Thursday, February 19, 2015

HSP Tools: Conscious Complaining

There's a fog settling down on the hills outside. I can see the traffic moving along, sighing under the weight of the approaching darkness. The general mood is hazy, compacted. 

Sometimes, our feelings can build up like that. They come swirling around the corner, and soon, our internal landscape seems saturated with them. 

They settle down into nooks and crannies, and believing that we can' really do anything about them, we let them overshadow everything else. We don't think as clearly. We let our feelings roll us along, and we don't act as cohesively. We are left off-center. 

But generally though, there is something, even if it is small, that we can do to shift our energy. One such tool is conscious complaining. Karla McLaren talks about this in her lovely book The Language of Emotions. When we are stewing in negativity and complaints, we can cordon off some time for ourselves, sit alone, and just vent and give voice all that is going wrong in our lives. 

We can complain about what hard luck we have. We can moan about all the things we have to do, but don't really want to. We can let go and show the irritation that we always side-step when we are actually talking to someone. We don't need to play nice. We don't need to pretend that we are above it all. 

What this might do is, what this complaining out loud, all alone, might do is release some of our pent-up frustration. Many of us, and I suspect many HSPs, spend a lot of time playing nice, while just beneath the surface, our real feelings - our anger, our fears, our doubts and hesitations -- are coalescing into un-identifiable sloppy messes. 

When we take the lid off of them, when we speak about our hurts and grudges and misgivings, we air out our feelings, so to speak. They are no longer the faceless monsters becoming bigger and bigger because we are not paying attention to them. In the light of the day, we can see them a bit more objectively, and if there really are some monstrous specimens, we can at least lessen their force by doing something with their energy. No one is hurt by it. We are not venting at or to someone. 

We are learning to slow down and see what these feelings are made of. We are practicing getting in touch with what we feel, and giving ourselves permission to express the "not-nice" feelings. It really is okay to be angry, or tired, or hurt. It is okay to feel our feelings, and let them out in a way that is healthy for us. 

Maybe conscious complaining could help you be more emotionally self-regulating because you have already gotten something out of your system. Maybe it can help you get in touch with what it is that you really feel, beneath all the masks that we put on for everybody else. Maybe it can be like a safety valve for your emotional experience. 

Maybe it can be one more tool in your arsenal that you can pick up and use when the emotional clouds start darkening your inner sky. 

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