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Articles & Ideas


Some thoughts on when to use "I choose" vs. "I prefer"

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

This article by Cacina Spaeth will be of major use to those who integrate Pat Carrington's choices method into their EFT sessions.

Hugs, Gary

By Cacina Spaeth, EFT-ADV

Dear Gary,

After your session with Baerbel, from your latest DVD series, Mastering EFT, someone from the audience brought up this question: Once we worked successfully with EFT on the negative ramifications of an issue, and we're ready to tap on the positive - when would I use the wording "I prefer..." vs. "I choose ...?"  In Baerbel's case it was about "preferring" peace vs. "choosing" peace.

At least for me, the answer to this became even more apparent yesterday, when I did a successful EFT workshop for a group of business men.  Here they sat, all of them good guys in their late 30s and mid 40s, having accomplished a lot in their individual careers, being totally overworked to the degree of physical exhaustion without truly admitting it.

Willing and forcing their paths forward, always towards success, even bigger success, never taking a breath.  Some of them feeling forced to accomplish yet bigger financial goals, since the writing on their walls says that their "door" to what they can achieve in life (also financially) is about to close.  And so they have to get a last "Big One".  Pressure, pressure, pressure....

These are men who make decisions and choices all the time - often also on behalf of others. Choice making on a grand scale is part of what they do.  Often it takes a lot of guts, and they end up making decisions that others don't have the courage to make.  They've also learned to make these inconvenient choices, unpleasant choices that nobody else is ready to make.  But somebody HAS to, right? … and so it's them.

Many times they go into full risk – personally, professionally, emotionally, mentally, risking their health physically, and partially suffering spiritually under their perceived lack of meaning in their life. They make choices all the time.  If they're not ready for it, they're used to WILLING themselves into being ready.  They know the drill...

In the workshop, we did some profound tapping on releasing emotional burdens and blockages that each of them had.  When we came to tuning into how things could be instead, how their careers could unfold gracefully if they didn’t have to work so hard constantly, it was very obvious to me that "choosing" ease, "choosing" more peace in life would have thrown them back all the way to where we had started out.

If I had wanted to stir up even more aspects to work on, then I would have used the wording "I choose to have more ease in life.”  That would have been perfect to trigger yet another "choice issue" that would have been emotionally linked with hardship, endurance, and competition.  But in this case I used the following:

I prefer to have more ease in my life.

I would prefer to make the money I'm making, working only half the hours I'm working now.

Oh, how I would prefer that.

Using "preferring" in this case brought up a tremendous longing for more peace and calm in their lives.  The quality of allowing and receiving gracefully is something they totally lack, and without my initial intention to do so it brought in the spiritual aspect of,

What if you're being cared for without you having to do anything for it?

What if you're safe without achieving?

What if you're loved without achieving?

What if you're loved not for what you do, but because you ARE?

I prefer to feel the love that's there.

I so long for that.

I prefer to feel safe in the love that's there.

I never thought I was loved just because...

I was brought up to believe that I only have what I create with my own effort.

Work is hard, you know?

But oh, how I would prefer to feel that I'm taken care of.

I prefer to feel that love.

I prefer to feel that love … now ... and more and more with every day...

Using "I prefer" implies a gentleness, a melting, and a softness.  I use it when people are doing too much of the opposite: fighting, forcing themselves, having to accomplish, having to succeed, having to show up.

In my experience, the wording "I choose" works best with people who are not used to (successfully)choosing anything.  For example:
- when people were never allowed to choose
- when people are used to being overruled and therefore don't bother anymore
- when people are afraid to make choices (because what if their choice is wrong?)
- when people are afraid to want things, to claim things, to name and expect good things to happen for them in life
- when people have not succeeded in saying "no", in setting their boundaries

Many women I work with are unhappy in their relationships.  Many prefer that things were different, knowing full well it won't change a thing.  Many wish silently he would for once just listen.  They would prefer that he wouldn't be hostile anymore, but he still is.  They would prefer that he would stop letting out his angry outbursts on them, but he still does.  They would prefer that he would start appreciating them, but he simply won't.  They silently know what they would much rather prefer, but it never happens.

Choosing means setting things in action.  Choosing would mean making a clear statement, setting boundaries.  Choosing could mean getting in trouble for stating out loud what they want.  They fear those repercussions, and so, at best they nag and complain.  Many of them don't even do that.  But what many of them have in common is that they never learned how to make a choice that sticks.  As a girl they weren’t encouraged to choose, and the adult woman now has no clue how to choose successfully.  They didn’t’ have the experience that (also as a woman!) it can be safe: to want something … choosing to have it … to say it out loud … AND even to get it … and getting to keep it.

Choosing this over that also implies what we don’t choose (anymore).  "I choose THIS!" is an indirect way of saying "no" to that.  I choose - is a very powerful thing to state when we feel stuck in victim-hood.  Victims don't feel that they have the ability, the power, and/or the right to choose.  They feel they and their lives are the result of their circumstances.

After having successfully collapsed some of their victimizing perceptions and responses, I experienced it to be incredibly empowering, encouraging, and vitalizing for some of my female clients to (at times for the first time in their lives) say out loud:


I CHOOSE to let this go.

I CHOOSE to have peace on this.

I CHOOSE to feel free.

And I CHOOSE to enjoy this.

It's like opening a window in the abandoned room of their Soul, in which their Spirit had been locked up for ages with no air to breathe, no room to stretch and explore.  And now all of a sudden having a window open with fresh wind coming in, bringing the sweet and liberating smell of opportunity.

What if I really COULD choose things.

Ok, I couldn't back then...

But what if I could NOW...


That sense of awe is priceless, when we're not used to the experience that we actually CAN choose, AND that our choice matters.

In a nutshell ... to me the phrase "I choose" implies a clarity of will, and active creation.  It's very helpful to use it, either on issues where we tend to be vague and unclear, or on people who tend to be vague, unclear and indifferent.  "I choose" can help them to experience the unfamiliar joy in being specific.  It activates and/or uses our innate powers, and sets creator energy in motion towards the future.

"I prefer" implies a gentleness, a softness, and a sense of allowing.  Using "I prefer" seems to be less threatening for people, and doesn't tend to trigger unresolved issues (which "I choose" can do). Using I prefer at the right time often comes with a healing sense of melting, of letting go, of being given without doing, of being a human BEING vs. a human DOING.  I prefer can bring tremendous stillness and tranquility to the Now moment ... and in so doing, maybe preparing the emotional ground on which we can dare to make profound choices later on, claiming their actual outcomes in life.

My love to all of you,

Cacina Spaeth, EFT-ADV


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.