We have all been guilty of this; not truly listening when someone is speaking, yet planning in our head what we are going to say when it is OUR turn to speak. Truth, huh? I know for me, I have definitely been guilty of just that. Yet, now I do try to listen intentionally to what a person is saying. I also try to listen to what they are NOT saying as well.
Anger is an emotion that can get the best of all of us at times. However, have you ever stopped to consider what message the person is really trying to display in their moments of anger? It’s hard to step back from someone in the heat of the moment when they’re wide eyed, red faced, and flaring their arms at you. But, if you try really hard not to get offended when they start and actually listen to them, you might just uncover that their anger is based off of either fear or shame.
Yep. That’s right.
Recently, I sat in silence at first when a person tried to start up with me. After trying really hard to tiptoe around the situation, I finally pointed out to the person that their anger was based off of shame. At that moment in time, they were ranting because in the past, they shamefully were not there when they should have been. Now they are having all of these feelings of inadequacies rushing in when someone else volunteers to step up and be there. That’s something deep within them for all the times that they chose not to be there in my time of need. When I went through a previous life threatening surgery and even when I fractured my hand and hip during a horse riding accident where a crazy horse threw me off, the person was emotionally distant and just chose not to be present when I truly needed them. That’s something they regret to this day, but it is something they will have to come to terms with. Getting angry because someone else volunteers to be present to help in a time of need is not going to solve the guilt and shame they feel deep within. That is something they will have to deal with on their own. And it should be a lesson learned to be present when someone needs you! Then you won’t have any regret, remorse or displaced anger later! You will have stepped up to the plate and been an honorable person and HELPED someone you proclaim to love.
I am not perfect and certainly never claimed to be, so I will admit my shortcomings this week as well in this department. I allowed fear to take over, and instead of voicing my concerns and what I was struggling with, I allowed it to spill out of me in the form of anger. It’s not right, but that is what happened, and I am woman enough to admit it. That particular day, I was awaiting a call from my doctor’s office. Deep in my heart, I knew they were going to tell me something was required that I absolutely did not want; surgery. My fear got the best of me, and my mouth would not stop spewing negativity! The more I talked, the angrier I became. But it was my fear at the root of it all. Once I recognized this, I apologized and then explained my craziness. It still doesn’t make it right, but at least I acknowledged what I was doing, where it came from, and apologized.
The next time someone comes at you with angry words, try really hard to read between the lines while listening to them in order to discover exactly what is at the root of it all. Is it fear or is it shame driving it?