We have 'em.
We try to describe them, and resort to labels.

“I’m anxious.” Egads, that can be 5000 different mix of sensations. All under one label. “I’m depressed.” GADZOOKS! 10,000 different sensations (and lack of sensations) combined with nervous system and endocrine system states.

So why the sensations? How are they intelligent and useful?

If we assume the sensations are intelligent, what is there?

If we look at the sensations always through the proctoscope, we end up seeing shit everywhere.

Viewed with even a bit more wonder and curiosity, such wisdom can unfold.

So yeah, I’m accepting the vernacular being used and applying my own curiosity and experience that has a very different frame of reference.


There are so many ‘yeses’ for me in what you wrote Rick…fantastic!!

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Yeah, exactly this. So much clarity needed! At least I’m now aware!

Yeah, i think even this is hard to discern! but with tapping! the clarity will surely come!


Makes so much sense. Thank you. Helpful to stop pathologizing myself, which at one point was a survival tool, I suppose.


Yes, and my theory is that we’re not really taught Discernment! For example, we know in relationships that Contempt is deadly. It is almost impossible to survive a relationship where one or both people hold the other in contempt. Scientifically proven. Little microexpressions of contempt that flash – even if not recognized by the speaker – when talking about the other person is really and truly toxic.

So… knowing that, if someone hold others in contempt, especially if they treat people they supposedly care about or people who are innocently minding their own business with contempt… well, Right Distance Right Depth for me will be FAR FAR AWAY and as shallow as I can make it.

I do think we can learn to spot contempt and how it feels to our body. We can discern when we’ve fallen into the trap of contempt and shift to something more neutral.

Something more neutral like smile, nod, move away…


It CAN feel empowering to know that our mix of issues is not just ours – there’s even a documented label for the shit I’m in!

And there’s an evolution where we are more in the movement of life where sensations we know come and go – even ones labeled as Symptoms – and the real skill is being with them, unwinding them, bringing them awareness, love, and respect.


That was exactly my experience when I first came upon the description of CPTSD or Developmental Trauma. I kind of rejoiced inside. It felt like I’d been found…“They know about me!” I’d been located in the wilderness after being disoriented for many years. That was a profound experience. And along with that came the realization that my ‘problems’ were not caused by some sort of weakness in me as an individual. Very liberating!

And there’s also a very clear downside to labelling and pathologizing. I think if we identify with our labelling it becomes problematic.

There’s very clear differences in internal experience between these expressions:

  1. I’m feeling uncomfortable sensations
  2. I’m feeling anxious
  3. I have anxiety
  4. I’m anxious

#1 feels the least invested in a pathology/label…it’s simply noticing internal sensations in the moment…it’s a fundamental mindfulness technique

#2 is a bit more invested in a label which doesn’t really identify specific internal sensations…it lumps all unwanted sensations into a conceptual category…it’s no longer a process, it’s become a ‘thing’.

#3 indicates that you now are in full possession of that ‘thing’…you ‘have’ it…you own it…and it carries with it a sense of permanence, of immovability…like 'I have blue eyes’…it’s just there…no pathology indicated…it fell out of the sky on me and now I just ‘have’ it.

#4 is an identity statement…it’s a declaration of ‘what I am’ …‘I am Irish’…‘I am anxious’…it’s in my DNA.

It occurs to me for the first time that there is a big reduction in the sense of movement as I shift my experience from #1 thru to #4…and that lack of movement translates into a judgement of how changeable that experience is. When I’m fully invested into unwanted sensations as my identity, ('I’m anxious’), that feels really solid and unmovable compared to 'I’m feeling uncomfortable sensations’, which has much more movement in it…it’s already in motion.

How we language our experience reveals so clearly how we are in relationship with ourselves and with ‘things’. Changing how we language our experience can begin to shift things and that’s one of the reasons why I appreciate Rick’s very powerful use of language…those things I have called ‘word portals’…they invite us, through language, to think about a new way of considering our experience …a new way of being in relationship with our experience…and it invites movement. Movement is the most fundamental aspect of life…if it ain’t moving then it’s probably dead. :slight_smile:

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It’s the core skill of a useful coach, to both hear the vocabulary someone uses and the feelings being evoked as markers about where they are in the process of re-establishing movement – the healing marker that someone is no longer frozen, eh?


I think you have a very high level of awareness and skill with language (heartistry with it) which I find very useful and engaging. Your skilled playfulness with words and phrases is very powerful. Coming from a ‘neuro-linguistic’ training background I really notice it and appreciate it. I haven’t encountered many professional people helpers, that have the level of understanding about how language so clearly indicates internal experience that you have Rick. Thank you.


So helpful @Rick and @Glenn. I would add a #5 to your list that I’ve done to myself… I have an anxiety DISORDER. Barf.

I’m noticing that this relates to my experiences of trying to be more my authentic self in this world, i.e. undergoing gender transition. Language matters so damn much. Language about the process itself, my identity, the labels I had to allow and use myself with providers (say thr magic words) for me to access the health care I needed… and to be believed, the trauma and shit that came with all of that…and the level of self distrust this caused and that I continue to recover from. Too much to get into here but I’m constantly trying to upgrade my language about myself, my body, my experiences. I teach lawyers not to say outdated and offensive terms in my trainings, but I sometimes use these terms privately in therapy to be dramatic and funny, and to loosen up the hold they have on me in my head. Bottom line…in spite of what world I am living in and the horrible messages I see every day about people like me…there is nothing fucking wrong with me. Tap tap tap.


I think that demonstrates a lot of wisdom Dru. Any ideology that declares war on certain words and attempts to legislate their usage is really problematic and there’s no good outcome in my opinion. If, in one’s personal life, we want to have language boundaries then I think that’s a very different thing that can point us toward emotional freedom and thriving. The ‘offensive language’ thing is a bit of a minefield in the sense of how to negotiate where an individual’s language boundaries intersect with social norms and practices. The fact that you can be flexible enough to purposefully play with ‘offensive terms’, again, shows deep wisdom IMO.