Why it’s TOTALLY spiritual to just VENT!

To listen to the audio version of this blog, click here.

I live a very unique life in that the majority of people that I hang out with are on some kind of spiritual path. It would be a path of yoga or meditation, or A Course In Miracles, or MSIA, Christianity, Buddhism, The Landmark Forum, life coaching, 12 step, you name a spiritual path and I most likely have a friend who is on it. It’s totally rad to be surrounded by so many amazing and diverse folks. They are all growing, all loving and all about getting back to LOVE.

BUT – there is one little thing I’m feeling inspired to write about today. Sometimes when you live in a world like this we tend to have almost our own language. It’s not like a normal dialog. In every day conversation we are talking about limiting beliefs, your growing edge, your inner child, connecting to Source/God, meditation, projections, integrity and the sort.

And I LOVE this stuff because it’s who I am, but sometimes – I just gotta VENT.

And I’m noticing this trend that in a lot of circles, that’s not OK, because it seems “negative” or “unspiritual” to vent. But COME ON PEOPLE, we are all human and it’s just nice to be heard sometimes without needing to formulate the perfect sentence that matches your personal growth dogma!

I think one of the most powerful things we as human beings can do is to listen. And listen without judgment or the need to fix. To accept as PERFECT wherever someone is in the moment and not try to “fix” them with our spiritual tool kit.

A lot of my friends are coaches and sometimes I’m just trying to vent to them and they immediately go into “coach” mode, instead of just listening as a friend. YES, I KNOW I have limiting beliefs. I KNOW that what happens is because I’m triggered by some event. I KNOW I have to take responsibility for my life. And you know what… sometimes I just gotta be human and vent.

It’s vital that we keep growing and support ourselves by surrounding ourselves with people who will lift us up. AND – at the same time, the journey is also about fully stepping into and accepting our human nature – without trying to FIX anything.

I REALLY believe that one of the most powerful tools we have is self-acceptance AND being seen/heard in a way that meets us right where we are. THEN – after that’s happened – if the person is READY and WILLING, step into problem solving.

So – here’s an idea if you are having this issue. Instead of just starting to vent – PREFACE your friend or partner and say, “I need to vent for a minute, can you hear me out?” This PREPS them to be able to be READY to receive and meet your need of venting without trying to coach you. Then, afterwards once you feel like you’ve been heard, feel free to say “OK, now I’m open to feedback”.

This helps us be HUMAN and GROW at the same time!

So where in your life could you set this boundary with someone OR where in your life could you stop trying to fix someone and just LISTEN to them? TDL really comes alive in the comments below, so feel free to leave a comment. Support your fellow TDL fam by commenting on their comments and I will do the same!

Have a GREAT Sunday! Lots of LOVE,


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Mastin Kipp is the CEO and Founder of The Daily Love. Follow him on Twitter here.

Take what resonates with you in this blog and leave the rest.

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  • Jo

    I just LOVE the audio 🙂

    • Yay Jo! So happy you do!

      • Kleinkc

        Wow! Thank you for this.  I’ve had so much anger come up for me this year and it was so uncomfortable.  I realized getting angry at my anger only made it grow.  My best friend, Amy was so amazing about it.  She’d give room for me to vent and held a space for me where I felt I could accept my anger and release any guilt I felt behind it.  And after I was done, she’d say something like, “Well, here’s what I think.. and it always seemed to start with- “It’s ok to feel that way.”  Never once have I felt like she was trying to fix me.  I’m so grateful for her and for the articles you write because they do help me and the more I become ok with sometimes “feeling like s***”  the more freedom I have to experience other emotions like calm and happy.  I teach yoga and sometimes in the yoga world I feel like it is hard to express anything unless it’s a positive but if I’m being true to myself and my experience I keep being reminded to keep it REAL with people… because that’s the truth.. haha if that makes any sense- You’re awesome and Authentic and when you write what you do I become more authentic too.  Muchisimas Gracias Mastin – Kristin

  • Good one

    You hit the nail Mastin.  Thanks for this.  

  • Amyrose13

    Thanks for saying this! So appreciated 🙂 
    This, and what you wrote the other day about fear and “negative” emotions being healthy and acceptable really needs to be said and heard! We have so many misconceptions about that. Rock on, Mastin! 

    • tell me about it! I’m writing a whole BOOK on this topic!

      • Amyrose13

        GOOD! We need your voice saying these things – revolutionary in an accessible way 🙂 
        Jai! (means victory in Sanskrit, in case you didn’t know) 😉 

  • Tc

    Amen. Great pointer towards being a better communicator. Sometimes I’m afraid to be open with this sort of thing, as I perceive it as ‘negative’. Pollyannas are as equally annoying.

    • when our aim is to be human rather than positive – we change!

      • Exactly. The moment we expect ourselves to live a certain way, according to some ‘path’ dogma, we automatically create a super-authority in our brain that judges us every time we mess up according to the dogma. The biggest drawback of ‘paths’ is that they actually create the very things they are attempting to get rid of, but you don’t need to get rid of half of yourself to love yourself. You’re a human being. You are going to have positive and negative thoughts. The more you try and get one without the other, the more you polarize yourself and create more of what you’re trying to delete. In essence, no thoughts are positive or negative, they are just thoughts, but the moment you think you’re not supposed to have the negative thoughts (which are essential to the functioning and survival of  your being) you create more of them as feedback to let you know you’re trying to not be you. There are only 4 ologies in the world that ever claimed positive without negative: theology (the idea that God or the Gods are supposed to only support us), sociology (the idea that people are supposed to live in peace), psychology (the idea that you are supposed to be happy without sad) and physiology (the idea that you are supposed to be healthy without disease). No other ology has ever said to be this way, and no other ology has any evidence to ever show this one-sidedness to be the case.

        Personally, for me, this is the greatest thing you’ve ever said.

        “When our aim is to be human rather than positive – we change!”

      • WildflowerPastiche

        Ooooh. That is my favorite line of this whole discussion. “Human rather than positive.” That’s goin in ma journal!

  • Thank you for writing this post! I think one of the mistakes I made while on the Path was to punish myself when I felt negative feelings or to immediately go into diagnosis. I have realized that I was skipping the step of feeling my emotions. I wasn’t loving myself and allowing myself to be imperfect. Being a spiritual warrior does not mean denying my emotions. As you said, it’s about acknowledging them, experiencing them and then dissecting them and understanding the meaning behind them. I have found that I can’t get frustrated with many of my friends either and none of them are on a spiritual path. As human beings, we tend to make the mistake of trying to control each other’s emotions rather than to empathize. I remind myself that when you are venting that you may be mirroring something in someone else that they are trying to control. I also remember that people will hand you their fear. It’s hard, but I will try the technique that you suggest. Thanks, Mastin and I hope you are allowed to vent. 

    • thanks Dyanne! let me know how it goes! Jenna is a GREAT listener!

  • jeangknee

    Excellent post- for both “venters” and “ventees”. It really pushes my buttons when i am in venting mode and the “listener” starts telling me what to do. I often vent to hear my own truth- it is my way of processing the problem or finding out how stupid it really is as I say it out-loud.
     My takeaway ,as the recipient of the venting of others, is to do more mirroring of what the other person is saying and less judging/advise giving. 

  • It’s all about balance isn’t it? I agree ya gotta let it out and often when you do it doesn’t carry as much weight as if you held it all in and ruminated on it in your brain over and over. Then it is easier to move on. Let’s not pretend that nothing bothers us because we are spiritual or that being ‘perfect’ is part of our spiritual path. And thanks for the reminder about listening, too often I try to ‘fix’ stuff when my friends vent. Sometimes ya just gotta vent. Thanks Mastin!

    • totally Adrienne! I very much believe in the middle path approach to most things in life!

  • Liz Pearson

    What struck me most about what you said was… “one of the most powerful tools we have is self-acceptance AND being seen/heard in a way that meets us right where we are.”  That’s a “tweetable” as Marie Forleo would say.  Truly, imagine what the world would be like if such a thing could be achieved by all of us.  Thank you for your thoughts and your vision and your work.

    • thanks Liz! I LOVE Marie :o) And so happy this post spoke to you!

  • Dianne D

    I’ve always been an introverted person and find myself more of “the listener” in most relationships and I think it stems from perhaps observing and watching all that is around me very closely. I believe that our world can be a bustling, loud and sometimes obnoxious place at times and if we all learnt to listen, I mean really listen with our eyes and ears, our world would be a better place. There is so much to be learned from the simple practice of listening. So let’s try and all be heard!

    • thanks Dianne – I can feel you through your comment – such a loving and empathetic soul! u rock! Mastin

  • Joe Sparks

    Because most of us got heavily criticized when we were young, especially around being upset, for example: “you have nothing to be upset about, go to your room or everything is going to be alright, here have a cookie”. It was a message that you cannot show be yourself. Whether harshly or kindly, we got told feeling anger is not allowed.  We need to be able to vent with someone who has agreed to listen to us. Otherwise, we tend to act out our hurts on others ( trying to get some unaware parenting) or more damaging blame ourselves for feeling this way ( staying in the poor little me mode). If you really want to heal yourself, try taking turns listening. It is a beautiful thing. Two minds interacting, each helping each other to free themselves from the past. Nothing is better than noticing how good life is!

  • Itsmeloj

    I hear ya!! 🙂

  • Jill

    I love this post! Sometimes to allow myself to just vent makes me feel better and then I can move on. I once had a job with a huge amount of responsibility where the best boss I ever had made it ok for me to once in a while call her to just vent, get whatever was bothering me off my chest without guilt. She was smart enough to understand that I wasn’t having a breakdown, but a breakthrough, and I would find my answers by “getting it out” vs “holding it in”. The key is the trust to not feel guilty or judged.

  • Phil Garcia

    After reading and listening to your blog, I will be more mindful of those that simply need to be heard. In my group we always try to stay in the solution. I can see where this limits our growth.  We obviously need to be in the problem for just a moment so that we can heal. 
    Thank you Mastin.

  • guest

    Great post! One of the things I love about you
    and your posts is that you obviously “have it together” but at the same time
    let your readers see that you are a real person who has things you are working
    on. Thanks for letting us see you as human. Thanks for being you. And thanks
    for all the messages you share on your website! xo


    PS: I have a suggestion for your quote section… “I
    knew I had to keep my love, keep my love alive.” From the song “Love Alive” by Ann
    and Nancy Wilson of the band Heart. 

  • Hey Mastin, have you ever heard of Non-Violent Communication? I was in LA last week and took a course, just bought the book from Amazon. Its an old one, but definitely awesome. I say check it out – it would absolutely be useful in the above scenarios.

    • yes! love this concept! used by ghandi and king!

  • Warrell

    Thank you for this post. Sometimes people who are on the path to a more spiritual place feel overwhelmed and like they are not doing “it” right if they become stuck or need to vent because “they are choosing” how to feel or react. It puts a lot of pressure on people and more posts that talk about these moments are needed to keep indivduals from giving up or feeling like they just can’t do it. So once again, Thank you. : )

  • Janelle

    I have been working on mindful listening and not fixing. Many of my family and friends come to me for my perspective and (with good intentions) I fall into this “fix it” mode but realize I need to focus more on hearing them. If I need to vent, sometimes I get – “Where’s my positive friend?” I would feel bad when I just want to vent and start thinking something is wrong, like my “old” habits are creeping back and I better fix something. I believe part of my spiritual journey is to allow my feelings. I am so much more productive than responsive now but venting at times – feels good to let it out. Your blogs are always inspirational and this one I needed for both perspectives. Thank you Mastin!

  • Martha

    Hi Mastin,
    Thanks for writing this!  I could so relate to feeling like I can’t just vent for a variety of reasons.
    You hit the nail on the head!

  • Kelly

    Boy oh boy is this timely. The past couple of days have been spot on, Mastin. Sometimes I get so tired hearing myself do the spiritual-default-response. A lot of times when I do vent it’s like the door unlocks itself….then I’ll have an answer like, “how would Ghandhi handle this one?”
    To VENT, the source of the word signifies an opening.
    Thanks for this.

  • Kathleenrc7

    SO feeling yah on this one AND it definitely is part of the growing process.  “Now?”  It doesn’t work. “Why?” Because the more I vent, the more I become more addicted to my story and my drama around the story.  Addiction feels great as my adrenalin is pumping and my EGO is cheerleading me on in my “RIGHTNESS.”  The price I pay to be right no longer works for me. Last night I went there with my hubby and it was that much harder for me to stop once I was in.  If I catch myself in the first few seconds and change my course-wisdom flows.  If I don’t, my EGO takes over.  The other day I was venting about my challenging life with my son for two whole days.  It no longer helps me feel better.  I then went to my Living Love Class in the Happiest Place in AMerica (SLO COUNTY) where Cinnamon is guided by love and she stopped me in my tracks and I woke up; I haven’t vented for two whole weeks…LOL.  Our human nature is to LOVE…period.  Our programming tells us otherwise.  It is when we discipline ourselves minute to minute that we are guided from our core.  It is then that the truth of love flows.  It is all a choice and I do agree…venting will get us to certain place that we need for our spiritual growth and then it won’t.  Thank you Mastin for listening and being the spirit that you are brother.  butterflymaiden7.blogspot.com 

  • Linda

    As a mother I always want to fix everything for my sons and it never works. We just end up frustrated with eachother. They just want to be heard. Thanks for the reminder Mastin!

  • Tazeen Imam

    Agree, 1000000000….%!

  • Michelle

    To “vent” to me means to
    express negative emotions negatively. I agree that we don’t want to bottle them
    up, but there are many ways to express negative emotions in a way that is
    positive for us. In a way that releases us from them.  

    For me, a big part of being
    on a path of spirituality means working on reprogramming my negative habits into
    positive ones.  Not by excusing them when
    life gets a little too challenging for my liking. Anytime we give ourselves
    permission to express ourselves in a negative way, ie venting, yelling,
    arguing, etc…we are choosing to move away from Spirit.  Or, to put it another way, stepping off the
    path of spirituality and enlightenment. 

    It’s extremely easy to
    convince ourselves into believing its okay sometimes.  It’s very hard to see when we are lying to

    I try to work towards appreciating
    anyone that sees through it and points it out to me. I say work towards it
    because when we are lying to ourselves and have moved away from the Light, the
    last thing we want is for someone to point it out to us.

    When we vent, we close our
    eyes. We move away from Spirit and the Light. 
    As someone that is on a spiritual path, that’s not a choice I ever want
    to make, not even for a moment.  All we
    ever have, is the moment we are in. 

  • YES, YES, and YES!!!! I just posted the same thing in my closed group of coaches Mastin probably last week.
    It is soooooo important to vent. And it’s equally important, like you shared, to prep people that we are about to vent and nothing we say is going to be rational. Mastin, there is a whole area of counseling called Re-evaluation Counseling or Co-counseling that is built around this idea of JUST LISTENING. Everyday people use the model to exchange 5,10,15-30 minute sessions of listening with no judgment and allowing others to discharge (cry, sigh, laugh, scream–whatever comes out). The premise is that when something happens that is hard, we get a tension balloon in our stomachs.  While it is there, we cannot think clearly, we feel isolated, and we feel very shameful. The way to release the tension is to do a session, to be listened to about that event. Each time someone listens, some of the air goes out until the balloon is deflated and we can THINK CLEARLY. At that time, we can go ahead and make decisions, work on the problem. I combine this with the other coaching tools I’ve learned in my training and I think it makes me a much better coach and a much better friend and person. Love you! Rosie 

  • Ingrid

    Ha what a super post… I had a big vent yesterday… something life changing happened and all these emotions came to the surface. The experience caught be a little off guard but I AM better for it today. Thank GOd my husband is a great listener. 

  • Visionary of Rebirth 2012

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6jRPpHzwCE praying for the grace to rise above the innate need to be always likeable and to bury my need to vent for fear of feeling ungrateful for my blessings.  I guess I fail to acknowledge my unhappiness cos I see so many in the world worse off than me and it seems selfish to admit I am human and that I feel like a bad person sometimes.  I just wish this spiritual life would lead me to a place where I could say I am here now and I desire to make things better for the many millions who don’t have what I have.  That would be a dream come true for me.  Wish God would just BE God and stop all this messing up.  I want to be born again and believe I am truly made in the image and likeness of God and use my gifts and talents accordingly without fail.  AMEN

  • LFN

    I really love today’s blog, Mastin. I don’t know about anyone else but I am still mastering self acceptance and this has been a big part of it for me. I sometimes felt as though even having the need to vent wasn’t honoring who I am trying to fully realize, but have very recently discovered sometimes you just have to. I have wonderful friends and family though and have been very successful so far. Thanks so much for just validating this for me and for others.

  • Starhasher

    Cheers, Mastin!  Bravo!  

    One of the reasons I read your posts is because you are not afraid to expose your vulnerability – it doesn’t feel as if you are preaching but only relating to others.  I often feel that you know how I am feeling and understand.   I often wish other people were so kind.   It takes courage to speak out to your audience of peers and delicacy to master the art of phrasing it nicely so as not to offend or come off too blunt or know-it-all.  Surely, it’s a gift and clearly, you are not a whiner. 

  • Thanks so much for writing this Mastin! Sometimes a vent is needed. Thank you for permission! Xo

  • Samantha

    Aha!! Now you know what we girls go though. Just listen, don’t try to fix this, dude! Hahaha.

    Great stuff. I’m guessing you’re familiar with IMAGO relationship theory, which is also being used at the united nations because it’s such a diplomatic listening structure? The “intentional dialogues” are so perfect for this concept of “just hear me.”



  • Debbie Weinbel

    This is great. I do usually go into “coach” mode when my friends vent and I have often been surprised while I am venting when someone tries to “fix” it. Recently a friend was venting via text about some of the things going on in her life. My initial instinct was to say something constructive back like “don’t dwell on this” or whatever. Instead I wrote back, “all of that sucks” and she was thrilled. She even wrote back, thanks for agreeing with me thats all I needed to hear.

  • Sarah

    This was so necessary. Thanks for sharing your truth. You ROCK!

  • Oh, this is so true. Thanks for verbalizing it, MK. I was talking to a dear friend and mentor last week on the phone and hung up even more frustrated, because what I really needed to do was just vent! I didn’t want to do my Inner Child work in that moment! I just wanted to have a temper tantrum and get it out of my system. But she was compelled to try and fix me and make me feel better. I love her for that, but it wasn’t what I needed.

    The frustrating thing is that I can’t always verbalize that what I just need is to vent. I have to trust other people to get it, and occasionally  they won’t. Sometimes people don’t really want to be helped, they just want to be heard. I’ll try to remember that when I feel the urge to offer advice or whatever; does this person just need to vent?

  • Ibelieveinmiracles

    I have been so divinely guided to this post, once again spirit and the universe are guiding me. I have struggled with perfectionism probably for all my life, when I became a member of the 12 steps a couple of years ago I also believed I needed to have the perfect programme and I thought therefore I wasn’t allowed to vent, basically I wasn’t allowing myself to be human and almost hid behind gratitude. A few months ago through another divine intervention I started to see things differently, it’s ok to vent, it’s ok to be angry or upset. There is no need to label feelings… they are just feelings, neither positive nor negative… they just are… How liberating not having to be perfect anymore but just be me… I guess that is what self love is about… Thanks so much for posting this, I love it. xxx

  • Need my mum to read this!  

  • Nay

    at Landmark we practice a distinction called Listening Without Adding. i think it’s one of the most difficult to master! naturally if you’re a “helping” person, which I think speaks for everyone who might gravitate to a site like this, you want to fix things. Yourself, others, the world. i’m really starting to get how my reflex when people vent to me is to encourage them or give ‘good advice’, which ironically isn’t really good at all if that’s not what they’re looking for. thanks so much Mastin for this reminder!

    p.s. one practice i’m developing is after i listen to a good Vent and allow space for silence, i ask: Would you like me to respond (and if yes, How so)? it’s amazing how often the act of responding to those two questions will lead the person to resolve the issue for themselves.