So often we don’t begin our healing work because we think the work is too big, it feels too overwhelming, or it just feels impossible. In this podcast we talk about how important it is to just open the door a small crack to the healing process and how that can make all the difference in the world. Sometimes it just takes a small change to create radically different outcomes. We also spend time doing a little tapping for the feeling of overwhelm that comes with knowing we have lot of healing we want and need to do.
Archives for June 2011
photo by Bernardo Borghetti
For the last few months I have been blessed to be spending my Monday and Wednesday mornings in the local county jail helping out with the Advanced Anger Management class. It has been an amazing experience.
Recently I ran into my friend whose place I have taken as assistant teacher for the class. She asked, “Isn’t it addictive?” Addictive is the only way I can describe it. It is one of the coolest things I have going in my life right now.
I have learned so much from the class. These lessons are not limited to how best to use or teach tapping, but I have also learned lots of lessons about life. By first understanding these lessons it will make it easier for you to access the tools in this book.
Here are ten lessons that I learned from teaching tapping in jail:
One of my favorite things about the class is the fact that it has not been court-ordered. Everyone is in the class by choice. I will admit that a few of the guys show up because they receive a certificate of participation for their file upon completion, but even these guys fully participate.
There is no mystery about what is going on. These guys recognize that because of their anger they have made choices that have created negative outcomes and they want to change this. Sometimes they are trying to change just to avoid negative outcomes while other times they are trying to change in order to be better people overall.
Regardless of why they are in class, it is their choice. Because of this openness we are willing to push them and challenge them to look very honestly at their lives, their past choices, and their beliefs about themselves. Sometimes this is a little work, but we all need to be pushed a bit to be honest with ourselves.
Lesson 1: Healing and transformation will not take place unless it is a choice. We can’t force someone to change. We can encourage people to change and we can support people in their change work, but we cannot force someone else to change.
I am in awe of the woman who runs the class. She works for the county and is the one who is in charge of this class, as well as many others types of classes. She spends five days a week working inside an extremely restrictive environment trying to make the lives of a very marginalized population (both male and female) better. In her words and, more importantly, in her actions she shows how much she cares for the guys in class.
One of the main reasons the class works is because it feels like a safe space. The guys know they can talk about their issues and worries without fear of judgment or of negative repercussions. This safe and loving space exists because of the safe space that has been created with her heart.
One day the guys were asking if I am paid to teach the class. I told them I am a volunteer. When they asked the teacher the same questions she responded, “Yes, but they don’t pay me to care.” There are lots of people who the guys interact with in the facility who don’t care. She does, and it makes all the difference.
Lesson 2: It is important that the people we are working with understand that we care about them and that they are in a safe space when we work with them. Doing change work can be hard. Often we have to admit the things we don’t like about ourselves. Creating a loving and safe environment makes it easier for them to choose the steps to healing.
Other People’s Emotions
We spend a great deal of time in class working with the guys’ emotions about their relationships. These emotions fall into three basic categories. First there are the relationships that are contentious. These are normally relationships with the mothers of their children. Second, there are the relationships where they feel like they have let others down. The guys are seeing firsthand how their choices are affecting others like their parents, their partners, and their children. It is really hard to see how our choices negatively impact others. Finally, there are emotions about the relationships in which they feel helpless. Because they are incarcerated the guys can’t be helpful to their family members who are struggling with other personal problems.
As the guys have limited interaction with their loved ones (telephone, letters and occasional visits), it puts what they can and can’t control into stark relief. When we are around someone frequently, I think we misunderstand how much influence we have over someone else’s life. When we don’t have much contact with them, it becomes much more obvious just how little influence we really have.
Because of this, we help the guys to spend a great deal of time talking about and tapping for what they do have control over, which is their own emotions. (The tool we use the most is “About…To…As if…” which we will cover in Part 5 of this book.)
Lesson 3: In the end the only thing we control is our emotional response and our choices. We can’t control other people’s choices or their emotions nor are we responsible for other people’s choices or emotions. When we stop spending time and energy trying to change the emotions of others we can direct our energy to the place we have the most control: inside ourselves.
Twice A Week, Every Week
It is easy to pick out specific moments about the class to rave about. There are moments where there are amazing breakthroughs. There are great unplanned conversations about life where the guys wrestle with the really tough questions. As wonderful as these moments are they don’t happen all class long and they don’t even happen in every class. There are classes that feel long. There are times where the guys look at me bored, because I am sure they are bored with me.
Even though each class isn’t amazing they create a cumulative effect. By being there twice a week every week, it helps to build a relationship. The more we show up, the more the guys trust us and trust the tool set. Sometimes it takes weeks before one of the guys will open up in class, but it is because of the constant contact and relationship that the opening-up eventually happens.
Lesson 4: Not everyone will trust us and start tapping right away. Sometimes we have to prove ourselves and our commitment to them over time. This does not mean that we run people over with our care, but it is important that we demonstrate that we are there for the long haul.
What is that word?
Recently I brought to class a list of emotions that was created by The Center for Nonviolent Communication . The goal of the list is to help the guys develop a more specific vocabulary in describing how they feel. The more specifically we can describe how we feel, the easier it is to change how we feel.
When printed, the list is two pages long. After I handed out the list to the guys I started to explain why I had given them the list. As I was finishing “K” just blurted out, “What does this word mean?” He then asked about another and another and another. K is in his late thirties and is comfortable enough in his own skin that he wasn’t concerned what I (or his classmates) thought about the fact he didn’t understand something. His learning was more important than that.
I wish I could always approach learning in the same way.
Lesson 5: It is OK to admit that we don’t have all the answers and it is important to let others know that it is OK to ask for clarification when needed. If we remain in the dark we will not learn and we will often feel stupid because we don’t know, which in turn shuts down the learning and/or healing process.
Filling The Tool Box
There are lots of reasons why guys don’t make it to class. It could be the unit’s day to go to the library, they could be meeting with their lawyer, they could be in court, or something could have happened overnight and their unit is in lockdown so that no one can leave for any reason.
Because of this reality it is hard to teach concepts that build upon previous work because you never know who is going to be there and which classes they have already attended. To combat this I have broken down all the topics down into discrete parts. Each part contains two pieces: a tool that can be used right now and an explanation of how it fits into the big picture.
“Ten Steps To Tap For Any Emotion” is a perfect example of this approach that I created for class. If you know the tapping points and follow the steps you will find relief. When working with the guys I presented the steps one at a time and had them write out their answers for each step.
After they completed the whole process we spent some time talking about how and why the process worked. We talked about the importance of each step and how it impacted the overall results.
In the end it didn’t matter if they understood any of the big picture stuff. Of course understanding the big picture makes using and customizing the tools easier, but if the tools are understood and used regularly they will bring healing, and that is what is most important.
Lesson 6: Don’t give people concepts and theory. Give them tools they can use right now to improve their lives. If they are interested in theory they will ask about it. It is more important for someone to regain control of their life than it is for them to be able explain what is happening on an energetic level when someone is experiencing psychological reversal. This book is put together in such a way that you don’t have to understand any of the concepts to be successful. If you work the steps you will see change.
Because of the nature of the facility it is hard to get the guys to class. They come from as many as ten different units, many of the inmates are not allowed to move through the facility on their own, class lists need to be submitted ahead of time, keys need to be checked out by officers, and the classroom has to be unlocked. There are an amazing number of moving parts and because of this we have two hour classes twice a week. This is so we can get a maximum amount of time in class with the least amount of disruption to the facility.
To be honest, two hours is a really difficult length of time in which to teach. It is just a little too long to go straight through and it is too short to take a break. It can be hard to hold the guys’ attention and sometimes I find it hard to keep my energy up as a teacher for two straight hours. Also, the class is at 8:30 am so many of the guys have just rolled out of bed and aren’t yet fully awake.
Lesson 7: When you are doing this type of work it is important that you don’t try to do too much at once. It is best to set aside a time each day to do this work instead of trying to do everything in one go. If you teaching this type of class it is important that when planning your material you keep in mind how long people can stay focused, how long you can teach, and the energy level of the room based on what has come right before class. If you are going to be teaching for a large chunk of time, switch from direct teaching/lecturing to providing experiential/hands-on activities in order to keep everyone focused and energized.
Breathe In And Hold
Tapping in public can be a little bit embarrassing. Let’s be honest, it does look rather silly. You can only imagine how much harder it must be to tap in jail! There is no privacy, your reputation can be very important, and you definitely don’t want to look foolish.
At the beginning of one of the classes I asked the guys how it was going and if they were tapping back in the unit on their own. One of the guys said that he wasn’t tapping, but he tried one of the “breathing thingies.” (At the beginning or the end of most of the classes we do a guided imagery or breathing exercise. He was referring to one of these.)
He said that he was having a really hard time falling asleep because the jail is never quiet. There is always someone talking or something banging. Not being able to fall asleep really agitates him. He said that doing one of the breathing exercises calmed him enough to fall asleep. He then apologized for not tapping.
I told him that it didn’t matter if he tapped or not. What was most important is he recognized what was going on, reached for a tool that he thought might work for him, and then used it. That was all I could ever ask for.
Lesson 8: It is always about doing what makes sense and is useful. It is never about the toolset. I would love it if everyone in the world learned to tap, but I would love it even more if everyone were willing to take responsibility for their own healing and do something about it. It is easy for us to get wrapped up in getting people to tap because it has been so effective for us. We shouldn’t let our love of the tool get in the way of other people’s healing. When working through this book you will find things that work for you and things that don’t. Do the ones that work for you.
If You Have Time In Your Busy Schedule
One day in class I was introducing a tool that would take less than ten minutes to work through. I turned to the guys and said, “Sometime in the next 48 hours I would appreciate it if you could find some time in your busy schedule to carve out five or ten minutes to try this on your own.” They all looked at me stunned and then broke out laughing.
Lesson 9: It is good to be honest about where you are. It is not a mystery that the guys are in jail, that they have limited freedom, and are wearing colored jumpsuits for a reason. They know they are in jail. I know they are in jail. Being honest about where we are and what is going on gives us the greatest chance for healing. As you engage in the tools in this book remember you are not being graded and no one will see your answers. This is about you and your healing. The more honest you are about what is going on, the more likely it is that you will effect change and transformation.
Lesson 10: Just because something is grave doesn’t mean it has to be serious all the time. There are lots of things that are both serious and important, but I have found in my own life that if I lose my sense of humor in the serious moments I am more likely to feel overwhelmed. It is ok for us to laugh. Gallows humor can be very helpful and healing. Don’t be afraid to joke about what you are going through. There are times where joking about how far you need to go will help your healing process.
* * * *
I have learned so much by being stretched by these guys. It has forced me to rethink the way I teach and what I can learn from the classes I teach. I hope you are willing to stretch yourself a little and share tapping with someone outside your comfort zone.
If you do I would love to hear how it goes in the comments below.
In this podcast my friend Jondi Whitis discuss a bunch of topics around tapping and healing. In the conversation we cover:
- Being able to be honest about where we really are and why that is paramount to healing.
- Using where we are to build on knowing where would like to be.
- How to stay in the moment (which leads to healthier choices).
- Noticing what is happening emotionally.
- Is tapping similar to hypnotic induction?
- Why we resist healing and how can we deal with it.
- Why tapping doesn’t work when I tap on my own.
- How I can move forward and still feel like I am going backwards.
- What to do when I don’t know what I want.
- What to do when a client doesn’t know how to talk about their emotions.
How do I continue to grow my understanding that I am enough.
Conversation with: Jondi Whitis
Jondi’s Contact: web @ EFT4Results.com;
About Jondi: Jondi Whitis is a certified EFT Master Trainer, Practitioner, Mentor and Board Member for AAMET International, delighting in creating practitioners of excellence. She’s passionately interested in refining and up-levelling core EFT skillsets, cutting-edge techniques, and training for practitioners and trainers worldwide, upholding the most thorough and professional EFT standards. She offers deeply personal, hands-on training to anyone interested in heart-centered healing, from children to teachers, parents to professionals, and for diverse communities worldwide, including veterans, Native Americans, teachers, healthcare professionals, and those who work with kids.
An ‘integration specialist’, Jondi enthusiastically guides each person to find authentic ways to integrate EFT into their purpose, professional practice and life. Join her in person, at the annual gathering just north of NYC, Spring Energy Event
[Note: In this article I am going to be addressing the role of the critical voice. I am going to speak as if the critical voice has a personality and motives. I am not saying the critical voice is a distinct personality or that it is separate from us in any way. But by speaking of it as if it is distinct it will give us the ability to deal effectively with only one part of our personality, helping us to get some perspective on what is going on and enabling faster transformation.]
One of the reasons that I love EFT/tapping is because it is very effective in dealing with our critical voice. The critical voice is nothing more than that little nagging voice that is always pointing out everything we have done wrong, everything we are going to do wrong, and everything we are never going to be.
Sometimes this voice is nothing more than a simple annoyance, while at other times it can be so crippling that it prevents us from getting out of bed in the morning.
Because of this most of us don’t have a very good relationship with our critical voice. Many of us resent it and even hate it. One of the underlying themes of my work is to transform the relationship we have with ourselves and with parts of our personality in order to facilitate lasting change. Working with our critical voice is a perfect example of a place where we can apply this principle.
It is very difficult for us to transform our critical voice when we are angry at it. When we are angry at a part of our personality it will entrench itself and fight back. If we are willing to change our attitude toward this part of our personality then we can get it to work with us to create lasting and deep transformation.
Before we can begin the process we need to understand why the critical voice exists.
And the reason might surprise you.
The Critical Voice Exists To Make Our Life Better
I know that statement is very hard to believe. I would even be willing to bet that when you read that statement there was a strong emotional reaction against it, but it’s true.
All parts of our personality exist because they are trying to bring us to our higher good. Just because a part’s motivation is for higher good does NOT mean that it is leading us to our higher good. In this example the critical voice is not pointing things out to make us feel bad or to punish us, but instead is doing so to help us see the errors of our ways so that we will make better choices in the future.
And yes, I know, it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like it is just judging and criticizing.
But, when we are able to recognize that it is trying to help us, it will make it easier for us to transform it into something that is truly helpful. As you will see in this process we do not need to celebrate what the critical voice has done to us to recognize its motivation.
The Process For Transforming Your Critical Voice with Tapping and EFT
One of the nice things about the EFT/tapping protocols is that they are very short and give us the chance to try something out for a few minutes. If it doesn’t work then we can return to what we were doing before. This process is no different. You should be able to complete this process in under 10 minutes.
If you don’t buy my “The critical voice is here to help you, but is just doing it in the wrong way”, I would encourage you to give this process a try. If it doesn’t work out for you then go back to being mad at the critical voice. The only thing you will have lost is a few minutes tapping on something new.
1) Tune in and connect with the critical voice.
In this step all we need to do is connect with the critical voice. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and listen for the voice. It will not be hard to find. Pay attention to where the voice is coming from.
- Is it something that is internal or external?
- Is it the voice of someone you know, does it sound like your speaking voice, or is it some other voice?
- If you were to imagine that the voice belonged to a body, what would that body look like?
The specific answers to these questions aren’t important, but by asking them it will be easier for us to connect with the critical part of ourselves, allowing us to do healing work.
2) Affirm the critical voice.
This is going to be the most difficult step of the process because of the hurt and harm we associate with the critical voice. It is important to note that when doing this step we are NOT affirming the tactics of the critical voice and we are NOT affirming the way we feel after we encounter our critical voice. What we are affirming is that it is a part of us that is willing to work very hard to move us to a better life. To do this we would tap on something like:
I would like to give thanks for my critical voice…I am NOT thankful for the tactic that it is using…I am NOT thankful for the way I feel after I experience the critical voice…I am thankful for the fact that there is a part of me that is willing to work so hard…I know that even though it is not doing this…it is trying to make my life better…my critical voice thinks it is making my life better…it thinks that if it berates me…or if it points out everything that is going wrong…that it is going make me make better choices in the future…the critical voice is a very powerful part of me…even if it is not working in a productive way…I know it is working for my betterment…I am thankful that there is a part of me that is willing to work day and night…thinking it is doing what is best for me.
After doing a round of tapping like this we will take some of the edge off. We might not be super-happy with the critical voice, but there is less animosity towards it. At this point that is all we are trying to achieve. When we move from a state of animosity then we are no longer fighting a part of ourselves, and we can now start to work with it.
3) Explain to the critical voice what it is really doing.
As stated above the critical voice in most cases believes that if it is constantly pointing out every flaw and fault, it will motivate us to make better choices. Its motives are either “You don’t know you are doing something wrong?” and/or “You don’t realize the consequences of these choices?”
In almost every case we are fully aware of the information that the critical voice is providing. In many cases the critical voice is actually over-stating and/or over-reacting to the situation around us. Because we have taken the last step and created a bit of a truce with the critical voice, we can now speak to it with new information.
In this step we are simply going let the critical voice know the consequences of its actions. Try tapping like this:
I know the critical voice is trying to be helpful…but it isn’t…the critical voice is pointing out things I already know…and many times is it pointing out things in a way that is much worse that it really is…the critical voice thinks it is going to encourage me by pointing out my failings…instead I find having every flaw and failing being pointed out to be disheartening…debilitating…I find it very hurtful…I find that it makes it very difficult to believe in myself…it is not pushing me to be better…but instead it is sucking my ability to try right out of my system…I know the critical voice believes it is being helpful…it is not…it is not creating a feeling of encouragement for better…it is creating a feeling of shame…shame is not an emotion of achievement and growth…shame is a feeling of not wanting to try.
4) Show the critical voice proof of its past tactics.
At this point it is very helpful to show the critical voice the proof of what we have just been tapping on. Again, just tune into the critical voice, begin to tap from point to point, and show the critical voice proof of all the ways it has been hurtful and debilitating.
5) Transforming the critical voice into something helpful.
When doing the process with clients there is something very interesting that happens. Clients describe the fact that they can feel the critical voice feeling bad that it has not done its job. I have even had clients describe their critical voice as feeling bad because it feels it is about to be eliminated from the system.
Because we are not fighting with the critical voice (like we were in the beginning), but instead have a relationship with it, we can now guide it to a resource that his helpful. The tapping for this transformation might look like this:
I know the critical voice is very powerful…I have felt the force of its power…but instead of pointing out all of the things I have done wrong…there is a way this voice can be more helpful…I want to harness the power of the voice to be used for my higher good…because I know this voice wants my higher good…I want this voice to stop being a critical voice and become an encouraging voice…because I respond so much better to encouragement…I want this encouraging voice to pick me up when I am down …I want this encouraging voice to push me on to take those last few hard steps…I want the encouraging voice to help me to get started when I can’t quite focus on the task at hand…I want the encouraging voice to use the power it had to see my faults in the past to start to look forward to the opportunities in my future…I want this encouraging voice to move me forward…not keep me stuck in the past…when it does this I will move forward and heal.
This is a very empowering step.
6) Giving the encouraging voice the resources and tools to do its new job.
Just because we want the voice to change (and just because the critical voice wants to become the encouraging voice) doesn’t mean the change is going to happen. I have had many clients describe the feeling of having the critical voice being on board with the change but not know what to do next.
I have found the easiest way to complete the change is to ask the critical/encouraging voice what it needs for transformation. The process for this is simple. First, start tapping from point to point. Second, tune back into the critical/encouraging voice. Third, ask it one of the following questions. Fourth, if it states a need based on the questions simply imagine that need being fulfilled.
For example, if it needs permission to change, give it permission. If it needs to know how to encourage you, show it.
Here is a list of sample questions you can ask the voice to help it transform from critical to encouraging.
- Do you need permission to transform?
- Do you need training to transform? If so what type?
- Do you energy to transform? If so what type?
- Do you need to be connected to other parts of the system? What type of connections need to be made?
- What do you need from me to make the transformation?
7) Reassure the encouraging voice.
Even when we choose to make this type of transformation it doesn’t always take place all at once. And that is ok. The transformation process can take time. We want the healing to happen in a fashion that is long lasting. We are not looking for a short-term quick fix.
The last part of the process is to reassure the encouraging voice that this is going to take time and that we are willing to help it through the transformation.
Try tapping like this:
I am very happy that my internal voice is willing to become an encouraging voice…I know this process is going to take a little time…which is ok because I want lasting change…not a quick fix…I want my encouraging voice to know that I don’t expect it to be perfect right way…I know it is going to need to learn its way into this new role…I commit to check in regularly with the encouraging voice…making sure it has everything it needs to complete this transformation…I give the encouraging voice permission to ask for help from me…even when I am not checking in with it…this is a change that is good for me now…and for the future.
8) Check back regularly.
If this is a process that is helpful for you I would encourage you to do it two or three times a month for a few months to help this transformation process along. I think it is obvious how making the small change of changing one aspect of our personality will cascade into many radical changes in our lives.
We all know the EFT mantra, “Try it on everything!” Deborah Miller took this completely to heart. Today she visits a cancer ward five days a week where she has the opportunity to work with children, parents, and even the hospital staff. In this interview she talks about her experience, what she has learned, and her hopes for the future.
Even if you don’t know someone with cancer and you don’t think you will ever work in a hospital setting I encourage you to listen to this interview. There are many specific lessons you can apply to your own daily tapping practice and also in introducing tapping to others.
Guest: Deborah D. Miller PhD
Contact Deborah: website and Tapping Guides @ DeborahMiller.org
About Deborah: Deborah D. Miller, Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology is passionate about helping people feel empowered and capable of maintaining a healthy state of mind and body.
Deborah is an EFT Expert and Trainer, Deeksha Giver, Reiki Master, Nutritional Guide, Personal Motivation Guide and internationally recognized author. She understands the necessity of working with the emotional aspects underlying ‘dis-ease’ within the body and the need to cleanse and nourish the physical body. Her personal journey of improving her own immune system gives her hands-on experience of the requirements for improving one’s energy levels and health.
Deborah volunteers at a children’s cancer wing in Oaxaca, Mexico, applying EFT and energy techniques to the children, parents and nurses helping them reduce stress, fear and anxiety while improving their mental and emotional health in a way that is complementary to the treatments given at the hospital.
Helping these children has led Deborah to a heart-felt, passionate and inspired goal. She is dedicating herself to helping at least 1,000,000 men, women and children prevent future illness (mental, emotional or physical) using the simplest, easiest and most economical methods. Tap, eat & drink your way to health!
Deborah is the author of the beautifully illustrated book “The Dragon with Flames of Love”, (English: book | kindle; Español: libro | Kindle en Español; Français: livre
) which is dedicated to empowering parents and children facing the challenge of a serious illness in a way that provides relief and peace, and “Green Drink Red Drink”, which provides information and recipes on how to add healthy greens to your meals.
Deborah has been a guest on the Tapping Q&A Podcast a number of times. Make sure you check out her past appearances.
Links to Deborah’s work:
We are taught when tapping it very import to be as specific as possible. The more specific we are the faster Emotional Freedom Techniques(EFT)/tapping works. Sometimes it is better to take a more global approach to an issue. Instead of moving from the general to the specific we can use the specific to find our way to a much deeper issue. When doing this we see the specific as being a symptom to a much larger issue that we weren’t aware of. In this article Vermont based practitioner Jade Barbee shares an experience were he was able to take a very specific issue to find a much deeper issue to do work on.
[Jade Barbee shares EFT from his office in Southern Vermont. He specializes in using EFT to help people recover from the effects of trauma of all kinds, as well as step into a greater sense of personal power, authority, self-esteem and authentic expression. His friend Ganesha is in private practice in New Orleans and can be reached at reikiganesh [at] gmail.com.]
Recently, I learned something very powerful about practicing EFT that I’d like to share. A practitioner friend named Ganesha, a friend and recent student of Sonya Sophia out in California, did something with me that has not only been beneficial for me personally, but has also strengthened my ability to help others. In essence, by offering a gentle, thorough line of questioning, he helped me release my problem. I believe this happened because I was able to make connections at the beginning of our session that served to disarm my resistance to looking deeply at what was going on with me.
Many practitioners are familiar with the importance of asking good questions and building rapport with your client. What was new to me was how Ganesh allowed the details and intensities to linger while we delved deeper and deeper into my subjective experience of the issue. This is something I had previously touched on in many sessions, but never quite like this. Later what I realized was so powerful about this approach was how our exploration seemed to naturally disarm any body resistance to change (called PR or Psychological Reversal).
Our rapport together was also strengthened, and I literally felt so held and free by his gentle line of questioning, there was literally no real need to use the “setup” phrase during the entire process. Experienced EFTers will also notice how we employed the strategy of “continuous tapping” on acupuncture points during the discussion – which helped my body clear the energy of the words as we tapped. He also tested and measured my intensity levels around the original issue as well as several other aspects that were uncovered along the way.
My Body Won’t Let Go
We began with me talking about my “issue.” I had just awoken from a nap at a friends house and had noticed my jaw was tight and that I felt frightened. It had occurred to me that this was a somewhat common occurrence. I started to describe my symptoms:
“It feels like I’m scared to sleep sometimes. Like I’m afraid to completely let go. It’s almost as if my consciousness is hanging on for dear life and won’t let go of the bed.”
He asked me to put my issue into a few succinct words. We decided upon, “My body won’t let go.”
What Are Some Negative Feelings You Have Around “My Body Won’t Let Go?”
In other words, he was asking me what is was like to experience what I was going through. My EFTer’s mind was racing: I remembered that these symptoms had appeared in my late twenties, and I knew that there had been trauma that was a likely cause. However, I actually didn’t want to revisit this today. Instead I chose to go with the sense that something else, something earlier in my life was involved. Ganesha was already tapping, and motioned that I could tap along as well. So I tapped as I talked, one thought per point or so:
“Frustrating. It isn’t safe. Disappointing. I can’t fix it. Out of control. Awareness of teeth clicking. Unease. Trepidation. Limitation. Stuckness. The stuckness is about a 7 (on an intensity scale of 1-10).”
As many people know, EFT can be applied to any one of these words or phrases – each one a possibly rich healing doorway, but Ganesha encouraged me to keep tapping while he gently questioned me some more:
What’s Some of Your Negative Self-Talk Around This?
“You should be free of this. All this EFT and you can’t be free of this? You’re doing something wrong. You’re irreparably broken.”
I was kind of surprised at what was coming out of my mouth, but it was honest, and I sensed the tapping – and Ganesha’s gentle voice, was really helping things flow. I did really want to get to the bottom of “body won’t let go,” not just in my sleep habits, but in my musical, creative expression as well.
What Do You Think Are Some of the Cultural Beliefs Around This?
Immediately I came out with:
“Letting go isn’t safe – I might be out of control. I might be too much. Things might get out of hand. If things get out of hand, they might embarrass someone. Maybe someone else will feel bad. Oh my god, I’m totally seeing an image of my mother.”
What is Your Earliest Memory of This?
This one was easy:
“My mother disapproved. At 10 or 11, she could shut me down with just one look. I made her feel uncomfortable. My behavior was too much for her. Too girly for a young boy. Too expressive. I had to protect her from me. I think I still do that. Letting go is never safe. Always trying to let go, but how can anyone TRY to let go? It’s impossible! I’ll never be able to let go. Music. It’s part of why I have never given myself over to music.”
Ganesh asked for some intensity levels around what was coming up for me. Sad: 8 (out of 10). I responded with some more thoughts about letting go, knowing from my own work that imagining the possibility of “letting go” might bring up some more core stuff. I continued to talk and tap:
“I don’t know if I can do that. I don’t know if I can let go consistently. What might happen if I did? If I let go, others might be hurt. I was always worried about letting go and hurting others.”
What Happened Before When You Did Let Go?
“I lost control. People got hurt. It was ugly. I could have killed someone. I was afraid to hurt others. It was also humiliating. It was shameful when I did lose control.”
At this point a clear memory surfaced. I was seeing myself as a 10 year old, dancing in the laundry room of one of my childhood homes. I tapped and described the scene before me and how I had been mercilessly teased by the neighborhood kids who had been spying on me. How there had been no privacy in that house and how angry I had been. I recognized that there were literally a cascade of emotions, aspects and other memories here, but it felt right to just bring my attention back to this one, specific memory. I continued to visualize myself as a young man, then talk about the house and that time in my life, including all the players involved. It was at this point Ganesh took me back to my original phrase with some systematic tapping:
“Eyebrow Point (EB): Body Won’t Let Go
Side of Eye (SE): Body Won’t Let Go
Under Eye (UE): Body Won’t Let Go…”
Long story short, we continued to tap through “Body Won’t Let Go,” stopping to measure the intensity (in this case, the truth) of the original statement. I actually couldn’t find much truth in the statement at all by this time, and the “stuckness” (remember if was a 7) was now quite low as well.
As our session drew to a close, we discussed the many aspects that had come up, and how I could use EFT to “sweep out the corners” or investigate other areas further as the days went on. I was thankful that he had four pages of notes outlining the process for me to take home.
The Ability to See the Big Picture
In the days that have followed, the most startling effect from our session is my approach to my creative work. Something powerful has shifted within me, and I’m heartily exploring my musical work in ways I never have in the past.
I have also been awakening with a greater sense of peace and confidence in all my abilities – and having this last throughout the day. I attribute this profound shift to this latest session.
In EFT, we are always on the lookout for core issues, but sometimes a core issue is so big, it’s like we’re standing too close to a large painting. Tapping through the questions in the way we did was a like a slow stepping back. With each step the whole story was allowed to come into greater focus. I am greatly appreciative to my friend Ganesha (and his recent teacher Sonya Sophia) for their mindful approach to EFT. Stay tuned!
This article was written while being powered by a few cups of coffee bought by Judy Fay of Ireland. Thanks Judy!
I know that I need to spend time tapping on my issues, but I can’t seem to get myself to do it. After the fact (of not tapping) I feel a lot worse because I haven’t done the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)/tapping that I know works. Is there any way I can get over my block about sitting down to tap?
There are lots of reasons that we don’t sit down to tap. We can be afraid that we are going to open-up something that is too big to handle on our own, we don’t like stepping into negative emotions, or we are afraid that it is not going work.
I have found that there are many layers to our resistance that prevent us from sitting down to do the work. In a lot of ways these layers of resistance remind me of the Everlasting Gobstopper from the Wonka candy company. (The photo is a cross-section of a giant Gobstopper-like candy cut in half.)
A gobstopper is a hard candy that has a number of different colored and flavored candy shell layers surrounding a sweet-tart center. As you suck on the candy each colored shell melts away to reveal a new color and flavor. In the end (assuming you don’t just bite through it) you end up with a nice treat in the sweet-tart.
The way in which I see this as an analogy for our work and resistance is like this…
The sweet-tart candy center is the root cause of the issue we are working with. It is the part we need to get to, but there are a number of different types of resistances that can prevent us from getting to the root cause. As we deal with one type of resistance it reveals the next layer of resistance. It is easy to see this next hard layer of resistance being too much to even try to resolve. Each layer of resistance creates another chance for us to give up.
If you find yourself struggling to sit down to tap on a particular issue you might be struggling with resistance to doing the work. An easy way to deal with this is to start at the outer-most layer of resistance. If there is no resistance of this type you can move to the next layer. If you do notice a particular type of resistance, spend a little time tapping for it before moving to the next level.
The layers and tapping process might look like this:
I Don’t Believe Tapping Will Work For This Issue
It is very common for us to come upon an issue that we don’t think tapping is going to work for. We might think, “Sure it works for something small like craving chocolate, but there is no way it is going to deal with my low self-esteem issues.” If you don’t think tapping will work for this issue then you can tap like this:
I know tapping works for some issues…I have even felt it working in my life…But when it has worked before it was on something really small…the issue I need to tap on now is too big or too complicated for tapping to work…I don’t want to waste my time on something that won’t work…tapping for something that I know is too big is just a waste of time…I hate spending time on an issue and not making any progress…I feel like a failure…but I know that even if it doesn’t provide complete relief it is worth my time to begin to deal with the issue…a small amount of progress is valuable…and if I make a small amount of progress today…it is going to give me something to build on…Bit-by-bit I will make progress…and I know that even if it doesn’t work…it is only a small amount of time to try…If it doesn’t work I can try something else…but I am willing to give it a few minutes of tapping.
I Don’t Believe Tapping Will Work For Me For This Issue
The next layer of resistance is very much like the first, but it is a slightly different flavor. This resistance is much more personal. It is not that tapping won’t work for the issue, but tapping won’t work for me for the issue. When we believe that it is too much for me or I am too far-gone for it to work for me we can tap on this:
I know tapping works…I have seen tapping work in my life…I have seen tapping work in other people’s lives…I have even seen tapping work for people who have the same issue as me…but I am different…my issue is much bigger…I am much deeper in my issue…I don’t have the same tapping skill as other people…It might have worked for them…but it is not going to work for me…But I give myself permission to know that I am not different from others…My issue might feel different…My issue might feel bigger…My issue might feel stronger…But I know that if tapping works for someone else it can work for me…I might have to approach it in a different way than someone else…I might need to spend a little more time than someone else…but I know that tapping can work…and I just need to spend a little time working at it…to figure out the best way to do it…Tapping has worked before…and it will work again for me…and it will work for this issue.
It Is Too Big and I Don’t Know Where To Start
Tapping for a craving or a sore muscle is an easy thing. We know exactly what to tap on. There are many other issues that are much bigger, like having low self esteem, that are knit into every part of our lives, and so we don’t know where to start. Because there is not a clear starting point, we just don’t start. If this is the case, we can tap on this:
The issue I want to tap on feels so big…It touches so many parts of my life…and it runs so deep…because it is so big I don’t know where to begin…It is like trying to pick up a four-foot-high pile of clothing…There is just no way to get it all at once…It is big and unmanageable…I feel that if I try to tap for this I am just going to be spinning my wheels because I won’t be doing any significant work…But I choose to know that no matter where I start…it is a good place to start…because every part is connected to the root issue…By going after a bit of it…any bit of it…I am doing work on the larger issue…As I work on one small part…it is going to lead me to another small part…With each small part I knock out…the closer I am going to be to the root cause in the middle…Sure I might not find that root today…and I might not find it tomorrow…but by doing it bit-by-bit I am leading myself to working toward the root issue…I am going to be easy with myself as I try and manage the issue…A little time will go a long way…besides, this way is better – I’d rather approach the root issue slowly like this anyway…layer-by-layer…because I don’t want to suddenly come up on the root issue and get overwhelmed.
It Is Too Painful To Get Into The Specifics
Sometimes we don’t want to tap on an issue because we have a good idea of how painful the work is going to be. The issue is so painful that we don’t want to dive in. Why would we want to put ourselves through the pain? Because of this we don’t spend time tapping on the issue. If you aren’t tapping because if feels like it is going to be too painful then we can tap like this:
I know I want to heal in this part of my life…But it is just too painful…I am going to start tapping on this issue and it is going to open a whole can of worms…I am going to get lost in my emotions…It will be too much…It will make things worse…And I am going to be stuck in an emotional funk for the rest of the day…It is going to do more harm than good to tap on this issue…But I know that I can do tapping without having to dip into all the issue…I can tap without having to dive into the details…I can just tap on the outlying symptoms…and this will make a difference…Any tapping I do is good tapping…As I poke-away at this bit-by-bit this issue will begin to feel smaller and smaller…and I won’t get lost in the emotions…I give myself permission to tap on the issue and know that I don’t need to get lost in the emotions…and know that I can stop any time it feels like it is too much…But by knowing I can take my time, this truth will help me to go after this…Even if it is just in a small way…I give myself permission to keep myself emotionally safe.
I Don’t Know What The Root Issue Is and I Am Never Going To Figure It Out
Once we get to the point where we feel safe enough to tap we can still be overwhelmed by not knowing what the root cause or root memory is. When this happens we can resist doing the work we want to do because it feels like we are going to fail. When we don’t tap because we aren’t sure of the root cause, we can tap on this:
I know tapping is more effective when I am more specific…I know that when I have a specific memory I am going to make progress fast with tapping…For this issue I don’t know what the specific memory is…I don’t know what the root cause is…Because of that I don’t feel like tapping is going to help…I feel like it is going to be a waste of time…but I know that not every issue has a specific memory tied to it…and I don’t need to know the core issue to start…If I spend time tapping on an issue I am going to learn more and more about the issue…The more I learn about the issue the more progress I am going to make…The more progress I make the more I am going to learn about this issue…and bit-by-bit I am going to knock the issue out…I don’t have to know the root cause to make progress…I don’t need to know the event from my past to make progress…All I need to do is spend time working with the parts I do know and understand…Even if all I understand is that I feel one emotion…as long as I can feel something about the issue…that is enough…The more I tap on that one part…the more it is going to open up…I will be making progress…AND I will be learning what I need to tap on next…I don’t have to understand it all to tap.
The Dirty Little Secret Of Tapping On Layers Of Resistance
If you take your time and start tapping on the outer-most layer of resistance and work your way along, the next thing you know you will be working on the root of the issue. But there is a dirty little secret to the layers of resistance: The resistance is the issue!
What I mean by this is that when you are working on the resistance to working on an issue you are really dealing with parts of the issue itself. This does not mean that all we need to do is deal with the resistance, but often time the resistance to doing the work is 70% of the work that needs to be done.
Again if we go back to our Gobstopper analogy, the hard candy shell is a large part of the candy. The goal isn’t to only get to the sweet tart center, but to also enjoy the hard candy shells as we work to the center.
The same is true with our resistance. By clearing the resistance, not only are we clearing-out the resistance, but we are clearing-out parts of the issue, leaving us with much less work when we get to the root cause.
One of the biggest blocks for beginning tappers is using the setup phrase, “Even though…I love and accept myself.” Sometimes we just don’t believe it. Sometimes it is painful to think of how we don’t love and accept ourselves, and because of this we don’t spend time tapping.
In this interview I chat with Steve Wells about the idea of self acceptance. During our conversation I quickly came to realize that Steve and I see acceptance and resistance in the same way. We talk about Steve’s own (continuing) journey to self acceptance, how he made significant progress using a simple 30-day process, and how moving towards self acceptance heals many other issues in our lives.
(Full transcript below)
Guest: Steve Wells
Contact: web @ EFTDownunder.com
About Steve: Steve Wells is an international leadership coach and peak performance consultant based in Perth, Western Australia. He helps people to overcome the hidden blocks to achieving their goals and getting what they really want from life.
Steve was one of the first to apply tapping to performance enhancement work with elite athletes and to take tapping to the corporate environment. He regularly teaches and consults worldwide with elite sport and business achievers to improve their performance and enhance the performance of their teams.
Steve is co-creator (with Dr David Lake) of the user-friendly tapping approach Simple Energy Techniques (SET) and the unique advanced Energy-based approach Provocative Energy Techniques (PET). He has helped thousands of people through his worldwide personal development and professional training workshops.
Steve is on the faculty of the Curtin University Centre for Entrepreneurship, where he presents to business owners and senior leaders on peak performance and resilience. He is also on the faculty of the Emotional Intelligence Institute. He is co-author of 4 books, including Enjoy Emotional Freedom.
Steve’s programs and presentations are always inspiring, engaging and filled with powerful practical strategies you can use immediately to get better results – with less stress. More information on Steve and his programs can be found at eftdownunder.com and stevewells.com.au.
In this interview Steve talks about a 4 part series on how he moved towards self acceptance. Here are all four parts Self Accptance Series
TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH STEVE
Gene: What’s your definition of self-acceptance and why is it significant in the work you do with your clients?
Steve: It’s a big topic. It’s something which we got lead into through our work with doing EFT. In EFT, everybody says the self-accepting statement but as it turns out, we find out that actually helped a lot of people to tune in to non-self-acceptance. It’s kind of this thing that a lot of people are carrying which is the sense of not being good enough in some way. In fact there’s one negative self-belief I would say that if I’m not good enough, that’s kind of like a universal belief that everybody seems to have on some level – that I would call lack of self-acceptance. That lack of self-acceptance comes out in all kind of ways, not just in terms of what we do to ourselves and in terms of how we treat ourselves but also how we treat other people. The old saying what we don’t like in ourselves we can’t project on to others, what we see in others that we don’t like is the disowned part of ourselves. I think ultimately self-acceptance and accepting all the parts of yourself is necessary before you can accept other people. Ultimately, it’s something that’s necessary before you have any kind of world peace. The peace actually starts within our own hearts. I see that that’s a process of opening ourselves up to loving ourselves so that we can love other people. It’s a necessary step for us to have any kind of inner peace as well as outer peace.
Gene: You defined really clearly there what’s it like to not have self-acceptance, so what’s the opposite of that? What does self-acceptance look like then?
Steve: Well, I can tell you what it feels like.
Gene: That would be great! That’s perfect!
Steve: A lot of people know I had a journey with self-acceptance. In fact it’s an ongoing journey. There are always more bits and pieces to this because we seem to have so much stuff that’s hot-wired into us, from childhood and so on. But when I started with EFT myself, I remembered sitting in my office one day. I was not feeling happy with myself and my life and the way things are going. I was sitting in front of the computer and as I would often do, I was typing out the issues. I was kind of putting them, as you do in EFT, into the set-up statement. In the set-up statement in EFT, you say “even though I have this problem, I deeply and completely accept myself”. I took one look at that statement I thought I do not accept myself at all because of having this problem. In fact the problem that I was having which was I was wasting a lot of time, that I should have been doing profound things in the world, I was just playing internet games. I was playing chess against people in India and places like that, and just getting frustrated with myself for wasting my time doing it. Also, I spent so much time in front of the computer I get a sore neck and a sore back and all kinds of stuff. Anyway, I started working on that issue. I thought the issue is not the issue. The issue is my lack of acceptance of my self. That was the first realization. I thought, okay, I started applying the tapping process to the real problem which was my not accepting myself because of having this problem. I set myself an intention to do a 30-day trial of accepting myself no matter what. Right now, I kind of accept myself because of this problem, in fact at the time I was kind of putting these things. As I did the tapping and as I fought them and as I felt them, I would try to put that response in the computer and I could see that in front of me. The first moment I thought okay, I’m going to accept myself even though I have this problem. The reaction was no, I can not accept myself because I’ve got this problem. This problem makes me a bad person. It makes me wrong in all kinds of ways and so on.
Gene: When you say you created a 30-day intention, did you mean that you were going to tap on it for 30 days?
Steve: I was actually going to work on getting to the state where I could accept myself even though I had that problem, the stuff that we say in EFT which doesn’t happen just because we say it. A lot of people seem to think that there’s some magic in the words. It’s not, I can tell you. We don’t actually use those statements anymore. We found that unless we want people to tune in to that particular issue, we found that the set-up statement tunes them into their non-self-acceptance. We would have people saying “I deeply and completely reject myself” which is more true to them than “I deeply and completely accept myself”.
Gene: I’m seeing the exact same thing for sure.
Steve: Yeah. In fact anyone who believes there’s magic in the words can try doing those opposites, and people actually take them quite quickly. They get shifts on their issues much more quickly in some cases, most cases; especially if you do it with humor.
Gene: How over those 30 days did you specifically tap on this idea of self-acceptance?
Steve: I started with whatever was bugging me or whatever I was doing, and I would tap on “I accept myself even though I’m doing it”, then I would have the negative reaction to that. Then, I would take it further. For example, I’m playing chess on the computer and think “Okay, I accept myself even though I’m playing chess on the computer and I shouldn’t be”. The reaction comes “No, I can’t accept myself for that”. So that then, I’m tapping, “I accept myself even if I never want to accept myself for this”. You can keep taking it further and further. Eventually ultimately it blows out. Every problem I had and every encounter I had I actually tapped with the intention to accept myself even if that happened, even if that was true, even if that continued to be true forever, even if I’m still playing on the computer in 10 years time, I’m going to accept myself even if I never give this up kind of thing. That’s kind of counterintuitive because we have this concept “you’ve got to not accept that, you’ve got to fight that” but what you resist persists. You end up setting up a fight between parts of yourself because there’s part of you that wants that. And so if part of you has to be made wrong to make a part of you right, then you still lose.
Gene: One of the things that I find really useful when we’re starting is to tap on the emotional charge that we have about the issue at hand, whatever that emotion is (frustration, overwhelm). And you’re talking about being able to accept myself in that state and starting there before we go to the issue itself.
Steve: Yeah! Now what we end up doing is basically we do the tapping with whatever people are aware of. We don’t try to change it. We are just putting our attention on it. The funny thing is when you put your attention on it and you’re doing the tapping, it transforms. But if you form the intentions that you have to shift it, now you’re setting up this internal fight. It often ends up being this win-lose kind of thing. I didn’t answer your ultimate question because you asked me what does self-acceptance looks like, and during that time, I got some good understanding and some good shifts and I was feeling a bit better but it wasn’t really a profound shift. Three days later I went into the bedroom a bit early, sometimes I do this, I lie there and I’m just tapping. I’m tapping and I’m tapping on issues. I can’t remember now what exactly the things were but it was again, continuing to think of my 30-day trial. When I came up with the idea I’m going to do this every day and I’m going to focus on accepting myself no matter what, my first reaction was I’ll never do that. I wouldn’t lie, tomorrow I will forget or whatever. Then, I did the tapping on “Even though I’ll forget, I accept myself; and even if I forget, I accept myself; even if I don’t follow through, I’d still accept myself”. Anyway, three days later as I was laying there on the bed doing the tapping and holding the intention to accept myself no matter what, every thought and every feeling that came, I held the intention to accept myself even if I was having this thought or having that feeling. I felt this incredible warmth and this incredible life that flowed through me. I have now seen this with clients and experienced it myself more. This is when we release these blockages, we are opening up for energy, I may call it love – it’s the love of the universe. It’s life energy itself that flows through us that’s been blocked from being able to flow because of this resistance that’s been set up inside us. I think there’s one word for all of our problems, it would be resistance. When you release that resistance, then the energy flows through you.
Gene: What’s really interesting there as you described that, I think back to my own personal journey and my work with my clients. It’s almost as if in some cases the issues that we perceive as being big issues that we need to be taking care of and the issues that are in the front of our mind, in some way are almost serving in a distraction away from looking at that self-acceptance issue, the exact same way that I might use chocolate to distract me from my anger or my loneliness or whatever. By creating this big complicated problem and throwing myself into it, I never have to bump into that really deep resistance of “Oh my gosh, this is who I really am, and I need to accept myself in order to be able to work with that and transform it and be it”.
Steve: Exactly, because what we would see happen if someone did the tapping, and I would get over a phobia or an issue or problem, you kind of have a surge of self-acceptance for a little while. Then a little later, there would be another issue for not to accept themselves over.
Gene: Yeah, but the issues are the symptoms of a deeper problem which is the issue of being able to recognize ourselves for who we are. I can also see as you say that, the sense of the resistance exists because it sees that as functional and it’s trying to protect it. I can see how it would be very difficult and distracting for us to be able to tune in to that because the system so preciously wants to protect that point of view.
Steve: Oh yeah! This is ego or the different theories around it but it’s ultimately as we go through life, we create mini identities. Those identities can get triggered and for a while and rule us during that time. Another way of looking at it: every problem has a trance. You get entranced into a problem. You get triggered to go into the trance of the problem. Willem Lammers in Switzerland would say it’s interjected. It’s kind of a split-off. You actually have to split off part of your energy and he said that’s held in three-dimensional space. I really like his theory. He has an approach called Logosynthesis. He uses words, very powerful words that he discovered that help people bring the energy back that they have invested in these identities. We do the same with tapping. Ultimately when we’re not accepting a part of our self, this is a part of our self that was set up to help us deal with something that was overwhelming such as a trauma or whatever in our lives. It was functional at that time. It might not be functional right here, right now but it has a life-saving purpose. Ultimately, it has to be integrated and accepted within us, then it doesn’t need to be a split off part of ourselves, it could be a part of the whole of us. We can accept all parts of ourselves.
Gene: I can almost see that also being in a case where it might not necessarily be coming from a specific trauma but it could just simply be misinformed because of information that we’ve gathered from our loved ones or from the culture at large, where it’s trying to protect us from a perceived danger that isn’t necessarily a real and actual danger.
Steve: Absolutely! It’s at any point and time in our life when we don’t have awareness. The biggest problem of people is actually narrow-mindedness. It’s that we don’t have a wider view. When we bring the tapping to this, it helps us to see things more clearly. I remember my very first client that I used in tapping with, it was such a profound thing because I saw the problem leave her body. I saw, it’s kind of like this ghost lifted off her. The energy came surging back in. She says “Boy that worked didn’t it?” What happened to that lady, she’d had a trauma because her son was threatening to kill her. He’s been very violent with her. The incident we were working on, he’d cut himself and then he wiped the blade off on her arm and threatened to stab her with his knife. She was shaking like a leaf. What was profound about this experience was that when I saw her a week later, she not only stood up to her son and got him to come to heel, she said to him “Look we’re going to live together; we’ve got to work things out”. She says she became relieved that a certain part of her self comes into play, which was needed. She also apologized to him for the parts that she could see that she had contributed to the problem. I thought what a fantastic, wide perspective she now has where she sees the whole thing – her contribution to the problem and his contribution to the problem. She now wants to resolve it.
Gene: When we get clear of resistance, it does that. It helps us to see things clearer. And the thing I think I found is it also helps us to more easily respond from that sense of inspiration that’s inside of us because we can clearly see who we are and what it is. It’s not like “I have to choose towards inspiration”. It’s a natural choice that I’m sure that as she did that and she recognized her own part of that, it wasn’t like she sat down and said “Hmm, I wonder what my part is” but as that clearing came, it came to an “oh, this is what I own in this and I need to take responsibility for it”.
Steve: Yeah! When we’re in a clearer space and we’re not kind of reactive, we’ve cleared a lot of our reactiveness, then we’re free to manifest whatever parts of ourselves that are needed right here, right now.
Gene: It’s interesting as you talked about that, as you’re explaining, I’m thinking back to something that I already do and I haven’t thought about it in these terms, that when I’m working with clients and we bump into an issue, the first thing I have a client do is I have them thank it for being there because it’s functional. It may not be working properly but it’s certainly motivated by something that’s functional, and it’s this idea of acceptance going “I appreciate the fact that I’m angry right now because it’s trying to keep me safe from attack. It might not be a real attack, but I appreciate the fact that it’s trying and I appreciate the fact that it has my best interest involved, even though I don’t necessarily love the outcome that I’m getting in this moment”.
Steve: Yeah! A lot of people are like “No, we’re supposed to be treating this as the enemy. It has to be the problem.” We’re kind of inclined because as you probably know Dr. Lake and I are using a provocative style for certain times. We’re inclined to go with the energy that’s there which might be a negative energy. But then we exaggerate it and then blow it up and enhance it. People are able to see it. It’s outside of them rather than inside them. It’s kind of you have to exaggerate things so people can see the truth.
Gene: You drag it into the light of day. You turn it into a cartoon and discuss it “Oh, that’s what it is, never mind”. Okay, so let’s say that someone who’s listening right now decides “Okay, I want to do what Steve did. I want to take 30 days and I’m going to move towards self-acceptance”. If I’m going to start something like that, how do I go about it looking at positive things, negative things… how do I use tapping to try something like this on my own?
Steve: First of all, I put that into a four-part series which I wrote back in the old days when we were riding on Gary Craig’s newsletter that he had (his EFT newsletter). It’s still on the site which is now being maintained by Dawson Church but we also have it up on our website www.eftdownunder.com. We’re not meant to be doing a plug but if someone wants to go there they can have that as a starting point and they can follow the process. I have mapped out some specific steps but we’ll also talk about those now. Essentially, you set the intention to do some tapping for 30 days on accepting yourself even though you have whatever problem it is. You’re tapping on the problem but you have to tap with focus not on the problem itself and not trying to fix that problem, you’re actually tapping on “I accept myself even if I have this problem”. That’s the same words in the set-up statement in EFT but when you’re tapping with the intention of “I accept myself” then you’re going to have a reaction to the “I accept myself” part which is either yes or no, then you go with whatever comes. Does that make sense?
Gene: Absolutely! Basically what you’re doing is you’re switching the emphasis of the place that we’re focusing.
Steve: Exactly! The focus is actually on the acceptance, not on the problem itself. When I had that experience myself where I kind of had that rush of energy and love and life and everything through my body, I had this realization, a blinding flash of the bleeding obvious they call it, that I wasn’t the problem. In every problem that I have had in my life up until that point, I had made myself the problem. I blamed myself for having the problem. There was a problem and then there was my reaction to the problem, and part of my reaction to the problem was I shouldn’t have this problem. It’s my fault for having this problem. I’m a bad person for having this problem. Now I started to see the problem was outside of me. It wasn’t me. I had been making the problem me, as if that was part of my identity or something like that. Though my problems were still there but they were all out there, not me. I wasn’t the problem. This is another point that people can do some tapping on. It’s almost inevitable when you have a problem that you’re going to blame yourself for having that problem. You can do some tapping on “It’s my fault for having this problem” then you can add the “I shouldn’t have this problem. I’m to blame for causing this problem, etc”. Then you can do some tapping on “I accept myself even if it’s my fault that I have this problem. I accept myself even if I’m to blame, even if I caused it I’m going to accept myself” and do tapping on that. When you do this tapping, the resistance will come up and it gets tuned in for more tapping.
Gene: We’ve taken the basic set-up phrase and we flipped it around. We’ve looked at “Even though I’ve created this, even though it’s my fault I love and accept myself”, and as we work our way through that, each time we do that, emotional charges are going to come forward around that acceptance space, and we tune in to that and we tap.
Steve: You can also identify where you learned that you’re not acceptable, and where you learned that you’re not good enough, and where you learned that you’re responsible for every problem in the universe and so on. And you can do tapping on those events using the basic tell-a-story process or run-the-movie if you’re more visually minded. Then you go through what happened and doing tapping on not just what happened but also your reactions to what happened and the beliefs that you’ve taken from what happened, and the emotions that you have about what happened. Again, you’re tapping with the focus on accepting yourself even if that happened.
Gene: I found a question that’s very similar to that that’s really helpful that that’s really helpful is what proof do I have that this is actually true?
Steve: Yeah! Like how do I know this, who taught me this, where did I learn this; Gary Craig’s brilliant question, where have I felt this before in my life? These are really good ways of identifying things that you can bring up to do the tapping on. The only real value in a specific event is actually if it tunes you into that effect on your energy.
Gene: Right! We need the emotional charge. We need something that’s there. If it’s just a fact of a story that we’re telling from the past, then it’s no different from reading the newspaper. It’s not helpful at that point.
Steve: This is the one area where we would use the set-up statement because it’s about tuning in the issue of non-self-acceptance.
Gene: So as you look at these senses of these parts where we don’t accept ourselves, we’re struggling to accept ourselves, we’re looking for the proof, is it useful or helpful to tune into the flipside of it? Because typically I found in my own life, it’s not that I completely acceptance myself and I completely don’t accept myself. But there are areas of my life where I can look at professionally and go, “I’m really comfortable inside of my own skin” and yeah, I accept myself here. And in my personal relationships, no, I’m not capable and deserving. Is there any value of tuning into the places where that sense of self-acceptance is positive, is something that’s activated, that’s really being lived out?
Steve: Absolutely! You can always tap on positive or negative. You’re always treating the negative, you’re always treating the resistance, but it doesn’t matter which way you go. One of the ways of getting into tapping on allowing acceptance of your positive side, which is our darkest part if you like, the unwillingness to accept our light and to allow that to flow and be in the world. That’s the challenge for all of us, it’s to get over our resistance to accepting that. One of the things that we like to do is for example is to identify somebody that you admire that has all these wonderful traits that you love and do some tapping on that. You’re starting with “They’re all wonderful, they have these wonderful traits. I wish I was like them” to try on tapping on “Okay, maybe I have a little bit of that but not as much as them”, then tapping on “I have that quality as well”. A lot of people have a lot of resistance to that but if you break it down and work through the steps, it can be a real process of realizing the strengths that you do have and that you can manifest because we have all of this.
Gene: It sounds like when you were talking a little bit about your own journey and the initial commitment to do this for 30 days, you talked about the fact that it’s something that’s still in process. I have a feeling that you’re like me, you’re not done yet. You’re still finding places where these things pop up and there’s still opportunity for us to tap on this.
Steve: Of course! People come and say you must be so centred and this and so whatever because of all the tapping. Yeah, if I look back at my life as it was, I was in a lot of prisons that I didn’t even realize I was in. However, there’s always another level. There’s always more. We’re not fully developed. We haven’t realized ourselves yet.
Gene: With all that being said, with those different approaches, if they’re going to hear one thing about self-acceptance and I was going to give it a go, what’s the one thing that you’d want to pass along to someone as they start this journey and trying to use this as a tool?
Steve: Wow, good question. The advice I would give would be the same as Eckhart Tolle. You begin with your non-acceptance. He’s got a statement in his book Stillness Speaks. This person’s coming to him saying “Oh! I can’t accept this” and he says “Well, start there.” “What, accept that I’m irritated and upset?” “Yes!” Bring acceptance to your non-acceptance. That’s where you start. You start with “I can accept that I don’t accept myself”, “I won’t accept that I don’t accept myself”. Go with that. Add the tapping to that and you’ll go to all kinds of interesting places.
Gene: It’s amazing – the power of honest assessment and recognition of where we are. When we do that, then we can see where the real issues are, then we can see where the healing begins, then we can see where we want to go to because we can see where we are.
Steve: Yup, exactly! When we do the tapping, we’re teaching people to go with whatever comes. Take whatever comes. If you’re working with someone during tapping, you work with what’s there and you follow what comes. When you’re doing it with yourself, you tap on “allow the thoughts and feelings to come” and even though you think this must have nothing to do with it, go with it and see where it goes. It will always go somewhere good.
Gene: Cool! Very good! Steve, thank you very much for your time, I appreciate it.
Steve: Thanks! It’s an absolute pleasure.
I am spending a great deal of time and energy worrying about a number of issues. This is consuming so much of my energy, but most of the issues are really no big deal. How do I deal with the fact I am spending so much on something that isn’t very important?
Recently my sister underwent surgery for a tumor that was between her ribs and her right lung. My sister is only 32, healthy (a yoga instructor), has health insurance, a great medical provider, and a family with the means and flexibility to make sure she has had someone by her side every step of the way. The tumor itself was non-cancerous and she was back at work within 3 weeks of the surgery.
She feels very lucky (we all do). She knows that it could be so much worse.
Four days before the surgery we were chatting on the phone. She was giving me an update on when our parents were flying into town, what was going on at work, and which friends were going to be helping her and in what way.
In the matter of 10 minutes of phone conversation she must have said 15 times, “But you know, it’s not really that big of a deal…”
At some point I stopped her and said, “It’s OK if you say this is a big deal. You are going to have surgery. They are going to cut you open and pull something out. They are then going to stick a drainage tube to keep the wound healthy and clean. You are going to need people to help you do everything for a number of days and some tasks for a number of weeks. Yes, you have awesome medical care. Yes, this could have been so much worse. Yes, you have amazing friends and family to care for you. BUT this is a big deal. You are allowed to say it is a big deal!”
This led to 20 minutes of conversation, tapping, and tears as she was able to admit all the emotions she was feeling and all the things she was afraid to say out loud because she felt ungrateful. Because my sister felt so lucky she didn’t feel like she had permission to complain or even be afraid.
It was an awesome healing moment and I am blessed to have shared that with my sister.
Admitting What Is Really Going On
I struggle with the same thing in my life. I have visited people all over the world who deal with immense struggle and burdens in their daily lives that I could never imagine. I spend more on my mobile phone service in one month than some make in a full year.
I am so blessed!
It is good to see the blessings in our lives, and to appreciate fully, but if we get too wrapped up in our blessings it makes it hard for us to admit the struggles we face. I need to be able to be honest with how I see my struggles and which emotions are swirling around them.
There are two very common outcomes when I start to tap on my problems.
First, when I start to tap on a problem I start to see it in perspective. It seems much smaller because I see it in context. It might feel like a really big deal emotionally, but as I tap on it I see it for what it is. To get to this point I need to be honest about how feel. I can’t just dismiss it as “no big deal.” Because part of me thinks (erroneously) that it is a big deal. These emotions that are under the surface are going to eat at me.
Second, what is going on really is a big deal. Because it is a big deal I need to make sure I have myself as clear as possible to make sure I am able to face the “big deal.”
In both cases we can tap when something feels like it is “no big deal” to put ourselves in a place to respond to what is going on. It might look something like this:
Right now I am facing something that is causing me some trouble…But it feels like it should be no big deal…Because I’m telling myself it is no big deal…It feels like I shouldn’t be giving it any emotional energy…I feel like it is a waste of time and energy to think about…I feel like expending any emotion on it is pointless…There are others who are dealing with so much more than I am…I shouldn’t be complaining about my life…By spending time on this I feel like I am stuck in something pointless…I don’t want to get into this because it is no big deal…But because I am spending energy and emotion on this…Part of me must think that it is a big deal…If I take time to tap on it…Then I will uncover the part that feels like this is a big deal…I will connect with the part that is worried…By dealing with the part that is worried…I will make it easier to deal with what I am facing…It might turn out to be something small and quickly evaporate…Or I will discover that it is a bigger deal than I thought…Either way I will gain clarity so I can see what is really going on…And that will allow me to work towards a healthier state.
By tapping in this way, you give yourself the opportunity to move to a place where you don’t have to keep saying it is “no big deal,” and to deal with where you are honestly.