Beware of Only Venting

By my nature, I am not a positive, grateful type person. I come from a long line of rather easily irritated, sarcastic and snarky bunch who become “prickly” quite easily. We are “venters.” Not inventors, but venters. We vent. That’s just our nature. In other words, we complain about people, situations, and events. We don’t see the glass as half full. Nor do we see the glass as half empty. Instead, we complain about the glass! We complain about what is in the glass. We complain that there aren’t two glasses. In fact, we might even complain that it is a glass rather than a mug. It comes naturally. And we do it quite easily.

So, learning to be thankful and looking at life from a healthier perspective has been a process for me. I’ve had a long road of learning that if all I do is vent (complain) about either a situation or person that has triggered me I will become stuck in a cesspool of emotional dung.

If all you do is vent (complain), it will make you sick. Yes, there’s research regarding venting. (Check it out, Google: Does Venting Anger Feed or Extinguish the Flame? Catharsis, Rumination, Distraction,
Anger, and Aggressive Responding by Brad J. Bushman from Iowa State University.)

Venting about things is OK, but not if that’s all you do. If that’s all you do, then you become stuck which leads you to negative rumination and anger. It makes you emotionally toxic. Honestly, I believe that this is a major issue for many most people. And when you have a mental health issue such as bipolar and do talk therapy with a counselor, it is even easier to get stuck in the venting mode. Plus, if you attend a support group that is only “cathartic-venting” it can lead to destroying one’s chances of living well.

After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, all I did was vent about it. I rehearsed (vented) over and over how hurt I was by people following a very painful manic episode for nearly seven years.

So how did I move past just venting? I learned to ask myself two questions and remind myself of a few things:

Question # 1: So, what am I going to do about it?

Question #2: Can I change anything about it? (Am I willing to change what I can change? I can’t change other people, but I can change how I respond to them and what happens when I become triggered by them.)

What I remind myself of: I will change what is mine to change. Letting go of what I can not change brings me peace. If I all I do is complain about it then I’m going to become angry, agitated, overly negative and emotionally toxic. Which all leads to going down a very dark, deep hole. Rather, I’m going to be thankful that I can change what I can change and that I’m not responsible for the things I cannot change.

There are still times I slip into old patterns of only venting about someone or something. And it is then that I have to remind myself to ask those two questions. It is at that point that I have to remind myself where only venting will lead me.

How about you? Do you ever get stuck venting and not being able to move forward? What do you do when you find yourself only venting about something or someone?

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