When women vent it limits their potential
Women vent when they are angry but it can be a double edge sword! On the one hand, it may feel like a cathartic release while on the other hand, it is the greatest act of inaction and a sure way to alienate others. Once you have finished venting to your girlfriend or colleague, secretly complaining and adding a dollop of gossip to it, you may even feel a little bit better about yourself. You have expressed yourself and feel less burdened! However are you anywhere closer to solving the problem that created the situation in the first place? Is it even clear that it is a problem worth solving? Often times NO! As women we have learned to be good listeners and supporters of our sisters and sometimes that is perhaps all that is needed, but often times a perspective that leads to action is needed most but is not shared.
When women vent they expect undivided attention and are even critical of solution giving. The faithful listener is rewarded.
While venting may seem like an opportunity to challenge a bad situation because you see your self as “speaking up” it is in fact the most passive form of action. It achieves absolutely nothing and in the long run creates a greater place for doubt and self-loathing. However, it is not only socially acceptable, it is in fact gleefully rewarded. This type of inaction is generally expected and perhaps it alleviates a very basic need for self – expression. While sharing a frustration with others is certainly acceptable, if you find yourself always frustrated about the same thing and you sound like a broken record – chances are your friends think so to.
This is what venting does to you:
• It diminishes your sense of self-worth and lowers your self esteem
• It causes you to miss out on self-reflection, which creates the emotional and mental space to consider changing your situation
• It minimizes your sense of self-efficacy – the ability to feel empowered to solve a problem
If you find yourself whining and complaining about a colleague, a supervisor or direct report all the time – you are venting.
Here are three easy steps you can take to STOP Venting:
- Try to minimize reactionary behaviors when frustrated. Take a few deep breaths or take a walk around the block rather than walking over to a colleague’s…
- Minimize the time you spend with people who like to vent, whine, complain and gossip.
- Consider seeing a leadership coach to work specifically on changing this behavior. Long-term ingrained behavior is very hard to change. Working with a coach helps to identify that pattern and actions that you can take to change a behavior that is counter-productive.
Consider changing your situation so you don’t remain in a negative and reactionary frame of mind that only creates frustration, anxiety and stress. The choice of possible outcomes is yours to make. However consider that this simple change can save you from being a “regular” at your psychotherapist’s office, constantly re-hashing the same negative thought patterns and self-destructive behaviours.