I have this terrible habit of grandstanding.
For example, I can be in a conversation with a friend, and something he or she says trips something inside of me, and the next minute, I find myself in the middle of a full-blown speech – either decrying or acclaiming the merits of something. Usually my statements are full of judgments. Even if my grandstand is an evaluation of myself along with whatever group or ideology I’m judging, the point remains that I’ve just hijacked a friend’s conversation and turned it into an opportunity to air my latest frustration.
It may just be processing something out loud – and there are absolutely appropriate times and places for that – but my grandstanding has at least two really negative effects.
1. It stops me from listening. It stops me from reflecting and seeking deeper understanding of the face directly in front of me. Do I know what that person hopes for from this conversation? Do I even care? Am I making this all about me and what I’ve been thinking?
2. It keeps me from emotionally connecting to the other person. When grandstanding, I’m usually not exposing a vulnerable place in me, but more of a developing thought pattern. If I begin to grandstand when someone was trying to connect on another level, I’ve not only shut that other person out, but I’m lying to myself about what is important in our relationship.
Well, now that I’ve confessed that for the world to see, maybe I’ll be quicker to listen and slower to speak (James 1:19-27).