Tapping Into Forgiveness With EFT

Judy Byrne - EFT Tapping Articles Written by Judy Byrne

Forgiveness is tricky territory. If we forgive someone, does it mean that we are letting them off the hook?  That they have got away with it?  That we are condoning what they did?

If we don’t forgive ourselves, does that make us emotionally less evolved than all those other people who seem to be able to?  If we do, does it mean we are letting ourselves off too lightly?  Without this guilt brake to keep us in check, might we make the same mistake or do the same thing again?

How much can and should EFT help when we are working on forgiveness?

What is Forgiveness?

My definition of forgiveness comes in two parts.

Forgiveness is the decision and the ability to end the negative energetic connection that keeps me linked to the person or past deed I haven’t forgiven.  It doesn’t mean I think that what they – or I – did was okay.  Rather it is a decision not to let past hurts or guilt continue to color my present and overshadow my future.  It is not about the person I forgive. Whether I forgive another or myself, it is always about healing me.  

The decision to end the negative connection is the easier part.  It makes sense.  Numerous studies have shown that people who do not forgive have more stress-related illness, poorer immunity and worse rates of cardiovascular disease than those who do.  People who forgive have improved coronary function and better recovery if they do have a heart attack.

Just asking people to think about the grudges they hold about things in their past immediately raises their blood pressure and increases their heart rate.

Where Does Forgiveness Happen in the Brain?

Neurologists have found that forgiveness comes not from the rational cortex, but from the more emotional limbic area of the brain, also involved in empathy. That is a clue to how and why EFT helps.

Often we tap away the emotional legacy of negative past experiences and the feelings about it start to dissolve and we say or we hear someone else say: “Well, when I think about it, my mother wasn’t really cold and unloving with me that day.  It was just that the baby was really unwell and she had had no sleep and …”  Or some other new version of an old story.

When we use EFT tap away the feeling, the reframe spontaneously pops up.  It is as if we have changed the metaphorical frame on the memory and its meaning has changed itself. There may no longer be anything to forgive.

How EFT Can Help With Forgiveness

If we identify and locate in our bodies the negative feelings we have about the person we have not forgiven – say “this black lump of anger in the pit of my stomach about X…,” tapping on that emotion and physical feeling may do the trick.  Again, when the feeling gets a reframe, then forgiveness often follows.

The decision to forgive in the abstract might seem a no-brainer.  But when emotion is clouding reason, we may not see our way to wanting to forgive. And even when we get to the point where we do, we may just find it really difficult.  We may still, at an emotional level, have blocking beliefs and/or dissenting parts.  One part of us might believe we really will be healthier and happier if we forgive someone while another part is completely against it.

Ideas for Tapping About Forgiveness

Here are some of the things you might find you need to tap on along the way.  Just select the ones that resonate with you.  As you read them and say them aloud, they might put you in touch with others..

  • Even though I really don’t want to forgive this… 
  • Even though I really don’t want to let them off the hook… 
  • Even though I don’t know how to forgive this… 
  • Even though they do not deserve to be forgiven… 
  • Even though I don’t know how to let this go… 
  • Even though I am not ready to forgive thi … 
  • Even though if I forgave I might not be able to keep myself safe…
  • Even though it is weak to forgive…
  • Even though I don’t deserve to be forgiven… 
  • Even though I can never forgive mysel …
  • Even though I don’t know who I would be without this guilt… 
  • Even though I could not trust myself if I forgave myself… 
  • Even though I am sure that the feelings will keep coming back and back…”

This is just a sample of the blocking beliefs you may have to clear before you can forgive.   The great thing about EFT is this knack it has of taking us where we need to go.  It means some places might be more efficient or elegant starting points but you can start pretty much anywhere and follow where EFT takes you.  So even tapping on some of those beliefs that are not relevant for you might just put you in touch with what is.

Note: Making Amends as a Compliment to EFT

Just one thing – if you have not forgiven yourself for something you did and for which you know you could and should still make amends, make amends first. EFT is not meant to be a “get out of jail free” card.  It is a brilliant gift that truly does give us the potential to enjoy emotional freedom; but it does not give us a licence to behave any way we like without consequences. It does not absolve us from our obligation to right wrongs when we can.

I am confident you will find that the combination of making what amends we can and tapping away the residual feelings, can bring a very deep level inner peace.

Judy Byrne Bio

Judy Byrne

EFT Founding master, Judy Byrne, is a therapist, trainer, author, and international presenter on EFT. She had a background is in psychotherapy, Ericksonian hypnosis and EMDR when she discovered EFT more than a decade ago and found that it transformed the way she worked with clients. She also weaves Neuroscience and Mindfulness into her client […]




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