Curious: For the love of Venting
In honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s talk relationships. It doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship, it could be a family relationship, a friend relationship, or your relationships to how you treat strangers.
I realized I started venting a lot about a certain relationship/ dynamic I was having. A transaction in the relationship would happen, then I would go talk about it. Then I would talk to another person about it, then another, then another….
I didn’t even realize it was happening to be honest. I only realized it when I heard another person do the same thing. I heard her tell someone, and then she told another person, and then I walked into the same conversation with another person and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
We love venting. We have a committed relationship to venting. Happy Valentine’s Day, love you forever venting.
So, I got curious. Who am I venting about the most? Is it productive venting where I’m asking for help and getting something off my chest? Or, is it negativity magnet venting where I’m not looking for change or answers only agreement?
I realized the person I was venting about and the type of venting I was doing, kept me in the cycle of complaining and negativity. Also, how am I seriously complaining about a person who is so negative when all I’m doing is also being negative. Insert the negativity spiral of doom.
It was time for change, it was time to pause and get a little curios about what would happen if I stopped venting about the same thing over and over? Would my attitude actually change? Would my expectations of that person and future interactions change? Could I actually break up with venting?
I made some rules/boundaries for myself which were:
- I cannot vent immediately after speaking to or seeing this person
- If I have a question I need guidance on about this person, I can only ask based on fact and not my formulated opinion of how it needs to be. So if that doesn’t make sense, I can only ask a clarifying question about that person to another that will not result in a negative or harmful answer.
- I cannot vent to the people I would normally discuss this relationship with, and if asked about it change the subject or tell that person that I’m working on changing my relationship with venting.
- I can only openly vent to my therapist in hopes of seeing another perspective or outcome so that I can truly change my behavior.
- At then end of the week, check in with how I feel and what my headspace is like.
I knew I couldn’t just cold turkey throw venting's clothes out on my lawn, so I gave myself grace for slip-ups and I gave myself the opportunity to vent to my therapist because I knew it was a safe space to do so.
I realized venting feels great in the moment, but the venting hangover is not great. When I didn’t vent, it freed me up to talk about other things, it freed me up to actually listen to other people, and it freed me up to talk about something else!
For now, my relationship with venting is changed. We are no longer in love, but I could definitely see how I need to be careful about venting sliding back into my dms.
The question isn’t “how am I not going to vent anymore?!?!?” it’s “what do I want to be committed to?” because in a weird round about way, I actually made the courageous choice and deleted the Facebook app off of my phone, because I realized that is A LOT of venting only. Plus, I’ve also realized many of my friendships are with people who don’t have social media, so we have to actually talk and listen about what is going on in each other’s lives.