In a number of your EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) scripts you use the words “not” and “does not” For example in your forgiveness tapping script, “When I choose to forgive John, what I’m choosing to do is to no longer be emotionally tied up in this past instance…More than likely, John doesn’t give this transgression any thought at all…It doesn’t do me any good to keep re-living this wound over and over again…” I have heard that the subconscious mind ignores the word “not” and every time we say we don’t want something we are really telling the subconscious we want it. Do you think this is true and how should it impact our tapping?
photo by Nathan Gibbs
It is really interesting that when we hear something said over and over again from a source that we deem credible, we take it as the truth. It would be too time consuming to question everything that we hear throughout the day, but a healthy sense of questioning is important, especially when what is said is contrary to our own experience.
Here are my thoughts on the matter.
1) How Is It Working For You?
Before I share my thoughts on what I think about what should be said with tapping we need to keep in mind the most important question when it comes to all types of tapping:
“How is it working for you?”
The nice thing about tapping is that it only takes a few moments to try something new. Assuming you are taking total responsibility for your health and your actions, give it a try.
This goes for the phrases you use, the places you tap, how long you tap on each point, and the order in which you tap on the points. If it works for you, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something new.
2) We Aren’t Tapping Anything In
EFT isn’t about tapping the good things in and tapping the bad things out. EFT is about bringing the system back to balance. The words we use aren’t magic and there are no right or wrong words. There are only useful and un-useful tapping phrases.
The tapping phrases we use are different from a daily affirmation or mantra. It is possible (and encouraged) to tap to these if you have found ones that are powerful and meaningful to you. It is important to remember that EFT is a very different process than changing your beliefs through exposure to new ideas in a cognitive way.
The goal of a tapping phrase is to help us to tune into the emotion around an issue and to get us in touch with the pain, misinformation, or limiting belief. It really doesn’t matter what those words are.
If saying, “I will never be a success” helps you to tune into the hopelessness you are feeling, then that is a perfect tapping phrase. You might want to add, “and I give myself permission to believe it will not always be this way” to expand the tapping experience.
With EFT finding a way to the emotion is more important than the words we choose to say while tapping.
3) Needing To Know What We Don’t Want
When we are in pain the thing we think most about is the pain. Because we are in pain it is hard to see past it so we often have to start with what we don’t want to be able to name what we do want.
For someone who wants to release weight they often need to tune into all the things they don’t like and are painful about carrying extra weight (physical pain, poor health, low self esteem, and/or shame of losing control) before they can name the things they do want.
All they can think of is what is wrong.
But we can build on these NOT statements.
- I do not want to be overweight, but instead I want to have a healthy body.
- I do not want to be ashamed of the way I look, but instead I want to be comfortable in my own body.
- I do not want people to see me as someone who has lost control of simple daily choices, but instead I want to be a model of self control for my children so they learn to feel empowered in their own lives.
The second half of these statements are powerful things to tap on, but I have found that tapping both the negative and positive can also be very powerful.
4) Is It Really True?
The most common place to hear people talk about “the subconscious mind ignoring the word not” is from the law of attraction community. Their thinking is not so much that the subconscious ignores the word “not,” but more the idea that when I think of the things I don’t want then I am giving them energy, which will in turn bring more of them into my life.
In the last few years scientists and social scientists have used a rigorous, repeatable methodology to test how visualizing the things we want relate to us getting what we want. The findings point to the fact that simply focusing on what we want is a demotivating factor and the more time we spend emotionally experiencing what we want in our minds, the less likely we are to take action.
Visualization is most powerful is when we tune into what we don’t want AND see ourselves solving the problems around it to achieve to what we do want.
If this were the case statements like, “I don’t want to be late” and “I don’t want to be in a car accident” would compel us to make choices to make us late and involved in accidents. Further studies have shown that by thinking about what we don’t want and creating a plan (like a fire escape route) we are much more likely to not get swept up in emotion, but instead make good choices that lead us to safety.
I will admit that I only did a cursory search, but I was not able to find any evidence supporting the claim that the subconscious ignores the word “not.” I was only able to find many sources stating it as fact.
As always, I am trying to learn more and would love to hear your thoughts. Please let me know in the comment section below if your experience is different, and if you can point me to any studies or research which give this idea credence.