“Stupid” is not a word that is in my normal vocabulary. I apologize for using such a crass word, but I think it makes a perfect point. When our emotions take over, we may slip into a state where our normal intellectual resources seem to be unavailable, in other words, a “stupid state.”
What brought the idea of stupid states to mind was a hummingbird. During August and September here in Oklahoma, we are visited by dozens and dozens of migrating ruby-throated hummingbirds. Linda will have as many as eight feeders out and have to refill them every few days. We take great delight in these amazing creatures.
Most of the feeders are on our covered back patio which adjoins our garage. We have a door that opens from the patio to the garage and we usually have this door and the large 2-car garage door open during the day when we are home. Occasionally, a hummingbird or two will zoom right through the open door and through the garage on the way to or from the feeders. And several times a year, one will get “trapped” in the garage even though both doors are wide open and they could easily fly out.
It seems that hummingbirds are hardwired to fly up to freedom when alarmed. That strategy works great outdoors but not in garages with white ceilings. We have performed a half dozen rescues by various means. Incredibly, on two occasions, when the birds were freed of the self-imposed confines of the garage, they continued to fly upwards when released on the patio, bumping into the patio ceiling. I watched as one hapless young male flew around for 20 minutes looking for a hole in the patio ceiling. Exhausted, he perched just under the ceiling while dozens of other hummingbirds zoomed by within inches going to and from the feeders. But he was so focused on flying up to escape, he failed to notice his kin happily feeding only inches away! He was in a stupid state! His amazing resources of vision, perception, unmatched flying skills, and intelligence were temporarily unavailable to him.
Have you ever looked back on an incident and thought to yourself that the way you acted was not particularly smart? Have you ever been in a stupid state? One cause of stupid states is alcohol and other drugs that directly affect the brain. We all know it is not smart to drink and drive (at least we know that when we are not drinking). But being in a highly emotional state can impair your driving also. Studies have shown that driving while angry impairs a driver as much as being legally drunk!
Drugs can kick our brain into a stupid state and so can heavy emotions. Fear, grief, despair, guilt, jealousy, hatred, rage, anger, blame, worry, doubt, frustration, and impatience can short-circuit our normal clear thinking. So can positive emotions like joy, love, and passion.
Be on guard for emotional feelings. As soon as you feel the least bit distressed about anything – justified or not – stop and tap. “Even though I feel (emotion) , I deeply and completely accept myself.” The reminder phrase would be “This (emotion) .”
I was in a store last Friday to purchase a large, heavy item. Ever since I have made a daily effort to look for things in my life to appreciate, I usually attract only the most helpful, knowledgeable sales people and Friday was no different – until I went to check out. A woman was ahead of me checking out with half dozen bulky items. She had a 9-year-old daughter who continually whined about what she wanted, why she wanted it, and when she wanted it which was now. I quickly labeled the girl a whiny brat and had a few choice labels for the mother for allowing it. I was not seeing anything to appreciate at that moment!
Between addressing the whining daughter, the mother repeatedly told the clerk not to forget the discounts she was due. The clerk nodded each time and continued scanning items. But one item would not scan. The clerk tried several times; the mother tried holding the large item up; I offered to hold it up (I was totally ignored); but it would not scan. The clerk called for help which did not immediately appear.
After standing around for a few minutes waiting for help, the impatient mother finally got down and read the long number from the item while the clerk keyed it in. Success. The clerk called and cancelled the call for help. The whiny brat continued to whine. The mother continued to remind the clerk about the discounts.
Finally the amount was rung up and paid for with a debit card. The receipt was handed to the mother who asked again, “Did you give me the discounts?” The clerk once again said yes. But the mother didn’t like the total and insisted on an accounting of each item. By now my rational brain had almost shut down and my primitive emotional brain was coming on line.
The mother went over each item on the receipt looking for the promised discounts. Finally she said, “Did you give me the discount on XXX?” The clerk said she had forgotten and started apologizing and apologizing and apologizing. The mother demanded a correction be applied to her debit card. The clerk said she couldn’t do that and went into a long speech why she couldn’t credit a debit card. A call for help went out again. And again we stood around for several minutes waiting for the promised help.
Customers came and got in line, realized that the line was not moving and went to another register. But not me. I was next in line and I wasn’t going to lose my place! I deserved to be next in line! So I waited and waited and waited.
I’m not sure (remember, my rational brain was off line by now), but I believe that it was about 15 minutes before I got to check out.
Then I remembered to tap. I finger tapped as I was being checked out. See the Tension and Stress newsletter. That cleared my head enough for me to realize that I was too angry to drive safely. I went to the car and tapped. “Even though that clerk is incompetent, . . .” “Even though that kid is a brat, . . .” “Even though that mother is incompetent, . . .” “Even though that mother is a penny-pinching @#$%, . . . “ And finally, “Even though I’m angry at myself for creating this mess, I deeply and completely accept myself and all my feelings about this.” That did it.
I could then focus on how helpful the sales people had been and how they helped me save $60 on this purchase. I thought about other things I was grateful for and had a pleasant drive home.
At the first sign of a stupid state, start tapping.
(If you need a reminder on the EFT steps, see EFT Basic Steps.)
Questions and Comments
I don't want to tap on my face in public. Are there alternatives?
Yes, there are stealth tapping techniques. See Stealth Tapping.
If you have a specific topic you want me to address, send me a comment. Let me hear from you.
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Need a refresher on the EFT tapping techniques? See EFT Books. My personal favorite is Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing by Gloria Arenson.
You can take the Rowe Distress Inventory at n-o c-h-a-r-g-e. I suggest that you take it every week or so to track how you are doing. I don't see these tests.
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