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.

Emotional distress is usually met with one of these three responses:

  • Avoidance – We work hard to avoid triggering, or feeling the feeling, because it’s too painful to feel fully.
  • Suppression – We hide the feeling from ourselves by pushing it down below our conscious awareness, because it’s too painful to feel fully.
  • Attachment – We hang onto the feeling because we think we should feel it, it serves some purpose for us or the alternative is worse.

The first two aversion reactions will perpetuate the feeling because what we try to resist persists. The third option, that of attachment, will lead us to hang on to the problem for longer than is necessary.

Being either attached or averse to a feeling leads to added suffering. We experience the problem and we add on the suffering of holding on to it or alternatively, trying to get rid of it.

The antidote to attachment or aversion is acceptance.

Acceptance is the ability to be present with uncomfortable experiences as they are, without trying to push them away or hang on to them.

It’s important to understand that acceptance is not the same as resignation.

Acceptance is being aware that your house is on fire and doing what you need to do to get to safety based on that awareness.

Resignation is being aware that your house is on fire and just sitting there while the house burns down around you!

How can accepting a problem help our tapping?

When EFT works well it is because whatever is being felt is clearly in awareness and is being tapped on.

Anything that allows the feelings to be fully and freely in awareness, allows them to be changed more easily, the degree to which feelings are pushed away or held onto slows down (or even stops) the process of change.

The power of EFT is magnified if you can develop an accepting awareness of what is in consciousness.

If you read an EFT book or take a ‘tapping’ training you quickly learn about the setup statement:

Even though I have this ‘problem’, I deeply and completely accept myself”

Tapping on the side of the hand while repeating this phrase is designed to ‘set the scene’ for the tapping, by acknowledging the problem and accepting yourself in spite of it.

Fred Gallo Ph.D, one of the early adopters of tapping approaches and the originator of the phrase ‘Energy Psychology’, has pointed out a flaw in this plan.

If the problem emotion or response is in you then you need to accept yourself AND the problem.

But the standard setup phrase: “Even though I have this problem, I deeply and completely accept myself”, emphasises acceptance of the person, not the problem.

Rephrasing the set up statement as follows, makes the non-acceptance clearer.

“In spite of this problem, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

The person is accepted deeply and completely but the problem is rejected.

If the original setup statement leaves out acceptance of the problem how can we put it back in?

Fred Gallo proposes the following as a more accepting setup phrase:

“I accept myself with this problem / feeling / belief”

In this formulation the person and the problem are embraced with the same acceptance. There is no distinction between the person and the problem.

In principle this is a good solution.

In practice there may be a hidden snag that keeps this setup statement from working as well as it could.

It’s easy to say “I accept myself with this problem” but what if you don’t accept yourself with this feeling?

You might like to try this little thought experiment.

Think of something that is a (small) problem for you, something that up to know has resisted tapping.

Say out loud: “I want to accept myself with this [problem]”.

Give that statement a 0-10 score on the truth scale (where 0 is completely false and 10 is completely true)

Now say out loud: “I don’t want to accept myself with this [problem]”.

Give that statement a 0-10 score on the truth scale (where 0 is completely false and 10 is completely true)

Now compare the scores.

If you are anything like me the “I don’t want to accept …” turns out higher than the “I want to accept …” phrase.

If that’s the case you are resisting acceptance of the problem which may help make the problem harder to let go of!

Fortunately, we can tap for the non-acceptance of the problem, before we tap for the problem itself.

Simple Acceptance Tapping

This is a two part process – soothing the non-acceptance followed by working with the ‘problem’ itself.

  1. Think of an issue – a situation, feeling, belief, etc
  2. Give the ‘problem’ an intensity score from 0-10
  3. Say out loud: “I want to accept myself with this [problem]” giving it a 0-10 score to estimate your level of acceptance.
  4. Say out loud: “I don’t want to accept myself with this [problem]” giving it a 0-10 score to estimate your level of non-acceptance.
  5. If the non-acceptance score is higher than 2 use the following alternating tapping sequence:
    1. EB: “I want to accept myself with this [problem]”
    2. SE: “and I don’t want to accept myself with this [problem]”
    3. UE: “and I want to accept myself with this [problem]”
    4. UN: “and I don’t want to accept myself with this [problem]”
    5. etc.
  6. At the end of the tapping round check the scores on “I want to accept myself with …” and “I don’t want to accept myself with …”
  7. If there is still a charge on “I don’t want to accept myself with …” repeat the process. If reasons why you don’t accept yourself come up during tapping, work on those issues.
  8. Check the original problem score
  9. Tap for the problem in the usual way using: “I accept myself with this [problem]” as the new setup statement. Followed by the usual:
    1. EB: “this [problem]”
    2. SE: “this [problem]”
    3. UE: “this [problem]”
    4. etc

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change – Carl Rogers

How did that way of tapping go for you?

When I have used this approach the problem has often ceased to be a problem when the acceptance tapping has been completed or the problem yields more easily to tapping after the acceptance tapping.

I’d be fascinated to hear how you get on with this approach

5 thoughts on “Simple Acceptance Tapping

  1. Thanks for sharing your work with us, Andy. Ever since I subscribed to your newsletter several years ago, I’ve learned such useful variations on EFT. You seem to come up with a new approach just when I’m ready for it! I tried the two-part process tonight, and it was very effective. By “soothing the non-acceptance,” this technique enabled me to reach other feelings and memories that I didn’t realize were related to the problem that I started tapping on.

    • Hi Libby, I’m glad you found it useful. It often seems that this approach helps connect us to other stuff that is related to the issue at hand. That leads to more tapping of course, but hey!

  2. Hi Andy, since first trying it back in November 2016, this has become the most useful technique in my tapping toolbox. I use it every day. It disarms the part of me that is resisting acceptance. I use the phrase, “I want to accept myself with the PART OF ME that feels [insert feeling]] and I don’t want to accept myself with the PART OF ME that feels [insert feeling].” because it gives me a feeling of a little more distance from the issue. Thanks again for your work!

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