During the course of our 15 minute conversation, I heard about her difficulties at work, her exasperation with her daughter’s school and how she wants to move overseas because she’s so over living here.
I was a little taken aback. I’d only asked how her day was going.
I should add that I didn’t think less of her for expressing her frustrations. We all have our bad days.
But this encounter got me thinking about how much time we waste complaining about the little things.
And they do tend to be little things don’t they? Annoying sure, but catastrophic, um no, I don’t think so.
A quick perusal of social media will give you an overview of the top grievances.
Phone companies, traffic, bad service and spammers. Oh and Kanye West. But in his case, it’s totally justified.
In real life we’re not much better. We bitch about our bosses to colleagues at Friday drinks, and often, *hangs head in shame* to our partners when we get home.
The idea of catharsis – that suppressed anger is somehow bad for our health – has become so popular that we accept it as true (thanks Freud). But in fact researchers have found venting only increases the hostility and anger we feel. Not to mention its effect on those who have to listen to all that negativity.
I understand the impulse. It’s only human to want to connect in times of adversity. But can venting ever be good for us?
Maybe when we’re agitating for justice, airing an opinion that needs be heard, or telling a personal story to benefit others. Maybe then.
For what it’s worth, in future when I feel the urge to express an angry thought, I’m going to try taking a deep breath and counting to ten first.
Just on the off chance no one really wants to hear my thoughts on Kim Kardashian’s latest selfie or how long I’ve been on hold with Telstra.
Do you love a good vent? What do you think, is it cathartic or toxic?
Image by etee