“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.” – Stephen Hawking
There are times when I need myself frustrated and in need of an opportunity to vent. It’s usually during a time in which I know there is little chance to reach my preferred sympathetic ear.
Then there are times when I am the sympathetic ear and I find the delay in speaking to me made my friends keep replaying what happened in their minds to the point that now they aren’t venting but driving themselves a little crazy with irritation.
One day I was on a conference call from hell, I felt myself getting more and more annoyed that it was getting hard to maintain a neutral face. As a result, I reached for my journal and began to write the things I wanted to say but knew it would be best to keep quiet for the moment.
With my pen I wrote my complaints, wrote my responses to the statements I didn’t agree with and wrote why it bothered me. By the end of the meeting, I found myself calmer.
For a few days, I practiced journaling my complaints and frustrations. I must say I found the practice to be helpful.
Here’s why I think it works:
Benefits of Journaling Your Complaints:
1. Journaling allows you to be brutally honest about the people, places and situations you don’t like or irritates you.
2. There is no chance of your words being overhead by co-workers, family or associates who may use it against you later.
3. Complaints written remove them from your brain and help you to remove focus on them.
4. it’s a stress relieving activity.
5. It doesn’t frustrate your friends and family with repeating the same issues over and over again.
6. Journaling your complaints provide you with a record of your progress or lack there of. It helps you recognize things which may need to change in your life.
7. Your journal entries may demonstrate a pattern of negativity which indicates it’s time for gratitude.
8. Journaling your complaints won’t be thrown back in your face nor will it be the topic of gossip.
Journal Prompt for Complaints:
1. Things I hate about …
2. The things which irritate me today….
3. I need to vent about…
4. What do my complaints have in common?
5. Instead of being irritated when ___ happens, I can …
What Journaling Won’t Do:
1. Help you explore alternate perspectives
2. It won’t allow you to share your misery with others.
3. There will be no one to agree that your feelings are valid.
4. Writing won’t make you feel heard.
5. Make you feel better immediately.
Complaining maintains your focus on things which don’t contribute to quality of life. It shifts your focus from reaction into action. Take a few moments this week and try journaling your frustrations. Let me know how it works for you.
Til next time,
“It’s usually a big kind of vent of frustration or anger or sadness that puts me in the right frame of mind to write. It’s such a cliche to say that artists write when they’re down, but it’s true for me. It’s a relief to get out what’s eating away at my heart or my soul or my head.” – Ellie Goulding