A friend needed to vent. She’d read something that disturbed her, perhaps because she knew it would upset others she cared about. I was glad to be a safe space for a few minutes. At some point, we shifted to discuss how she could respond to healthily help resolve the crisis.
There is a time for venting. We need to release some of the pressure. Obviously, venting needs to be done in a safe environment—a trusted environment where someone isn’t going to share inappropriately outside of the conversation or stunt the process by keeping us in the venting phase. At some point, venting needs to transition into a consideration of the next best step. A question I often ask is, “How can I respond so that I help the situation instead of making it worse or perpetuating it?”
Helping the situation doesn’t mean we actually fix the situation. Sometimes we help by simply putting a firewall in place, being a pause for others and the process. We can’t force a collective breath, but in case others forge ahead without a pause, we can position ourselves to be as aware and engaged as possible. We can individually process while keeping the group process in front of us as well. We can be humble enough to see a broader perspective and wise enough to consider the dynamics that impact us all.
I am confident you currently find yourself in a challenging or frustrating situation. How can you respond to that you help the situation instead of making it worse or perpetuating it?