You’ve heard me say “if it’s not your news to share, then don’t share it” and with that comes another thing I believe strongly in, which is “if you wouldn’t say it TO them, don’t say it ABOUT them.”
I’m as guilty as the next person of getting caught up in my emotions from time to time and really letting it be known how annoyed / frustrated / hurt / etcetera I am. And at the same time, there’s a way to do it well, and a way that only hurts everyone involved. I’ve done both, so let me share a few keys with ya’.
HOW TO DO IT WELL
Recognize that it’s not the PERSON you’re actually frustrated with, it’s their behavior, and the driving force behind that behavior, that’s causing distress. After all, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” -Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
Take it to the Lord and let Him be your Comforter and a voice of reason
Get wise counsel from friends who will not just take your side and appease you, but who will point you back to what God says about the situation, and who will help show you any blind spots (sometimes we have way more involvement in a situation than we realize and can often totally shift things by acting through that simple awareness)
HOW TO DO IT POORLY AND HURT EVERYONE INVOLVED
Talk about that person behind their back (even if it’s to a trusted source, you get to take ownership of the words you’re using about them)
Make assumptions about their vindictiveness towards you with their actions (when, really, if you’re being truly honest with yourself, they’re rarely actually being vindictive, so much as they’re oblivious to their actions. I’m not condoning their actions, but be careful with assumptions)
One recent example I’ll share with you that’s such a simple way of approaching this kind of situation well is to say “Okay, I know this is not actually about this person, but here’s the frustration I’m having and I need to process through it!”
It gives you freedom to talk through the frustration
It give you power to not be under your circumstances, but find victory over them
It gives the other person protection, so they’re not being slandered
It gives your friend/wise counsel the opportunity to hear you, without having their opinion of the other person tainted, because you’re not mentioning their name
If you find yourself talking about others, consider putting things through this filter BEFORE you speak about them:
Is what I’m about to say going to help or hurt the situation?
If the tables were turned and I’d been the one to hurt someone, would I want them going around telling everyone about what I’d done?
Would I want this action I’m about to take to be my reputation?
So, before you start sharing what perhaps you were about to share with someone, by way of “venting” consider, perhaps, shifting your approach so you can process through in a healthy way and not leave a wake of damage behind you.
Someone else’s hurtful actions don’t at all condone yours.