How to Transform the Forgiveness Process to Healing with EFT Tapping and Why it Matters
This is a subject I definitely one I have a lot of personal experience with (without getting into the details of my personal and family life here!) and I want to start off by saying that people heal in there own way and in their own time. As someone who characteristically in my younger years carried the emotional baggage or close people who wronged me, I think this is a good subject to talk about because the forgiveness process unburned me in a transformative way.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of forgiving yourself and others, read on....
I want to start by saying that this is a sensitive subject as the word 'forgiveness' means many things to different people, cultures, and religions.. I think it's important to recognize that there are many schools of thoughts on this and many religions in particular adopt a certain believe about forgiving and forgetting.
For the moment, I would like to leave this as this can bring up ideas of forcing forgiveness and invalidation. It creates a suggestion that what happened is ok and we are supposed to move forward as if nothing has happened. The forgiveness I want to discuss is not about mercy for another person as that is everyone's choice to decide next steps. That is not my point. In actuality, the point of this article is to discuss personal growth and healing yourself to take power back in an empowered way that shifts from victim to survivor.
“Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another's control... to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare.” ― Lance Morrow, The Chief: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons
The problem with forgiveness and turning the other cheek
Unfortunatley some schools of thought teach 'turning the other cheek' or 'wiping the slate' clean, which can tune out the feelings of people who have experienced wrongdoing by others and create even more space for resentment and feelings of anger or helplessness.
"But it is often the case that this definition of forgiveness can leave the person doing the forgiving in either a state of invalidation or accommodation to the person who has done wrong. Neither of these states seem to fully capture the experience of the person who has experienced this hurt at the other person’s hands. It can be said, then, that pursuing acts that negate or reframe the actions of the wrongdoer may hold both emotional and conceptual pitfalls," Good Therapy.
Who is Forgiveness for?
Again, there are many schools of thought and I want to say that it's important first and foremost to understand that in this article I am going to maintain that forgiveness is not for THEM. It's for you.
It's not to make anyone feel better although if you choose to keep a relationship with this person then you are choosing to create a space for redemption. But the point of this article is about the reader and not the perpetrator of who requires forgiveness. And importantly, it doesn't mean the other person even knows about it at all and you choose to have them in your life again. In extreme cases, the forgiveness that's needed is not to them, but to ourselves. Many situations we go through big or small leave us feeling defeated, resentful, ashamed, or worse. This is a non-exhaustive article I wanted to share just to discuss the topic and how we can heal ourselves of the past through EFT Tapping.
When we're hurt and we feel betrayed, it's easy to think that holding onto our hurt and anger emotions is the best way to deal with the situation. And yet, research suggests otherwise. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that people who forgive others are happier and healthier than those who harbor grievances.
Why is Forgiveness Important?
Forgiveness is one of those things that sounds simple enough, but actually requires quite a lot of intention and deliberate decisions to do. It is something that many of us struggle with because we feel justified about feeling that we were wronged and we probably are. However, once you start practicing forgiveness, you realize just how powerful it is. You see how much easier life becomes and how much happier you feel when you can learn to release the emotional charge of situations to take back your own power.
“I eventually came to understand that in harboring the anger, the bitterness and resentment towards those that had hurt me, I was giving the reins of control over to them. Forgiving was not about accepting their words and deeds. Forgiving was about letting go and moving on with my life. In doing so, I had finally set myself free.” ― Isabel Lopez, Isabel's Hand-Me-Down Dreams
Forgiveness is about more than simply letting go of anger and resentment. It is about being able to forgive oneself for one's mistakes, wrongdoings, or shortcomings. To truly forgive ourselves, we must take responsibility for our actions and acknowledge either our role or the learning. In some cases, we might even realize that we have a bigger role than we realize and can take responsability. This requires us to admit our wrongdoing, to express remorse, and to apologize.
As difficult as it might be, forgiving ourselves is necessary for healing. In fact, forgiveness is often described as "the beginning of true healing." When we are willing to forgive ourselves, we open ourselves to a much wider range of possibilities—including those that could lead to positive change.
The Value Of Forgiving Yourself
If you don't forgive yourself, you'll never move forward. When you fail to forgive yourself, you carry around guilt and shame. This leads to low self-esteem and depression. But when you forgive yourself, you begin to heal emotionally. You stop blaming yourself for what happened and you let go of the pain.
"An older 2001 study found that not forgiving yourself or others may put you at higher risk for depression. Holding on to negative emotions about yourself lowers your overall self-esteem and opens the door to anxiety and depression.
An article in Stanford Medicine has a similar take on the matter:
"Research has shown that those who practice self-forgiveness have better mental and emotional well-being, more positive attitudes and healthier relationships. A related outcome ties self-compassion with higher levels of success, productivity, focus and concentration," Standford Medicine.
How To Forgive Others
You often hear that forgiveness is a choice, but sometimes we aren't given the opportunity to choose whether or not to forgive someone. Sometimes you simply have no control over events. Even so, you still have a choice about how you react. You can either hold onto the grudge, or you can release it.
Many people think of forgiveness as "letting go," or "moving on." But that isn't the whole story. Forgiveness is important to us because it helps us let go of anger and resentment towards others. It also allows us to move on with our lives without holding grudges against people who hurt us and in turn hurting ourselves.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting what happened or being able to forget about it. It means letting go of anger and resentment towards the other person that controls us.
“Buried beneath disappointment and fear, anger and pride, I just might find it in my heart to forgive.” ― Emily Giffin, Heart of the Matter
Forgiveness for Our Health
We often hear about the benefits of forgiveness, especially when someone we care about has wronged us. But there are many other reasons why forgiving others could improve our health.
Studies show that people who forgive others experience less pain and distress, feel better about themselves, and live longer.
Research suggests that the act of forgiveness itself can help reduce stress hormones and inflammation, which in turn lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Forgiving others also boosts self-esteem and decreases feelings of loneliness.
The effects of forgiveness seem to grow stronger as we age. A recent study published in the journal Psychology & Aging found that older adults who forgave others had lower rates of heart disease and death.
Researchers believe that the reason forgiveness works to promote health is because it helps us let go of negative emotions,such as anger and resentment.
EFT Tapping as an Extremely Useful Tool for Forgiveness
EFT Tapping involves tapping on acupressure points while thinking positive thoughts. The technique was developed by Dr Gary Craig,a clinical psychologist at the University of Wisconsin. He discovered that this form of therapy helped him overcome his fear of flying.
He realized that he couldn’t change the fact that he would be travelling by plane, but he could change how he felt about it. By using EFT Tapping, he learned to accept the situation without feeling anxious.
He then applied this approach to other situations where he needed to face fears. In each case, he was able to use EFT Tapping to transform his anxiety into acceptance.
This technique is now used by thousands of therapists all over the world. They use it to treat everything from phobias to addictions.
How to Use EFT tapping for Forgiveness in Your Life
EFT tapping helps to clear the negative emotions of anger, guilt or shame that emotionally charge the situation or memory. This allows you to see things more clearly and make decisions based on facts rather than emotion.
In addition, EFT tapping can help you release emotional pain from past events in your life.
In this part, I show you how to use EFT to heal yourself and others. You'll learn how to tap for specific issues such as fear, grief, anxiety, depression, relationship problems, addictions, and health concerns.
1. Identify Your Emotional Pain
The first step is to identify what's causing you to feel so bad. To do this, ask yourself: What are my feelings about this? How does it make me feel inside? What am I afraid will happen if I don't get rid of these feelings?
For example, let's say you're feeling angry because someone cut you off in traffic. Ask yourself: "What am I feeling?"
"I'm feeling angry."
"Why am I feeling angry?"
"Because they cut me off."
"So what happens when I don't get rid of my anger?
2. Tap on Negative Feelings to Release Them
Once you know exactly what you're feeling, you can start releasing the negative emotions. For example, if you're feeling guilty about something you did, you can think about the person you hurt and imagine their reaction. Then you can imagine forgiving yourself.
If you're feeling ashamed, you can visualize yourself being proud of yourself. If you're feeling sad, you can picture yourself smiling. Get out all of the anger by getting honest with yourself and articulating it.
3. Tune Into Your Body
Finally, you want to tune into your body. When you're feeling upset, you may notice physical sensations in your stomach, chest, throat, jaw, arms, legs, etc. These are called muscle knots.
When you're thinking about an upsetting event, you may also notice tension in your muscles. These are called muscle memories.
When you're feeling anxious, you may notice rapid breathing, sweating, shaking, trembling, nausea, dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations, tightness in your chest, shortness of breath, numbness, tingling, or even diarrhea.
4. Repeat the Process
Rate your intensity on a scale from 1-10 each negative round to measure how much you're releasing.
After you've released the negative emotions, you can repeat the process. For example, if your friend cut you off in traffic, go back over the steps again. Think about how you felt before you started. Think about how you feel now. And then think about how you'd like to feel.
5. Practice Daily
It takes practice to master EFT. The more often you practice, the easier it becomes. So keep practicing!
6. Be Patient
As with anything new, there will be setbacks along the way. Don't beat yourself up if you slip up. Just pick yourself up and try again.
7. Don't Be Afraid to Try It Again
Sometimes we just need one more chance to work through our issues. You'll find that after a while, you won't need to tap as much. Healing is not instant and sometimes we might have many layers to clear in order to feel better.
8. Find an EFT Coach
For bigger issues it can be much more effective to work with an EFT coach who is skilled in different EFT techniques. An EFT coach can help you learn how to apply EFT to specific problems and lead you through the rounds for maximum efficiency. He/she can teach you how to identify and release negative emotions, and how to replace them with positive thoughts.
“[D]on’t cling to your self-righteous suffering, let it go. . . . Nothing is too good to be true, let yourself be forgiven. To the degree you insist that you must suffer, you insist on the suffering of others as well. (90)”
― Stephen Levine, A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last
Would healing and forgiving someone in your life free you? Would forgiving yourself and setting yourself free release you from resentment or suffering? What are your thoughts on this?
ANDREA HUNT - Online Transformational Life Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner based in Munich, Germany
I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals).
If you're not sure where to start transforming your life, you can download my free ebook on How to Start Your Personal Growth Journey.
Are you ready to change your life, let go of old beliefs, empower yourself for a mindset shift to move forward? Mark Batterson says: You're always one decision away from a totally different life.
Header: Mateusz Syta
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