The Inner Stuper or Ending Personal Stupidity

You are so dumb! Worthless, in fact. No one’s gonna read that!”

“Buzz off,” I reply, without looking up. I continue writing.

What makes you a so-called expert on stupidity? By the way, have you looked in the mirror? Is that a crevice between your brows or just a new wrinkle?”

“I said get lost! Now!” I speak more firmly this time. “I ain’t got no time for you.”

(Sometimes I slip into insufferable slang in order to really drive home a point).

Had you viewed this heated exchange, dear readers, you would have seen me, quietly sitting in front of the computer, using my best posture and thoughtfully engrossed in my writing. No, I did not run to look at myself in the mirror.

The barb-thrower was none other than yours truly. The brief, verbal wrestling match emanated from my own head: my inner negative critic and me. I usually don’t allow him to be heard, but I did for the sake of this post. This disparaging alter ego exists in many of us, excelling in planting fears and anxieties, magnifying insecurities and creating low self-esteem that makes us doubt ourselves. It’s the stuper (short, once again, for an impertinently stupid person) in each of us.

I call this vitriolic voice, Ling, thanks to a stupernatural encounter, many years ago. When I was in my early twenties, a psychic, Matilda, approached me, laughing uncontrollably. Matilda explained,

“There’s a chubby, Chinese guy standing right behind you. Ling’s so funny!”

At the time, I was standing alone. Apparently, Ling was an apparition only a psychic could appreciate. I decided to humor her. “What’s he saying?”

Matilda only continued laughing, erupting into such elongated hysterics, I gave up and walked away. But I took Ling with me. He became the personification of the nasty, disruptive voice existing in my consciousness that tries to bring me down. Ling seemed like the perfect name. Miserable, argumentative, pudgy and possibly a member of the Communist party, always greedily criticizing and complaining with his mouth full, trying to wreck havoc by relentlessly pushing me off track. Appearing whenever I felt vulnerable.

“You look fat in those pants!”

“How can I?” I reply calmly. “I weigh the same as I did in high school.”

In the early days, I let Ling do his job. My confidence was undermined. I routinely called myself an idiot, wondered how I’d ever get the job I wanted, felt I was never good enough and so forth. When I managed to get the dream job, I was paranoid that I’d lose it.

Everyone wants your job,” Ling hissed. “Did I mention that you’re freakish to be having such a conversation?”

And so it was until one day, I decided to talk back to that irritating inner voice.

“I’m not listening to you anymore. If you’ve got something positive to share, then we’ll talk. Otherwise, farewell.”

The self criticisms didn’t go away that easily, but slowly and vigilantly, I silenced the intrusive inner commentary. I pictured my mind as a bus with me as driver and all the little denunciations as passengers, trying to take over the driver’s seat. If I let them, my bus would crash. My aim was to reduce the wretched, whining passengers until all the nasties were thrown out. So if I heard a negative thought, I’d see it as an undesirable rider and hurl him out by the seat of his baggy pants, while working on convincing the rest to proceed in a positive direction. It worked.

We owe it to ourselves to speak kindly in our minds. Our happiness and personal progress depends largely on our own efforts. We should strive harder to train our minds to think positively to develop the best in each of us.

Guard your mind.


9 Responses to “The Inner Stuper or Ending Personal Stupidity”

  1. Jenny says:

    Ling’s living with me now. Have you missed him lately? I just heard him hiss! He tells me that no matter how hard I try, no one will ever want to read (much less publish … or vice versa) anything I write. That I don’t know how, that I’m not smart enough, that I’m too old and not qualified and am living in a dream world.

    But then I look down at a page taped to the wall beside my desk containing a sentiment I got from YOU not long ago, to wit: “Keep a perfect picture in your head of the way you’d like things to be in your life. Polish it. Make it shine. And it will come to pass.”

    Seriously … thanks for this post, Keli. I needed it TODAY.

  2. Keli says:

    Ling never was too smart, so you have nothing to worry about.
    Thank you so much, for the wonderful compliment you paid me – I am so moved by the fact that you keep my quote by your desk! I sincerely hope it helps you stay on target with what you want out of life.

  3. Agnes Mildew says:

    What a brilliant post! I must be honest and say that you are the last person I would have expected to have Ling kicking around! Your writing oozes confidence, self-esteem and intelligence. And it is obviously because you have taken the stance of telling him where to go. Good for you.
    Keep evicting Ling – he’s just living rent free in many people’s heads…

  4. Ferd says:

    Wow, Keli, I always enjoy your insights and your intelligent, humorous style, but this was really food for thought. Good food. I have been driven by fear and anxieties for much of my life. It took me into my forties before I told my Ling to beat it. Eliminating negatives and accentuating positives is what I try to do now. I think you are right that it has to start with our own minds.

    Thanx, Kel!

  5. Elaine says:

    I think Ling lives in all of us though like Ferd the older I get the less Ling intrudes into my daily thoughts. This is a brilliant post Keli. Have you ever thought about doing motivational speaking? I’d think you’d pack the auditorium!

  6. dawn says:

    This fits in perfectly with my life right now. I am taking a course at the moment and a lot of it is based on Personal development. Thanks Keli! 🙂

  7. The voice…

    I never really considered it was there for everyone. My attitude is usually one of “ah, bo**ocks to it, who cares.” but lately that’s not so easy.

    I admire you for fighting it with reason. Great post.

  8. Jenny says:

    Hey Keli … go over to Special Kind of Stupid ( and read Kev’s post, “Saturday Salute” … ! You’ll be glad you did.

  9. Keli says:

    Thank you, my dear! No one should live in our heads without our permission.
    Thanks very much! It took me a long time to learn to speak only kindly to myself. It made a huge difference!
    Thank you, kindly! That is one of the nice parts about getting older. Really learning to do only what is best for ourselves and leaving the rest behind.
    Good for you! And you’re welcome!
    Mr P:
    Thank you very much! When we’re feeling a bit vulnerable is when the Ling voice is loudest. It’s important to shout back until he’s so deaf and weary, he has no choice but to exit.
    Thanks again, Jen. I will visit!

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