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.