We’ve all experienced “venting,” both as the giver and as the receiver. Venting when someone is basically complaining about something in their life they’ don’t like. It can be pretty annoying. A little bit is fine, but the habitual venters need something very important – a quick education about what venting is and why they’re doing it. Like much of what we talk about here at A Clean Mind, it’s not rocket science, but our society doesn’t talk about this kind of thing a whole lot. The problem with venting is that it doesn’t work. It wears out the “ventees,” too. And no, that’s definitely not a word. Actually, it probably is a word in Scrabble. Have you noticed how just about any combination of letters is somehow a word in Scrabble? Wait – why are we talking about Scrabble now?? Back to venting…
Here’s the key to understanding venting – like arguing, venting is a form of expressing feeling. Usually that feeling is anger or frustration. We’ve talked a lot about feelings and the three things you can do with them – suppress them, express them, or feel them (always recall Feelings 101 and The Sedona Method). And only one of things works in terms of letting the feeling leave your system. When we suppress or express, the feeling stays intact. When we feel, it gets it moving. Most people think of yelling, throwing something, or punching a wall when they think of expressing a feeling like anger, but venting has the exact same dynamic – it’s nothing more than an expression.
So what can a person do instead of vent? Feel. There’s an impulse to vent. When this impulse is noticed, the first thing to do is to definitely not talk! Do not open your mouth. Please. Take a breath and feel what’s there. Get it moving. When it has moved some, you’ve done your job and you can continue with what you were doing. Ideally, you’ll notice that the need to vent is gone or at least diminished. You might still need to talk to someone about the issue at hand, but now you’ll just talk. When you remove expression from venting, you have talking. As I said above, the dynamic is exactly the same as it is with arguing, but just toned down some.
Isn’t this simple when you understand it? I love it. You really can cut down your venting and arguing dramatically when you learn this and then actually practice it. Your friends and others in your life will be very appreciative, too. Nobody likes to hear someone vent all the time. When you vent all the time, you wear them out. So give it a try. And if you’re more of a receiver, all I can say is good luck trying to get the venter to understand this and try it out. Be gentle. You can always email them this link and say it was an accident. Good luck and happy non-venting!