My friends like to vent.  They say it’s healthy.  I’m not sure I’m convinced of that. 

Now, it’s not like I don’t jump on that train ~  It starts innocently enough with talk of how tough the winter’s been.  Then, it turns into complaints about husbands.  You know, I just can’t deal with X –  fill in the details.  Before you know it, the conversation has tumbled into a pool of negative stories and complaints about everything!

Venting is contagious. At least the way we play it.  Sometimes I startthe game, but others have drawn me in unawares.  I still don’t know how to get out of the way.   It’s alluring to walk down that path of “I know, I have another similar story with different details to tell.”

After a venting session, I usually still want to talk about it to anyone I can find.  As if the flood gates had been opened.  It rarely makes me feel any less burdened by it – whatever it is which weighs heavy on me.  I certainly don’t see any more solutions.  Perhaps I just feel drained – in no condition to deal with this!

What if we could shift the direction the energy is traveling, spiraling down so quickly? Instead of upping the ante of negativity as to how put upon we are, how downtrodden our lives, how weighty our burdens, what if we tried to find out what’s really going on behind the complaints?

I, personally, think this process is better handled alone.  A pen and paper serve well to capture what the issues are – that way you can go back and highlight what’s real and what’s not – and it keeps you from repeating yourself.  Something that easily creeps into a verbal venting. Also, I’m not fond of spreading my negative mood onto the clean clothes of a friend.  It doesn’t seem a friendly thing to do. When we vent, we are literally spewing our stuff into someone else’s lap.  But, I know, not everyone is as comfortable with a pen as I am. And I can see the value in having someone there to help.

What if we worked together to find the root cause of the issues, instead of dwelling in the details?  The cause often doesn’t care what its effect may be, what the details of the situation are.  We all have stories, tons of them. They’re not all that different. The details come and go.  But that’s where we put all our focus when we’re venting.  It’s all about the particulars of our distress.  (How often, I might ask, do we go on and on about how good things are?)

Perhaps together we can hose off the emotion and try to find the facts of the situation.  Help our friend to shine the light of that passion inside instead of searching for the culprit outside. 

Listen to what you’re telling yourself. Your emotions are coming directly from there.  What are the thoughts that are causing you to need to vent?  You may discover the thought isn’t even true. Or that things are not nearly as bad as all that.  It may be true in some ways, but that’s a rather dramatic way to describe it.  Maybe there really is nothing you can do about it, at the moment.  Your emotions don’t really care. They just want to vent.

Begin to soften the emotions by stating the facts.  What really is going on here?   In telling the truth about the situation you start to see the gold nuggets.  The good stuff that’s always there, in every relationship, in (or around) every situation. Gratitude slows your breathing, calms your blood pressure, returns your much-relaxed focus to the present moment.

In the present moment, you are safe. Whatever the bad situation, it isn’t bearing down on you to take action at the moment.  You can acknowledge the help you have, what you have going for you.  Now you can handle the details of the situation with a freshened mind and a wider heart.  In a much better position to make a choice about how to heal, soothe or eliminate this situation.

Maybe it’s good to have a friend with you on this journey.  To help you find what you’re saying about it, search with you for the good stuff, and encourage you to dream up a more perfect scenario.  Then, you have something to work with to make things better.

It seems a funny thing to me.  These feelings and emotions we have are like flashlights.  You can shine them out and add to the emotion your friend is spewing out.  But is that what you want to create?  More of that?

If we shine the light, instead, inside, we can become aware of the thoughts that actually drive us. And are largely responsible for the situations and relationships we find ourselves in.  There you will have a clearer view, more control over your emotions to emote you where you want to go.  It’s only when you have your hands on the driving wheel of thoughts that you can take positive steps to solve the problem, deal with it, handle it, or let it go. Whatever needs to be to done, whatever will work in the moment.