Soul Sunday: Complaining vs Venting - What are you doing?
Spiritually - I'm learning that complaining (and murmuring) gets me very little in my walk with God. It prevents me from making better choices, being faithful, and guarding my heart. Essentially - it's my way of questioning God or being doubtful of him. Naturally - complaining can have the same ill effects.
But wait a minute...I'm a counselor. Don't I help listen to people complain ALL day long. Don't I bank on peoples sorrows and ongoing dissatisfaction of life?
I allow and encourage (as well personally need) venting. Venting in my opinion is expressing your feelings, and working through them in order to be able to move forward or make change. When you vent - you are usually open to hearing feedback, willing to take suggestions, and feel much better releasing the emotions.
When you complain - you are still voicing your consistently - BUT, you are negative. You are ongoing negative. You are unwilling to hear feedback, use suggestions or even make changes to move forward from the situation. Essentially - you want to sit in your crap and cry about it.
Let me illustrate this for you. Let's get a scenario:
A wife and husband have friction because the husband believes 'his house is always dirty'. They have two children under 5, his wife stays home and he works to support them,
Complaint: He consistently makes side remarks about the status of the house. He reminds his wife frequently that the house is messy. He makes negative comments about his children and wife in regards to creating 'mess' within the house. He shares his discontentment about his home regularly and to anyone who mentions somethings similar in conversation. When his anyone attempts to reframe his thoughts, he uses his pride to shut them down (He puts down others, uses blame, etc)
- This type of expression - can harm others. His ongoing negative remarks not only can affect the way his children learn to express theirs (where do we think whining starts?) but after awhile the wife may begin to feel invaluable, insulted, discouraged, insecure and worst of all inadequate. He not only shares his discontentment with others who may 'co-sign' his complaining (misery loves company) but he also indirectly insults his wife to others.
Venting: He chooses wisely who he wants to share his feelings with. He sits down with his wife (or even counselor, pastor, etc) - and he expresses his feelings. He doesn't put blame on anyone but uses his feelings to express his frustrations (I feel disorganized when my kids leave toys around the house). He shares how his feelings can harden his heart (I realize I'm impatient and grumpy when my wife cooks messy). He's open to hearing feedback and suggestions. (I guess I could consider myself blessed, when my children are joyfully playing - I providing them such a great childhood) And then he makes changes. HE MAKES CHANGES. He decides that he can make external changes (I'm going to help pick up things out of place) and internal changes (I need to give my family more grace and forgiveness, even if that means swallowing my pride).
When seeking services for counseling - we want you to be able to vent. As regularly as needed. It's good to release emotions. However our style of counseling will only tolerate those who are ready to make change. Complaining does nothing but keep you in the wilderness, in the dark, and with others who are negative. Decide today - if you are ready to vent, make changes and grow to be the person you want to be.