“Consider whether its time to vent.”

“Consider whether its time to vent.”

When something goes wrong, it’s natural to want to vent to someone else. As social creatures, we enjoy sharing our joys, hopes, and dreams with one another…and sometimes we seek out sympathy from others for our troubles. But recently I’ve been wondering if venting for the purpose of venting is really a good idea. Sure, it helps us reflect and externalize any internal thoughts or concerns we may have, but it can also drag us back into the mud instead of helping us move on.

I’ve found that if you’ve already processed or reflected on what went wrong and have moved on, maybe it would be best not to vent. Venting can take you back to the point when things went wrong, and rather than helping you move forward, it can drag you backwards unintentionally. We vent, and sometimes in doing so we end up triggering the very emotions that we felt shortly after something went wrong.

When we vent, we don’t usually seek advice. In fact, if you’ve ever wanted to just vent and someone offers their advice (“Here’s what I think you should do…”), the reaction is almost always defensive in nature because we feel we aren’t being listened to. Venting isn’t something that needs fixing, its something that needs ‘doing’, and as good natured our friends may be in offering some advice, we may simply not be receptive to it.

Venting Person

Venting can be very healthy however, but perhaps there should be a bit more consideration on what the purpose of venting is before venting actually begins. Is it to generate sympathy? Is it to help you understand what happened? Is it to let off some steam? Depending on the purpose, venting may or may not be a good idea.

Recently, I’ve realized that once I’ve already reflected on something that I previously wanted to vent about, venting later on has a negative effect because it only triggers the same frustrations that I had supposedly moved on from. Emotions can be very addictive, and the act of constantly venting can help feed and enable that addiction.

So the next time you want to vent, take one small step back and ask yourself WHY you are venting, and whether venting will help or hinder you from moving on. Sometimes you may even have to begin venting before you realize exactly what positive or negative effect it has on you. If you do decide to vent, give whoever is listening a heads up that the point is just to vent. It can help them better help you in the situation as well.

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