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Thanks to his bathtub, Archimedes discovered the concept of displacement.  As he sat down in his bathtub, he noticed the water level would rise.  The weight of his body displaced the water.  From this epiphany, he realized he could use similar experiments to measure the volume of certain objects.

In life, we have …

  • Placements — things that are in their proper place.
  • Misplacements — things that are not placed in their proper place
  • Displacements — things that are replaced by other things.

Displacement shows up when we transfer our feelings about one thing/person/situation to another thing/person/situation.  In counseling terms, it’s called “kicking the dog.”  You “kick the dog” when, after a hard day at work, you come home and kick the dog.  The dog didn’t cause your bad day — you simply displaced your frustration.

Often times, we practice displacement and don’t even know it.  Little things that might not otherwise bother us become big explosions.  Or, we transfer the intensity of our disappointment in one area to a minor infraction in another.

Displacement is not inevitable … unless you’re taking a bath.