Tapping Into (And Out Of) The Resistance To The Resistance With IEP


“What you resist persists”
– Carl Jung

The resistance and I go way back.

I have been very creative in finding ways to avoid and delay important work.

I have also been very creative in finding ways to identify and dismantle limiting beliefs and feelings so that I can move past the resistance and get things done.

Recently I noticed that I was avoiding doing some important work, then I noticed that I was avoiding working with the resistance and that got me thinking.

Our culture is full of references to working / fighting / overcoming the resistance to get to our goals. Books like (the excellent) “The War Of Art” by Stephen Pressfield talk about overcoming resistance, pushing through the things that get in our way to reach our goal.

We are encouraged to resist our resistance, to struggle with it and overcome it (even if that feels like wading through treacle).

Unfortunately, I’m rather more lazy than heroic, so my struggles have often been half hearted.

I realised that all the time I spent struggling with my resistance could be better spent doing the thing I was resisting. It dawned on me that struggling with my resistance was a large part of the resistance.

So how do (did) I struggle with my resistance?

Read moreTapping Into (And Out Of) The Resistance To The Resistance With IEP

Defuse and Aspire: A Two Stage Tapping Process To Prepare For Challenging Situations

ReadyOne of the many things life is good at is presenting us with challenging situations.

We might have to speak in public, go through difficult medical procedures, visit relatives we can’t stand, deal with angry customers and do many more things that we would prefer not to.

You could just grit your teeth and get on with it or you could use tapping processes to ease your apprehension and find the resources you need to be the best you can be in that situation.

So, you might start looking for tapping scripts that ‘work’ for your problem. You might hope with just a few rounds of tapping that you can go from stressed / distressed / anxious / terrified to calm / centred / happy / relaxed.

It’s a simple solution that probably won’t work.

In a culture that values ‘positive’ feelings and rejects (or fears) ‘negative’ feelings many people focus on getting past feeling bad to feeling good as quickly as possible. They hope that if the tapping ends on a high note then all will be well.

In the understandable desire for (premature) reassurance we try to speed past difficult feelings and get to the enjoyable ones.

Unfortunately, to genuinely access your emotional resources it’s more effective to resolve what gets in their way.

Read moreDefuse and Aspire: A Two Stage Tapping Process To Prepare For Challenging Situations

Changing By Changing Your Feelings About Your Feelings

TangleIf you have been a human being for any length of time you have probably noticed that your emotions are complicated.

Feelings rarely come one at a time, usually we experience a complex cocktail of feelings that make up our emotional life.

If we just had one feeling at a time perhaps life would be simpler, softening emotional distress using EFT would certainly be easier: one distressing feeling, a few rounds of tapping, job done!

But most people don’t just feel one feeling at a time. We usually have a tangled collection of feelings. Each of these distressing feelings needs to be addressed with tapping to be soothed.

This is why most distressing emotions require more than a few rounds of tapping.

Some emotions can be very difficult to shift with tapping (or anything else).

We have our original feelings: sadness, anger, disgust, fear, etc, stirred up in response to a challenging situation, and we often have distressing feelings about the original feeling.

Here’s a thought experiment that explores the difference:

  1. Imagine feeling sad about something – notice what this experience is like.
  2. Shake off that feeling.
  3. Now imagine feeling sad and feeling critical of that sadness – notice what this experience is like.
  4. Shake off those feelings.
  5. Now imagine feeling sad and feeling compassionate towards that sadness – notice what this experience is like.
  6. Shake off those feelings.

Those experiences are all probably very different. I imagine that feeling critical of the sadness was a particularly unpleasant combination.

These ‘meta-feelings’, feelings about feelings, add texture to the original feeling and can even act as a glue which holds the original feelings in place making them difficult to tap out. If you ever had to do a lot of rounds of EFT to soothe a ‘simple’ feeling that you expected would have soothed quickly and easily, it might be helpful to explore the feelings about that ‘simple’ feeling.

Most of the time we just notice how we feel about something, not how we feel about feeling something, but being able to identify and work with feelings about our feelings can make a big difference to our emotional lives.

Working With Feelings About The Feelings

  1. Pick a problematic situation. Important: if this situation involves bottomless grief, overwhelming shame or great fear it’s better to choose a less difficult situation.
  2. Make a list of the feelings that situation brings to mind.
  3. Give each feeling a SUDs rating from 0-10.
  4. Choose the feeling with the strongest SUDs scale
  5. Ask yourself: “How do you feel about [that feeling]?”
    1. Write down the feeling, then ask “What else do you feel about [that feeling]?”. Make sure to record each feeling that comes to mind, the important ones will be sorted out later.
    2. Continue to ask “What else do you feel about [that feeling]”? and record the feelings until no more feelings are available.
  6. Go through the list of feelings about [that feeling] giving each a SUDs score of its own.
  7. Tap out the highest scoring feeling about [that feeling]. “Even though I feel [this feeling] about feeling [that feeling]” etc.
  8. Review the list of feelings about [that feeling].
    1. Tap out the next most intense feeling about [that feeling].
    2. Repeat this process until all the feelings about [that feeling] have been neutralised.
  9. How strong is the SUDs rating of the original feeling now? If any strength is left in that feeling reduce it by tapping it out.
  10. Review the list of feelings about the situation, if there is a strong emotional charge on any other of those feelings, repeat the process until the feelings about the feelings have been neutralised.
  11. How do you feel about the original problem now?

An example:

Let’s say I’m struggling to get some work done.

When I pay attention to how I feel about that situation, I am aware that I feel unmotivated, dull, and sleepy.

When I work out the strength of those feelings (SUDs) unmotivated is 8 out of 10, dull is 6 out of 10 and sleepy is 3 out of ten.

Obviously feeling unmotivated is the strongest so I ask myself “How do I feel about feeling unmotivated?”. I get the following list:

  • apathetic
  • angry
  • guilty
  • hopeless
  • ashamed
  • resentful

Going through the list assessing the SUDs of each of the feelings about feeling unmotivated I get the following scores:

  • apathetic 1/10
  • angry 8/10
  • guilty 1/10
  • hopeless 0/10
  • ashamed 6/10
  • resentful 1/10

Obviously feeling ‘angry about feeling unmotivated’ and feeling ‘ashamed about feeling unmotivated’ are the meta-feelings with biggest charge.

I tap on those meta-feelings

Using “Even though I feel angry about feeling unmotivated, I deeply and completely accept myself” as the setup phrase and “I feel angry about feeling unmotivated” I tap out the anger.

And, using “Even though I feel ashamed about feeling unmotivated, I deeply and completely accept myself” as the setup phrase and “I feel ashamed about feeling unmotivated” I tap out the shame.

Even though I haven’t tapped on it, I find that the unmotivated feeling has dropped to a 4 and easily yields to a few rounds of ‘standard’ EFT.

Please try out this process and I’d love to hear about your experiences using it.

You don’t need to use this formal process to work with the feelings about your feelings, you can easily ask yourself (or someone you are working with): “How do you feel about that feeling?” to find more ways to work with distressing feelings.

How To Tap Into The Gifts Of The Shadow

Image courtesy of LaVladina

In ‘How can the people who annoy you help you get more from your tapping?’ I wrote about a tapping technique that can help you work with the ‘negative’ parts of the ‘shadow’. Using people’s ability to annoy us we can identify some of the disowned parts of ourselves that need to be released with tapping.

Our shadows are formed in childhood where certain parts of ourselves that are deemed unacceptable by our family, friends or culture are suppressed so that we can get along with the people we are with.

Because these impulses and feelings are so unacceptable to us that we may not know they are there. We project what we cannot own ourselves onto other people. When we can spot the projection, we can use that to access the unacceptable impulses in ourselves and process them with tapping.

So far so good, but there’s more to the Shadow than bad or negative impulses.

Read moreHow To Tap Into The Gifts Of The Shadow

Simple Acceptance Tapping

How Accepting What You Are Trying To Get Rid Of Can Help Change It

Image courtesy of Luke Peterson
Image courtesy of Luke Peterson

It’s understandable that most people don’t like their difficult feelings and want to get rid of them.

Most people think that you have to reject something to get rid of it, believing that if you reject it, it will go away. If you accept it, then it will stay.

You might be able to throw away an unwanted object, but rejecting unwanted psychological or emotional states doesn’t seem to work that way.

Read moreSimple Acceptance Tapping

How can the people who annoy you help you get more from your tapping?

Tapping and Projection
Image courtesy of Jagz Mario

You may have noticed that people can be very annoying, they can do and say things that upset and disturb us.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could reduce that level of annoyance and, as a free bonus, improve our own self-acceptance?

Thanks to Carl Jung and some tapping we can do just that.

Jung suggested (that in spite of all appearances) that which annoys us doesn’t reside in the other person it resides in ourselves.

The other person isn’t doing something intrinsically annoying, we are annoying ourselves at what they are doing.

Of shadows and shoulds

He proposed that the ‘something annoying’ that people are doing illuminates parts of our disowned self, our ‘Shadow’, the parts of ourselves that we can not accept or even acknowledge.

As we grow up we adopt the values and ‘rules’ of our family of origin. These rules (our shoulds) told us what was, or was not, acceptable and how we should behave. As children we absorbed and internalised those rules and expectations. The urge to break those rules had to be suppressed to please and appease those who looked after us.

Now, as adults, thoughts or impulses to ‘break’ those internalised rules are uncomfortable to us, they go against our family and cultural programming.

Read moreHow can the people who annoy you help you get more from your tapping?

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