6 Virtues of Venting…
1. In many (though not all) situations it’s better for you to discharge negative emotions than to keep them bottled up inside. Whether it’s sorrow, anxiety, anger, or frustrations in general, repeatedly holding in what may need to come out has been related to compromised health – physical, mental, and emotional. The immediate feelings of relief derived from such letting go can hardly be overstated. Doubtless, at some point in your life you’ve benefited from the comfort and consolation of another person’s supporting and validating you when you shared some distressing experience with them.
2. Venting helps to restore your equilibrium. When your emotions have catapulted to the ceiling because you’ve let something get to you, your higher neo-cortical functioning goes offline. And with that impairment, your mental faculties can become addled—discombobulated. But if you have a trusted confidant(e) to assist you in regaining control of these rattled feelings, you’ll be able to think more logically. And hopefully, you’ll then be capable of viewing the disturbing situation from a less exaggerated—or distorted—perspective.
3. As long as you’re sufficiently careful in selecting whom you’ll confide in, their sympathetic response is likely to make you feel better—or at least not quite as bad. The troubling sense of being all alone in your misfortune is almost always significantly reduced by another’s concerned willingness to allow you to share your grievances with them. Just in itself, self-expression feels good. But what can help you feel even better is being listened to by someone who genuinely seems to care about you. For through their warmheartedly “getting” your discomfiture and commiserating with you, your frustrations feel all the more rightful and legitimate.
4. If you’re too emotionally entangled in what happened to you, you can’t think very clearly about what you may still be able to do about the situation. Your confidant(e), however, by being more detached, may be in a much better position to suggest ways of effectively addressing your frustrations. True, in many instances there may be nothing that can be done about the situation (other than “sucking it up”). But even here we might consider the meaning and validity of the famous expression, “misery loves company.” The mere act of venting to a compassionate other has its own gratifications. All the same, there are times when your friend might be able to suggest potentially productive actions that, in your agitated state, might never have occurred to you.
5. Ideally, you ought to be capable of independently moving beyond the feelings that plague you—and to do this by changing the negative assumptions or assessments you attributed to whomever, or whatever, instigated those feelings. But at times you may need to vent to another to get assistance in reinterpreting what you may either have taken too personally, or perceived erroneously. Your over-the-top feelings could relate specifically to anxiety and fear, guilt and shame, sadness or despondency, or anger and rage. But in any case, it can be invaluable to have another person—with their own vantage point and authority—help you to relieve, release, or resolve such pestering feelings.
6. Directly confronting the source of your frustrations could possibly put you at serious risk (e.g., get you fired). Despite the fact that reason and ethics may plainly be on your side, there are various situations that are simply too dangerous to go up against. In such scenarios, it’s a great relief to at least have someone in your corner who you know is safe to vent these strong feelings to.