Updated: May 10, 2021
A good vent session can feel very therapeutic. Especially after you've been suppressing so many thoughts and emotions. I witness to cathartic feeling rushing over my clients during our coaching sessions when they finally get to express their truth.
I use to be the kind of person to vent all the time to my friends. As soon as a situation would happen I knew the friend to call that would listen to me vent. My intention was to typically call a friend I knew would understand the circumstances around my situations. But subconsciously what I really wanted was for my feelings to be validated. And usually that's what I got.
Now, I don't "vent" to my friends as much. I share the awareness of my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences, but it's very rare that I call them just to dump all the feelings that I'm going through and seek validation for them. My awareness has boosted to the level of self awareness that I've never reached before. I am able to understand how I feel and be honest with myself and dissect my own truth. I also have a spiritual coach myself that helps keep me accountable and helps me gain clarity that I may be overlooking. But typically when I am going through I situation, I journal, I sit outside, I play instrumental music; I sit in the action of what helps me gain clarity. I've learned how to hold space for myself.
I honestly feel like when we need advice or an opinion, sometimes talking to our family or friends isn't always the best option unless they know how to hold space. Some people don't know how to effectively hold space for you in that moment in way that helps you move forward towards healing. Instead they may validate your negative thoughts around your circumstances or people, entice more fear, or even project onto you, creating more confusion, all while they feel like they are helping. They may have great intentions. They are just trying to show up for you. But the more they know about you, the more they create their own opinions on your circumstances, who you may be, and even what's best for you sometimes (especially parents). It's natural. They also have their own life experiences as well that determine the choices they would make in your situation. No matter how detailed you can explain a situation to someone, it's not the same as them living it themselves. You two aren't the same people. And it because of that reason alone you may not even reach the same outcome within the same circumstances if the shoes were on the other foot. People may resonate with your emotion, but they haven't lived the experience as you.
Say for instance you call up a homegirl to vent about your relationship. This is something you do often when you and your significant other are going through it so she's not very fond of your partner to begin with.(her opinion) So you vent to her and she gives you some advice (based on her own experiences mixed in with her opinion on the person you are discussing.) She's merely giving you an observation based on the information she knows. Your friend means no harm by giving you some advice, but the problem is, she doesn't live your life. And she doesn't know for sure that the advice she's giving you is good for you or what you need. She could even be leading you in the opposite direction of where your heart desires to be, but she thinks she's protecting you. She's only experiencing roughly 10% of your reality in her perception, unless you spend 24/7 together. Even then, she's not experiencing your life, she's witnessing it. You may tell her in detail 10 minutes of a certain experience. But so much about your reality shapes your experiences. So there's still so much she still doesn't know. Subconsciously you may know this so you go even deeper into the back story to try to help her gain some more understanding. This empowers her opinion of your experience even more. You ask her for some advice and gives it to you. But she's only giving her advice based on opinion, which is based off what she does know (about your reality and her own)
It is true though that people outside of you can have a better view of what you are not seeing. The beauty is that when they point it out, it can spark your awareness. But until you do the work of shifting your awareness to your inner truth in your reality, you won't know if the view that they have is an accurate depiction or a projection. You know best.
It's so normal to feel like you are consuming advice from people who don't know the true details of our personal lives. It happens often. We don't even realize it, that's how normal it has become. Especially in the social media world. From family, friends, or strangers, it seems like constantly you are being faced with an opinion, analyzation, or instructions on how to live your life (and I'm FO SHO guilty of it myself.)
But what if we posed more questions instead of giving instructions?
It's the questions that trigger a person to dissect their own thoughts and reality.
These days, conversations with my friends when we express our truth raises more questions for us to ask each other than it does prompting answers with solutions. It may sound less helpful to some, but we challenge each others awareness with questions instead of giving opinions on how we think each other should be living. It's almost like our conversations feel very,
"I'm here to hold space for you to find clarity."
It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Maryam Hasnaa
That's what I love about spiritual coaching as well. It's a process to discover your own needs, your own desires, your own values, your own choices, your own emotions, so that you can gain clarity for yourself. It is empowering. I'm going to be honest and say that an unbiased, unfiltered, un-interrupting opinion can really help you discover the answers for yourself. Whether it's from a friend, a coach, or a stranger. Just someone who can walk along side you for some time as you travel on your own journey, so that you don't feel alone while you figure out.
Doesn't that sound nice? Wouldn't it be nice to offer that space to someone?
So consider this, the next time someone calls you to vent, don't think that you have to have their world figured out and have a solution. Don't give them an opinion on what you think they should do or could do. Just hold space, and walk alongside of them as they travel through their world within.
Brittany S. Hall