Friday, May 26, 2006

Venting OK?

I received an e-mail from Jason concerning my article "Venting and Losing." I wanted to call attention to his feedback here. From the e-mail:

I agree with all of your supporting arguments, but they still left me wondering about your central thesis. I try to stand out by refraining from complaining [in public settings]. That was why I felt like venting to friends; being able to admit aloud that I felt overwhelmed and unfairly attacked. Our conversation centered around doing things with the same attitude that I serve God, laying my overwhelming burdens at God's feet and trusting him to help me through, and being grateful and content.

Your article listed lots of helpful attitude checks for people in a complaining mood. Couldn't venting be an opportunity to ask your friends to remind you of those same things? If I just wanted to criticize and wallow in negativity, I would have joined in the daily rant. Instead I turned to Christians that I respect because I wanted some help to have a positive outlook on the situation. It seems like your article could have encouraged venting in a Godly manner instead of condemning it altogether. What do you think?

I think Jason makes a good point and points out a possible aspect of "venting" that I may have overlooked. What do you think? Is venting sometimes OK?


Blogger Sarah said...

Suzanne, I had posted a link to your article on a Christian women's online message board I'm a part of, and one of the ladies responded:

"I just happened to read this the other day & it really made me think.

There is a lot of 'venting' in my office - and therefore it's a pretty negative place. I recently indulged in a vent to a co-worker and felt AWFUL afterwards...that was enough to make me realize it does not help to vent, neither yourself or the person you are talking to! It seems to spread negativity.

That said, there is a difference between venting and acknowledging your feelings. A friend & I recently discussed how disappointed we are, and a bit angry, at our current adoption proceedings...having someone else validate my feelings made me feel so much better and relieved. We moved on to finding the humor in the situation and comforting each other.

Anyway I thought it was a good article, well done to your friend!"

Everyone else who commented thanked me for sharing, said it convicted them, etc., and didn't mention anything like the above or what the guy who e-mailed you said.

That's a tough one...overall, I'd say to stick with what you wrote. I think venting is different than talking through feelings with a good Christian friend. Venting is more like "spewing" out the negative emotions, no matter who is there to hear it, whereas it's probably OK to mull over negative feelings with a good friend who will point you to the Lord and encourage you to live a godly life.

Interesting thoughts!

2:10 PM  

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