Are You a Stuffer or a Dumper?
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When it comes to communicating our feelings, we either stuff our feelings on the inside, or we dump our feelings on someone. There are advantages and disadvantages of each style of communicating.
There are advantages to being a Stuffer.
1. It's wise to be quick to listen. As you're engaging in a conversation, it's important to hear all of what the person is saying, not just bits and pieces. If you listen well and interalize the information, you'll be able to respond well to the person talking (James 1:19).
2. It's wise to be slow to speak. We all have dealt with criticism in some way, some constructive and some not. Whenever we are criticized, it's our tendency to be quick to defend ourselves and even to point the finger back. Sometimes the best thing to do is to take it in, process it, and if necessary, respond back. Taking a deep breath doesn't hurt anybody.
3. Stuffing prevents gossip. If someone tells you gossip, it's important to bite your tongue and not spread the fire (James 3:1-12).
The disadvantages of being a Stuffer are...
1. Stuffers can hold grudges. If all you do is interalize your feelings and never share them, your feelings can easily turn into grudges. You can begin to have negative thoughts about a person because issues get unresolved due to a lack of communication. You must eventually communicate your thoughts to prevent resentment.
2. Stuffers can withdraw. If you're upset with someone and never share your feelings, you can easily turn into a stonewall. You stop listening and disenage. This doesn't help anyone.
3. Stuffers can explode. As a Stuffer, if you don't withdraw, you will eventually explode. You will stuff all your feelings and emotions in for so long that one day, it will all come out. People will be shocked and won't know what to do.
There are advantages to being a Dumper.
1. Dumpers are vulnerable. People like honesty and openess. When someone dumps on you in a postive way, it makes it easier to open up to them. It's important to share what's on your heart.
2. Dumpers are quick on their feet. Because they're used to expressing their thoughts openly, dumpers can be funny and good on job interviews. They often keep the conversation going and never provide a dull moment.
3. Dumpers can tell it how it is. Sometimes, the best thing to do is just say what people are thinking. It's important to keep communication open, and dumping provides little question about what people are thinking.
The disadvantages of being a Dumper are...
1. Dumpers tend to vomit. Because Dumpers are always open, they tend to give out too much information. Dumpers need to learn not to provide tmi. If you're always sharing your struggles, people will tune you out and not take you as serious. Remember the Big, Bad Wolf (see Proverbs 12:23)?
2. Dumpers can be critical. Because Dumpers are used to sharing their heart, they expect others to do the same. When they meet a Stuffer, they get frustrated and can become critical.
3. Dumpers can become defensive. When they are confronted, they can make excuses, or play the 'yes, but' game. They're used to being the ones dumping, so when someone dumps on them, they often don't know what to do.
Which are you? A Stuffer or a Dumper?