Tapping for more self-acceptance when you don’t measure up

Tapping for self-acceptance
Image courtesy of bp6316

Imagine a perfect world.

A world where you are the ideal person just as you are.

You are exactly the right age, height and weight. You have the perfect bank balance, energy levels and personality.

Not only that, everyone around you is just right as well.

Do you live in that world?

No, I didn’t think so. Neither do I.

Our real world frequently collides with our ideal world leaving the way we would like to be in tatters.

We all have our ideas of how we should be, what we should do, think, feel and say. These are our standards, we are aware of some of them, but many are unconscious.

If we meet our standards we feel good about ourselves – we have brought a bit of our ideal world into our real world.

But when we don’t meet these standards we may judge ourselves or find ourselves wanting.

How can you tell if you are falling short of your ideal world?

That’s simple.

If you ever think or hear yourself say:

  • I’m too … fat, thin, old, young, boring, stupid, etc …
  • I’m not … young, rich, thin, interesting, qualified, etc … enough
  • I shouldget more exercise, work harder, be more patient, etc …*
  • I shouldn’tbe lazy, get so angry, be so critical, etc …*

These are some of the many, mostly unconscious, standards you are checking your life against.

These thoughts are so common that we barely notice they are there.

For example if one of your standards is around how old you are you might judge yourself like this

  • “I am too old” – I don’t accept myself because I am too old.
  • “I am the right age” – I accept myself because I am the right age (but that’s going to change soon because we are all growing older).
  • “I am not old enough” – I don’t accept myself because I am not old enough

In these cases how you feel about yourself is conditional on whether you meet that particular standard.

Given the number of different (and contradictory) standards we have it would be impossible to meet all those standards.

You probably have your own familiar too …, not … enough, should …, shouldn’t … phrases.

The problem with these standards are twofold. Not only do you not meet the standard you hold dear, you probably give yourself a hard time for failing to meet it.

When you think your familiar “I’m too … “ thought, do you feel good about it or do you give yourself a hard time?

Do you criticise or blame yourself?

Do you feel guilty that you have failed to live up to your standards?

If you do, that is extra and unnecessary suffering.

Many people think that you should feel bad if you don’t measure up. That giving yourself a hard time is necessary to give you the motivation to do the right thing.

But is that really true?

If I realise I am driving too fast I just slow down. I don’t need to harangue myself about how I’ve failed as a driver. There is just something I need to do and I do it.

I don’t need to argue myself into driving on the left hand side of the road here in the UK, and I don’t need to heap criticism on myself to drive on the right hand side of the road if I go to France. I need to do it, and I do it.

For most of our personal too much, not … enough, should and shouldn’t thoughts we add self-criticism and judgement. It’s hard to accept yourself if you are giving yourself a hard time.

What would it be like if we could take the self-criticism away from the times when we are not perfect?

What if we could keep the standard but lose the self-criticism.

Finding where we don’t measure up.

To get some raw material to work with complete (without over-thinking) the following sentences:

I am too …

I am not … enough

I should …

I shouldn’t …

You can easily check whether your particular choice affects your self-acceptance by saying the words “I don’t accept myself because … “ followed by the sentences you have just created.

For example:

  • “I don’t accept myself because I am too fat
  • “I don’t accept myself because I am not smart enough”
  • “I don’t accept myself because I should be more confident
  • “I don’t accept myself because I shouldn’t be so critical of my kids

If you say each sentence out loud and feel there is an emotional charge on it then there is a lack of self-acceptance around this issue.

We can reduce the self-criticism around those unmet standards using tapping.

Tapping for self-acceptance around those standards

Please note that we are not looking to remove the standard, just to increase the self-acceptance around the issue. It is unlikely that you can be less critical to your kids by being critical of yourself about being critical to your kids. If you are going to ease up on them, you may as well start by easing up on yourself.

The purpose of the tapping is not to remove or change the standard but to disconnect your self-acceptance from the standard, so that you can go from conditional self-acceptance (very fragile in a changeable world) to unconditional self-acceptance (very robust in a changeable world).

One simple way to soften the self-judgement about these rules is to use the Intentional Energy Processes.

Intentional Energy Processes

Intentional Energy Processes (IEP) are a new set of tapping tools created by developed by Steve Wells of www.eftdownunder.com. They are designed to help us easily let go of unwanted emotional baggage and to align with our deeper intentions.

In standard EFT we work to dismantle limiting beliefs or unpleasant emotional reactions. In IEP the focus is not on the belief or emotion itself but on our tendency to become emotionally attached to what we think and feel.

The IEP Releasing Process

You may not have heard of Intentional Energy Processes before, so I would like to walk you step by step through this tapping process. I think you will find it deceptively simple and powerful.

You may already have your list of “I’m too …” and “I’m not … enough” statements. I’m going to use the phrase “I’m too fat” as an example for this process, feel free to substitute one of your own phrases and tap along.

The process is very simple:

While tapping on the eyebrow point I would say I release all my emotional attachments to I’m too fat”.

Then I would complete a full round of tapping paying attention to whatever arises in my mind.

Note: you only need to say the releasing phrase at the start of the tapping, you don’t need to repeat it while tapping through the rest of the points.

When tapping in this way thoughts, feelings, memories, images may come up into your mind. These mental events may have an obvious connection to the original phrase or may seem to have no connection at all. If there is a charged thought, feeling, image, memory we use that to feed into the next round of tapping.

For example:

If, when I am tapping on “I am too fat”, a memory of being criticised by a friend pops into my mind. I can put that into the next round to tapping by starting with I release all my emotional attachments to my friend criticising me” then complete another round of tapping paying attention to whatever arises.

After this round let’s imagine that the thought “I’ll never change” pops into my mind. For the next round I can start with I release all my emotional attachments to I’ll never change”.

You repeat this process as long as charged thoughts, feelings, memories or images come to mind. At some point your mind would feel much more calm and balanced about the original statement.

After processing the thoughts, you need to pay attention to your body. Where do you notice the disturbance in your feelings, energy or emotions?

There will probably be part of your being that feels out of balance or disturbed. Once you have located the site of the disturbance, tap on the eyebrow point saying: I restore the right energy flow to … (wherever that disturbance occurs in your body)” followed by a round of tapping.

For example:

As I tapped on the “I’m too fat” issue I may have noticed a tightness in my chest, so I would end by tapping a round on I restore the right energy flow to my chest”

If you have been tapping along bring your original issue to mind. How is that now?

If there is still some residual attachment repeat the original process.

Full Instructions

  1. Pick an “I am too …”, “I am not … enough”, “I should …” or “I shouldn’t …” statement that has a charge on it.
  2. Say one of the following sentences out loud to check if it feels true to you.
    • “I don’t accept myself because I am too …”
    • “I don’t accept myself because I am not … enough”
    • “I don’t accept myself because I should …”
    • “I don’t accept myself because I shouldn’t …”
  3. Use the IEP tapping statements to processes each statement using I release all my emotional attachment to “I am too …”, “I am not … enough”, “I should …” or “I shouldn’t”
  4. Process the thoughts, feelings and images that arise when you tap on that statement
  5. If there is a felt sense of where those thoughts / feelings affect your body tap on I restore the right energy flow to …
  6. Check the original statement to see if it still affects your self- acceptance:
    • “I don’t accept myself because I am too …”
    • “I don’t accept myself because I am not … enough”
    • “I don’t accept myself because I should …”
    • “I don’t accept myself because I shouldn’t …”
  7. If there is still a charge on those statements repeat the process.
  8. If there is not, test the statement with one of these sentences.
    • “I accept myself even when I am too …”
    • “I accept myself even when I am not … enough”
    • “I accept myself even when I should …”
    • “I accept myself even when I shouldn’t…”
  9. If those statements now feel true you have finished, if not repeat the process to find and clear sticking points.

Running this process allows you to keep what is important to you but allows you to reduce the self-criticism and unnecessary suffering when you are not able to meet them.

This article was inspired by the excellent IEP and SET for Self Acceptance Webinar presented by Steve Wells which you can watch by clicking the link.

4 thoughts on “Tapping for more self-acceptance when you don’t measure up

  1. Andy, I was unfamiliar with Steve Wells and IEP before reading your post. Many thanks for sharing this process! I’ve been practicing the technique since reading the your article, and it’s helped me get through distressing moments.

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