Do your emotions ever hijack your critical thinking?

I recently lost a piece of jewelry and subsequently searched high and low to find it. The chaotic process ended up presenting a case study on the precious need for calm and logic in a highly charged environment. Otherwise, responses will likely become drama driven rather than rational.

Lost and Found
My husband gave me a pair of diamond stud earrings that I’ve grown accustomed to wearing almost every day. They’re special to me, so I take them out before activities like showering and sleeping.

Several weeks before this writing, I was in bed one night when I removed the earrings. After securing the backs on the posts with every intention of getting up in just a minute to put them away, I cupped the studs in my hand, and … fell asleep.

All of that faded from my memory until I was getting dressed the next morning. When the studs were not in their usual spot, I went to my bed and lifted the linen sheet. A single earring was resting near my pillow. I cautiously pulled back the sheet and duvet until both were completely off the bed. A thorough, inside-out pillowcase, sham, and duvet inspection ensued.

“Why did you do this!” I shouted to myself. No earring here; no earring there. I felt like I was losing my mind.

Don’t disturb the scene of the crime!

Every good detective knows that, but how was I supposed to find my other earring if I didn’t move things around?

Sensing my heightened anxiety, our fluffy puppy ran into the room and instantly became a suspect. We locked eyes as he underwent a fur search and interrogation: “Did you eat my earring?” Although something in the back of my mind hinted at his involvement, I released him from custody yet barred him from the bedroom. No evidence tampering—not by him, at least.

Throughout the day, I returned to the room—sans canine—to search.

The earring was nowhere on the bedroom floor—confirmed from my covering every inch of hardwood, including the remote corners, by hand with a dust cloth.  (Albeit ransacked, that room was clean!) The demolition continued with the mattress’s removal because, don’t you know, the earring might have slithered down to the box springs, just as it could have flown across the room to one of the windowsills, up to a ceiling fan blade, or inside a closed drawer.

By the time my husband arrived home from work, the place resembled a true crime scene.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “It’s probably right in front of our eyes. We’ll find it.”

Before joining the search, my husband needed to finish up some business. He stepped into the doorway of his home office, which is down the hallway from our bedroom, and wearing socks, he felt a sharp object under his foot.

“I found the earring!” he called.

It had neither sprouted wings nor grown legs; the stud had clearly traveled there by canine.

Apparently, it had fallen to the floor when I first emerged from the bed. Our opportunistic puppy then grabbed it into his mouth and darted off. Such behavior is typical of him. Besides fetching balls and toys that we’ve tossed down the hallway for him to retrieve, he loves snatching a toy (or something of ours) and enticing us to chase him. When I didn’t know to pursue him for the earring, which wasn’t tasty or chewable, he’d simply dropped it.

The realization evoked a flashback of that frisky little fellow standing next to the bed, wagging his tail, and twirling something around in his mouth. Unable to see what he had, I assumed he had picked up a tiny leaf or bug that he had tracked inside. That’s when he raced out the room. A minute later, he returned to the scene of the crime, all but admitting his guilt.

Instead of noticing the obvious clue to the earring’s whereabouts and trusting the sane voice inside that was telling me to focus on him, I thought of all the nooks and crannies in which my earring could possibly hide. Indeed, I embarked on a wild goose chase!

A wild imagination, fueled by passion, can be ideal for creative pursuits, but a common-sense evaluation and response beg for composure. Since an emotionally packed environment often overwhelms critical thinking, it makes sense to put feelings aside (if only temporarily) so that any heart-pounding intelligence can be viewed and assessed as plain data.

My best to you,
Sallie W. Boyles, a.k.a. Write Lady

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