I have a confession to make. I hate Emotional Freedom Techniques.
OK, I don’t hate the tool, but I do hate the name.
I have hated the name since the first time I heard it. And when I am using the word hate, I am not joking. It makes my skin crawl.
In the beginning I hated the name because I thought it did the technique such a disservice. Here we were being given this very powerful tool that was changing people’s lives. It was helping them to let go lifelong limiting beliefs, ameliorating chronic physical pain, and eliminating cravings in a matter of seconds.
And it was called Emotional Freedom Techniques, with a cute little dove logo.
It made me want to puke.
But I reasoned, “I can understand why it is called EFT because that is what we feel after tapping, freedom from our (negative) emotions. Even though I think the name undermines what is going on, I guess I can live with it.”
But even that was wrong and I didn’t realize how wrong until a comment made by one of the guys from the anger management class I teach in the county jail.
I was telling the guys in jail about my disdain for the name and one of them piped up and said, “You’re right. It shouldn’t be called EFT. It should be BET: Balanced Emotion Technique.”
The Goal Is Not To Be Free From Emotions
In that moment I heard back all of my own teaching. Over and over again I teach that emotions are not the problem. Emotions are not the enemy. Emotions are information.
Every time we feel an emotion our system is just giving us information. When I feel sad it is saying that something important is missing. When I feel angry it is telling me that it perceives attack. When I feel frustrated it is letting me know I am not getting what I want.
This information is both helpful and useful. The goal of tapping isn’t to be free of these emotions.
The goal of tapping is to make sure that emotions show up at the right time. For example, it is right that I fear tigers, but if I fear them so much that I can’t leave my apartment in Baltimore, Maryland for fear of being attacked by one, then that fear is completely out of proportion.
The goal of tapping is to make sure my emotions are showing up to the right degree. For example, when someone cuts me off on the highway the rush of adrenalin triggered will help sharpen my senses and help me to control the car and stay safe. If that rush goes on so long that it overwhelms my system and I end up on the side of the road crying for 45 minutes because I almost died, the reaction produced is out of proportion.
I want and need my emotions. They are an important part of how I navigate the world. I don’t want to be free of them.
What Are You Going To Do Now?
The first thing I am going to do after finishing this article is tap on the fact I feel so much emotion about the name Emotional Freedom Techniques.
After that I will keep on tapping. I will keep on writing about tapping. I will keep on teaching people to tap.
But I will make sure I help people to recognize that emotions aren’t the enemy and remind them that emotions are working for us. I will show them that it is good to be free from negative emotions that are showing up with too much and inaccurate information.
Freedom is good…we just don’t need to be totally free from our emotions.