This year has been an emotionally trying year for a number of reasons.
I could spend this entire article listing the ways we’ve been put through the wringer. But I don’t think we need the reminder.
Sometimes what we need is someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on or just an empty field to scream at.
These options aren’t always available or convenient and when they do become convenient we often feel worse. Or, we regret divulging too much or second-guess the person we confided in.
We may vent to the “right” people or vent in the wrong way because at the end of it we feel worse or unheard.
So what do we do when we just need to get stuff off our chest? Who do we turn to when the cost of therapy is ridiculously high and inaccessible?
Here are some tips on how to vent to friends and family without causing further stress to either of you.
1. Timing Is Everything
You may have a trust-worthy, level-headed friend who works at an accounting firm for a big tech company. They’re the perfect candidate to vent to, but they probably don’t have the time to lend an ear.
Ask them to pencil you in and don’t take it personally if they can’t. We all have problems that we don’t divulge. But it’s always better to ask for someone to make time for you, rather than calling them on the fly. It shows that you are being considerate of their feelings as well.
2. Say It Out Loud First
I’ve often found that sometimes, saying something out loud helps to bring clarity to a situation.
The words are often trapped in our minds circling for hours or sometimes days and weeks. They get jumbled with “what-ifs” and “maybes” tied to extreme opinions.
Before approaching your loved ones, find a quiet, private place to practice saying how you feel out loud. You may find that you’re able to forego quite a few convos.
It may just be me, but sometimes after I bear my soul to a friend I have buyer’s remorse.
I start to worry whether or not they are trustworthy enough to keep everything I’ve told them discreet.
A rule of thumb my father has always given me is this: if I don’t want to hear it repeated, don’t tell anyone about it.
Ok, Azra. So how do I vent if I can’t tell anyone what’s wrong?
Parallels helps us to convey emotions and feelings without being totally upfront about what’s going on.
They are so much more than examples. What you want to do is demonstrate using multiple real-life situations of others or even that person you’re venting to that draws on the senses: what they can see, hear, touch, taste or smell.
By using imagery you both relate to, you encourage empathy and they give better advice based on their experiences.
You walk away with your dignity in tact, and with a load off your shoulder.
We are all fighting battles.
No one has it all together. As you traverse through the remainder of 2020 remember that you are not isolated in your troubles and that no one has all the answers.
Do not bottle up your emotions. Find health outlets to talk, journal and express your feelings.
I guarantee you’ll feel better.