Can Tapping Break Your Bad Habits?

Nick Ortner 12-17

Dennis, a retired man from Florida, was one of hundreds of people who applied to attend our four-day Tapping Solution event in Connecticut. His application stated that he was looking to quit smoking. He’d tried everything and was finally ready to do whatever it took to quit. I was excited to have him. I knew that if we had him tapping all weekend, he could easily handle his cravings. That meant he wouldn’t smoke for several days. If we handled the underlying emotional challenges, too, he would be well on his way to quitting by the time the event was over.

During the first day of the event, everything seemed to go as planned. Tapping away, he didn’t smoke any cigarettes—and didn’t crave them, either. During the second day, things got a little more interesting. In the EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) session, Dennis shared with Steve Munn, the practitioner working with him, that he had felt like an outcast for the past 20 years. He smoked and most other people didn’t, so he often felt guilty and ashamed. Steve tapped with him on releasing this guilt and shame. Such negative emotions don’t help us quit; they actually keep us beating ourselves up and being stuck.

Once they cleared these negative emotions, Dennis had a surprise announcement.

“I’ve been ashamed and embarrassed about smoking my whole life,” he said. “I’m going to keep smoking for now and enjoy it!”

You can imagine my mixed feelings when I heard this! Here I am, filming a documentary about the power of EFT and figuring that the “stop smoking” case will be a slam-dunk. And now he says EFT has helped him to keep smoking? Is that really what happened—and can I show this in the film?

I did indeed show it, because I felt it was important to be balanced and not hide anything that happened. And I felt, and still do, that there were some important lessons to learn there.

Lesson 1: Taking Positive Steps Forward

While it might seem like Dennis went backward—he came to us to quit smoking and left wanting to smoke—I believe the opposite is the case. In releasing his resistance, guilt, and anger at himself, Dennis took a positive step toward quitting somewhere down the line.

Sure, he might have guilted himself into stopping; he might have been so angry at himself that he stopped for a while. But if he didn’t address the underlying negative emotions, it would all likely come back. And if it didn’t come back as a smoking addiction, it would pop up somewhere else—as a food addiction or another compulsive behavior. That’s why we so often see weight gain in people who stop smoking; they replace their habit of smoking—its comfort and emotional relief—with eating.

We’re not trying to “stop” the smoking, the drinking, or the drug use. By focusing purely on the effect, the habit, we can tame the cravings, but we’re unlikely to have long-term success. What we’re trying to heal is the underlying patterns causing these things to happen. Only then can we create deep, lasting, and healthy change.

The reality is that drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and other addictive habits work. They do the job they’re supposed to do: they numb pain, distract attention from problems, provide physical and emotional relief. Only when we address what’s causing the underlying pain and emotional turmoil can the habits change for good.

Lesson 2: You Have to Want to Change

We had ten people attend our four-day event for the filming of The Tapping Solution. Out of those ten, seven got really astounding results, and three got what I would call average results. The three certainly had breakthroughs—aha moments. I’m sure it was a positive experience for them. But measured on outward criteria, such as “Did he or didn’t he stop smoking?” those three people didn’t get 100 percent of the results they were looking for.

When we went over the event later and analyzed what worked, what didn’t, and how to present it in the film, we found out something that astonished me but makes total sense.

We had had fairly many applicants for the event, and one of the criteria we looked at is how thoroughly people had filled out the application form and how committed they seemed to be to change. While EFT can address resistance to change, we wanted people to start with a level of energy and enthusiasm that would drive the process forward, at the very least.

In our research after the event, we discovered that the applications of all three people who hadn’t gotten optimal results had been filled out by someone else! In Dennis’s example, his wife really wanted him to quit smoking and had filled out his application. Sure, Dennis himself had shown up, so part of him wanted to change. But the drive clearly didn’t come from him, but rather his wife.

Loved Ones Can't Make You Change

If you’ve been procrastinating about doing what it takes to change or you keep sabotaging yourself, you may not be in alignment with the change you claim to want. By the same token, if you have loved ones whom you want to change, know that they must do it for themselves. You can open a door for others, but you can’t push them through it. So focus on opening doors. Share my book, The Tapping Solution with them; share The Tapping Solution film; share any other resources you can think of. Then shower them with love, support, and understanding. That’s the biggest gift you can give.

 


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