Tuesday, November 24, 2009


What about "venting?"  Does that count as complaining?  This has been bugging me since I wrote the previous post.

I'm not sure that good mental health is possible without taking advantage of opportunities to verbally let off steam. This only works if you are venting to a great friend who knows you don't mean most of what you're saying at that moment. And who won't repeat it to anyone. And who won't think any less of you for spouting off.  Most of us have a few people in our lives that we can do this with, and I think it's essential to vent to a safe "ventee" now and then. Expressing ourselves and our feelings, even if our expressions are somewhat more extreme than the actual feelings themselves are, can free us to move forward into problem-solving and collaboration, and all those other positive behaviors.  Sometimes, until you have had a chance to launch into that tirade to just the right (safe, trusted) person, you're just not ready to play nicely.

So:  I hereby declare that venting, when done appropriately, with discretion, and to the right people at the right times, does not count as "complaining."  If you're joining me in an effort to avoid complaining from now until Valentine's Day, you are allowed to vent, as long as it doesn't become just an excuse for being negative, or another name for complaining.  You'll know the difference.

So: KJ, Josefina, Konne, Jackie, Mom, Marlin, and all my other ventees- you're not off the hook.  I still need you.  And I'm here for you, too.

Hmmm..... I'm thinking about myself and other grownups as I write this, but I can't help but think about the toddlers in my classes.  Don't they need to vent to a safe person too?

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