Listen to a companion tapping: (Download MP3)
“I feel so helpless…” is what I have heard time and time again in the past 2 weeks around the devastating racism we have all seen and witnessed, anchored by the story of George Floyd.
“I feel so helpless…”
What I know from being a psychotherapist for several decades is that when people feel helpless, they often do and say “unhelpful” things. Feeling helpless can lead to anxiety and anger, which can then lead to behaviors that are ungrounded and more hurtful. (And that’s not helpful!) So many of us can’t tolerate intense emotions, and then feel compelled to “act” when what we need to do is not act… or we need to act in a different way.
“I feel so helpless.”
I don’t pretend to know what might be helpful. I only know that when I feel helpless, angry and upset, I do my self-care practices which then allow me to stop being frozen. And when I am no longer frozen, I end up doing constructive things that make me feel like I am contributing to the solution instead of the problem.
I joined an awesome protest that sent chills up my spine, I’ve been meditating and tapping every day, I send love, respect and kindness to people from all walks of life. I also sent resources where I thought they would be useful… and I asked my friends in the black community: “How can I help?” The clearest answer I got was: “Thank you for asking. Just please continue to be a part of the conversation.”
So I’m not telling you to do anything except to calm down your stress response (fight or flight) with tapping. After that, only you know what is right for you to say or do.
And if the recently videotaped racism (that is only amplifying what has been there all along) doesn’t make you feel helpless, then use this tapping sequence below for a situation that does make you feel helpless. The point of tapping is to calm you down before you take an action. (And don’t forget last week’s newsletter on the importance of stillness!)
Try this tapping sequence:
Side of the hand: Even though I feel helpless, and don’t know what to say or do, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway… Even though I feel urgency to do something, but I don’t know what it should be, I accept that I need to sit with my feelings first… Even though I feel helpless, again, I accept who I am and how I feel.
Eyebrow: I feel so helpless
Side of Eye: I don’t know what do to
Under Eye: I feel so helpless
Nose: I don’t know how to help
Chin: I feel angry, anxious and guilty
Collarbone: I don’t know how to help
Top of Head: I hate feeling helpless.
Take a deep breath, and then continue tapping.
Eyebrow: I still feel helpless
Side of Eye: I want to contribute to the solution
Under Eye: I don’t understand
Nose: I don’t know what I can do
Chin: I’ll do anything not to feel helpless
Collarbone: I want to help but I don’t know how
Top of Head: I can sit with my feelings and then decide what to do
Take another deep breath and continue tapping on whatever feelings are surfacing for you. I have a long list that I didn’t even mention, but helplessness seemed to be the biggest one I kept hearing.
Take care of yourself and others. It’s what we’re here to do.
Respect and kindness rock.