When I began studying for my bachelor’s in communication, I had no idea I would learn so much. Additionally, I have learned more in an unexpected way. Yes, I have learned a lot academically. But, I am continuously amazed at how much I learn about my own life and habits from my courses. I suppose it makes sense, considering I am studying an always-constant part of life—communication.
Nevertheless, I do not think I was fully prepared for the number of moments while reading or watching a video and saying, “Wow, that’s me. I have this problem or skill. That explains so much!” Sometimes, I find these revelations encouraging. Other times, I find them daunting and overwhelming.
Today, I will divulge on one of those daunting moments. I just finished taking a course called “Critical Listening.” It’s okay if you just raised your eyebrow or cocked your head to the side and said, “What?” I did, too, when I first heard about it. Truthfully, the course was greatly beneficial. It helped me see my strengths and weaknesses as an active, present listener.
During said course, I realized I have a lot of defensive listening tendencies. No, it wasn’t a great realization, but it was necessary. One of those tendencies is to displace my emotions from another person or situation on to another.
I am going to be real with you all. When I read about this, it was quite the slap in the face because it unearthed such an obvious issue. I know I have this issue because I displace my emotions before I realize they are even there in the first place.
For instance, I may have a constant nagging feeling in my head all day and have no clue what could be bothering me. I could relentlessly mull over it and still have no idea. Yet, all it takes is one bad, snarky, inappropriate comment for me to realize the burning issue.
I hate to say I am at this point right now. I usually hurt and blame someone else in the process before fully grasping the root cause of whatever may be bothering me. I know that is not fair. I know I should be better than that. I know I should not linger when I know something is bothering me. I know all these things in my head.
Yet, stubborn, sinful me, has not had enough of these moments to break the cycle. I would love to say it’s because of my past or because of this person or situation but that I displace my emotions. Not only would that be dishonest, but it simply is another form of displacement. You cannot stop or justify displacement with more displacement.
You have to deal with the root cause. While, yes, the root overflow effect may differ, the cause never changes. The cause is always pride. In one way or another, we always convince ourselves we can act this way or that because of someone else. But, really, the only person’s actions we can control are our own.
It is not fair, nor is it right, to take our frustrations from person/situation D onto person/situation A. Person/situation A has nothing to do with Person/situation D, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise. Just because one relationship/situation may be difficult, does not mean another one should be as well.
If you have a difficult relationship with someone, talk with those you do have a good relationship with. Turn to them as a source of encouragement and a listening ear, not a punching bag.
And if you have hindered one good relationship or situation because of another bad one, apologize. Be humble. Seek forgiveness. If your relationship allows it, let that person know this is an area you struggle in, so you can have further accountability.
Thank you for listening. This was a hard topic to bring up, but it is necessary. It is my form of accountability. Even though I am not happy that I have this defensive technique, I am glad I am aware of it now. I want to combat it one conversation and encounter at a time.