Vent, if you need to, but don’t be a moaner. What’s the difference you ask?
Venting vs moaning
Venting is a releasing of pent-up feelings and frustrations that are probably better let out. Feelings that perhaps you prefer to deny and bottle-up, often non-consciously. Venting is what we might sometimes refer to as ‘blowing off steam’.
To be a moaner, on the other hand, is to constantly complain about something, typically without doing anything about it. So, moaning and inaction tend to go together. Unlike venting, it is a chronic behaviour that is often a sign of losing your personal agency. Or more accurately — the belief that you have lost your personal agency.
Vent with care
Venting can be a healthy way of letting go of frustrations and bottled-up feelings. Feelings that you might view as ‘negative’ because society says so. So, if venting helps with coming to terms with what you feel and what you tend to repress, allow it.
However, you must make sure that you vent with care, both for yourself and for others. For example, if you are going to call up a friend to vent, make sure you consider their health too! They may not be in a position to receive your venting.
Don’t be a moaner
If you find yourself constantly moaning about something, investigate it.
What is really going on for you?
How do you feel about the matter and yourself in relation to it?
Do you feel powerless?
Is moaning a smoke screen for your own unwillingness to act?
Is there any action that you can take?
What deep beliefs stop you from taking action?
What impact is your moaning having on other people?
Awareness is key
Whether you are venting or moaning, awareness of your own tendencies is key. Awareness allows you to recognise the truth of your own behaviour. And, from such a place of understanding, to explore what might lie behind it. It is through such deeper awareness that you create the ability to choose differently. Because you begin to see more clearly why you do not choose differently.
In the end, you may decide that you like being bit of a moaner, but one that does not shy away from action! Or, perhaps you realise that being a moaner was only self-deception, so you decide to really take responsibility.
Whatever you decide, it all begins with developing greater awareness of yourself. This is the path of self-knowledge.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.