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Are you complaining - or are you venting - there IS a difference!

Not sure if you follow this guy on Instagram - I recently had him on an episode of my podcast - he's an author and a mental health advocate. Sam Eaton is his name and the other day I saw he posted this:

Do you think you could do it?

We all complain, we all have problems, we all have our own issues, and they are all subjective and relative to our own selves and our own experiences. This why it's hard to understand why a rich celebrity is complaining about something when you might think to yourself "well, you've got all that money and fame, what do YOU have to complain about?"

Our complaints are almost always valid...unless you're a Karen. But there comes a point when you are no longer being productive and just kicking the can down the road avoiding the REAL issue.

Complaining and Venting are two different things - but similar in nature. The biggest difference is the outcome.

Complaining is usually placing blame on something else. Sometimes it's a warranted complaint: They gave you Regular when you asked for Diet. Your food is undercooked. They missed a spot during your haircut. The neighborhood dog takes a dump in the yard and the owner doesn't pick it up. These complaints on their surface, are warranted. A lot of the time, these complaints can be rectified with a refund, an apology, or a correction to the behavior that wronged you. All are PRODUCTIVE, so long as they are in a "transaction" type setting - meaning you are wronged, you complain, the offender acknowledges your feelings, and a solution is agreed upon. When you complain, you are demanding change - and when that change happens, you are satisfied.

Complaining becomes UNPRODUCTIVE when you begin complaining about something and don't even care about rectifying the situation. Even if things DO change, you still find issues that the changes aren't good enough, or don't meet your standards. You begin to blame your own feelings and emotions on whatever it was that wronged you, and instead of dealing with your own emotions - you project them and place blame on something else. This essentially deflects your feelings and puts it on something or someone else. When you constantly complain, you only see things from YOUR point of view.

VENTING is different, and HEALTHY - some might even say healthier than complaining. You can vent about a bad day you had at work. You can vent about the traffic. You can vent about the fact that your kids wrecked the living room and your toddler pooped in the refrigerator. You can vent about your sports team losing in the playoffs.

Where's the difference, Riggs? Sounds like the same thing to me!

Venting will get things off your chest. Venting has purpose - a release - and a way for you to identify the emotion that you are feeling. Venting takes personal accountability into consideration of your OWN emotions and how YOU feel, instead of just blaming someone else. Blowing off steam and venting can be a healthy way to deal with your emotions instead of letting them fester inside.

Sometimes all we need to do is just vent, and let it out...but you need to make sure that when you DO vent, you finish - take a deep breath, and move forward. When you vent, you aren't looking for answers or restitution, you're just allowing yourself to feel your emotions.

Venting may not be as common as complaining, so if you find yourself "venting" all the time, you might just be complaining. If you are unsure of WHAT you're feeling or WHY you're feeling a certain way - you can always check my blog on finding the ROOT of your emotions and check out the emotion wheel.

Basically if you are complaining - you are looking for validation from others - you want people on your team to rally against the thing or person that wronged you, or whatever it is you're complaining about. You don't really want a solution, you want people to have your back and say "yea, eff that guy!" or "well screw that, I'm never eating there again. EVER".

When you are venting - you typically don't want input, you just want to let it all out and have an emotional release. You just want to be heard. Sometimes venting will get you a solution, and sometimes it just makes you realize that there are things in life that you CAN'T change, even if you want them to change.

When I vent about things and know they can't change, I always cue up this song afterwards to remind me that some things will just never change - I can't control that, and it is no longer worthy of taking up space in my brain rent free.

The next time you are feeling the urge to complain - stop and think before you do so, and think - is this worthy of complaining? Is it worth your time and energy? If it is - then why not have a friend you can call to just let it out and feel better. Then move forward knowing you have healthily dealt with your emotions.

Vent with care. Don't break things or do anything violent, obviously. But let it all out.

It's like I always say:

Feelings are like farts. It's better to let them out than to hold them inside.

VENTING > Complaining

Make good life decisions,


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