Picture this: You get home from work after a shitty commute, from a shitty job, with shitty co-workers. And today in the office, like most days, someone incompetent has yet again made things more difficult than it has to be for you. So to unwind from the day you vent to your partner/spouse/roommate.
In recounting the offense, you find yourself getting worked up all over again. You’re angry, your heart is racing, your face flushed, you’re probably yelling, the dog is cowering in the corner, the baby is crying… And then you feel bad all over again. It’s like the incident just happened… AGAIN.
Was reliving that moment really necessary? Do you feel better? What about your partner/spouse/roommate? Did you unwittingly transfer some of those feelings to him/her? Did you find a new solution to the problem? Did you just spend an hour recounting an unpleasant situation when you could have been doing something fun instead?
The truth is you probably gained absolutely nothing from venting. What’s worse is that you just dumped some of the negativity on to someone else.
Brace your self here: Sometimes venting can actually set you back!
I’m not saying never talk about anything to anyone. But sometimes the smart move is to let go and move on. Especially in situations where rehashing it serves no purpose or gains you no new insight. Because just as we can share positive energy, we can share negative energy as well. And maybe the kinder thing to do for the people around us is to spare them from the futility of what you’ve already experienced. (Unless you’re at the point where you can laugh at it).
Sometimes the best path is to simply say to yourself, “It’s okay. I’m done with that. I’m not going through it again.”
I often remind my students at the beginning of class to let go of all the absurdities that have crept in during the day. (Including the time I accidentally tried to kill my co-worker). Now is not the time for that. We can only be as strong as our ability to let things go. That when we free ourselves of constraints our ability to expand is limitless.
Emotional traps/vacuums are easy to fall into and it is even easier to share/dump that energy on to others in the guise of “venting.” But it can turn into an emotional black hole where it will suck in and destroy anyone nearby.
So pay closer attention to your emotions. Ask yourself if “venting” serves a purpose. Please do not spend one more second on anything that doesn’t serve you. And for the love of all things holy, spare your loved ones!
This public service announcement is brought to you by wine and regret. Also, if you find that you just can’t get the funk off of your mind, here is a funny cat/dog picture.