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  • Writer's pictureSunset Moth Wellness

Healthy Relationships: Vent to Someone who has the Capacity to Receive it

When we are feeling frustrated, worried, confused, disappointed, defeated, and even elated or excited many of us want to vent or express those feelings and the reasons that evoked them to others. It's a natural response because it is a way to move energy out of the body as these emotions tend to overload the nervous system. It's also an opportunity to validate our feelings or receive advice, which also can help calm us.

If you want your venting session to be restorative, that is, the experience actually helps you move stressful energy through and out of your body in a calming and rejuvenating way, before you begin pouring your energy on someone else, ask first if they have the capacity to receive.

If, for example, the person you want to vent to is tired or is also struggling to manage their own major stresses they may not have the capacity to hold space for you. Instead what may happen is they only half listen, or they tell you your feelings are unwarranted, or they are quick to offer solutions before you have fully expressed yourself, or they turn the conversation and make it about them, just to name a few responses. When communication like this occurs, it's not going to be restorative for you. So ask first if someone has the mindshare, the wherewithal, the energy to hear you vent.

I'll admit, this is predicated on the fact that the person you are asking has enough self awareness and healthy boundaries to answer you honestly. I urge you to have people like this in your life and for you to become someone who can do this as well.

If the person says yes, you can proceed, and if the person says no, I urge you to respect those boundaries for the sake of the health of you and that person. If you can't find a person who has the capacity to listen to you vent, you are better off finding another way of discharging that energy.

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