Venting Is Good, But Therapy Is Better

We all need someone to talk to, but even more than that, we need someone who can help us in the process

Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans

I stared at my Zoom screen really wondering if I was going to be able to open up to a complete stranger about my life and my gripes. My therapist reassured me that everything was fine and we started our session. I never traditionally had a therapist unless you count my wife, my mom, or my close friends. I vented to them. They gave me the best advice that they could and I took it.

As good as that was in the short term, after sessions of spilling my guts to my therapist, I realized something. I had so many issues that venting never solved. Venting never equipped me with the tools to deal with them properly. I’d feel better. I’d move on. But when the next situation arose, I had no tools at my disposal to handle things differently.

That’s a problem and I know I’m not alone here. We all need people that we can confide in and trust, but we also need more than that. We need someone who can show us why we are the way we are, how to tighten up on things that can be better, and love the things that are already at their best.

We go to the doctor when something is wrong. Maybe it’s a joint that isn’t working right. Maybe we’re sick. Maybe we just need a routine check up. We make time for that.

I come from a community where we’re told to pray about our anxieties and trauma, where seeing a therapist is a stigma and means that you have something seriously wrong with you that can’t be fixed. Many of us have and because of that, not only are we interacting with the world completely unprepared to handle it, but so are our peers. We avoid the therapy needed to make us better shepherds of what’s around us and ourselves and in return, we don’t give ourselves a chance to operate in any capacity other than functionally broken.

Just by being alive, we deserve to live life so much better. We break generational curses assessing them and learning better ways to cope and operate. That comes from exploring our pain from our pasts, our thoughts and our feelings, and developing new ways to do things in a safe space and in a healthy way. That takes time. It takes work. Venting doesn’t refine us. It’s cathartic, but it doesn’t sharpen us. We all have things about us that need to be sharpened. Therapy does that.

And it isn’t easy. It’s hard to take the first step. The first fleeting thoughts are about being judged, how uncomfortable it will be, if things will get worse than what they are, and if change is really the answer.

I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t ready myself and I had my doubts, but after a few sessions, I could feel that I was growing for the better and I understood the role of a therapist more clearly.

They’re there to help us learn what’s normal and what isn’t.

They’re there to help us carve out healthy relationships with ourselves and others.

They’re there to help us get solutions to complex situations that require more of our time.

They’re there to be a support system that we so desperately need.

They’re there to relieve us of the burdens that we carry with us.

They’re there, unbiased and unwavering, to help us look our generational curses and stumbling blocks in the face, call them by name, and end them.

They’re there to guide us into who we can become.

Therapy can be intimidating, but it isn’t just for people who are suffering or in crisis. It’s for anyone who desires to be at their best. I believe that’s something everyone wants. Achieving our best self takes a lot of “self.” That means self-knowledge, self-reflection, self-awareness, self-compassion, and self-acceptance.

It’s a journey that will reap good fruit every single day. I will never regret pushing myself to commit to it.

Don’t be afraid to do it either.