Social media provides an explosive and elevating platform to rant. Most of us will agree that ranting becomes a cathartic exercise over time. But could it ever become “toxic”?
Colleges are defined by the activities and opportunities that they organise for the students. As we increasingly become more involved with these activities, we become increasingly complex with our emotions. Or to put it in simpler terms, the cause-effect relationship between overwork and frustration becomes more apparent. How do you vent out a complex multitude of emotions that seems to smother you, and also sadden you? Although everyone has different coping mechanisms, many of you would agree that the most famously accepted and satisfying way to do so, is to rant.
Most of our rants are really in the moments of great crises. To use a foul alliterative play, a rant provides us with a catharsis in crisis. It really is a purge. Most of the rants that you become a listener to, or even those that you are declaring, are moments of deep emotional outbreak. “I cannot do this anymore,” or “I have had enough of this,” or “how difficult is it for me to say ‘NO’ for once?” Reflective questions like these throw us off into a heated rant. But overwork is not the only factor to push us off this emotional cliff. An elucidation of an emotional blueprint that is a rant, we become the truest versions of ourselves. We realise and connect with our reality during the course of a rant.
Sanchi Mehta, a Literature student from Hindu College, says, “My rants are therefore seminal to an understanding of my inner being because the process makes me introspect. More often than not, in narrativising the assault of emotions churning within me, the pent up anger dissipates. Laying it all bare unveils the gaps that generally an emotion like anger or tiredness – while synthesising a surmounting pile of undealt with events – obstructs, thus helping me to look at things with a more objective acceptance and self-critical gaze. It is like self-induced therapy. It keeps me from hysterically dealing with situations and dispensing the tendency for adopting over-the-top responses.”
Annoyance, frustration, or sadness held in for too long internally becomes toxic. An ideal lifestyle wherein you keep your “unpopular opinions” to yourself will ultimately become a baggage slowing you down. Thankfully for us, social media has efficiently given us an amazing pedestal to rant. However, despite the platform and improved means, the listening / hearing end of the rant has often interpreted these rants negatively.
And how does it work? You watch a movie, for example; the movie shows some character in a bad light, normalises issues like harassment, ridicules the idea of consent, or shows anything else. You feel strongly about something which you express online and there it is, your “rant”. It is not uncommon for people to call an emotional journaling or expression a rant these days. We are naturally bound to feel strongly about certain things. The expression of such strong emotions is translated into being an unnecessary “rant”. It is this classification that seems to question the act of expressing, by associating it with entitlement. Having an opinion makes you entitled to rant, period. It is with the opposing opinions that a balance is maintained in this life.
Rants guide you out of deep crises. Anoushka Sharma, a second-year student of Journalism, says, “I believe it’s very important to rant once in a while. It relieves the stress and baggage in one’s head (at least in my case). But I think it is also important to know who you are ranting to. The person should be understanding and should have the mental capacity to listen, and in that, interpret what you have to say. One simple reason for this is that the other person may not be emotionally available to understand your situation or your need to rant.” The only cautionary advice as you rant is that you must try to access the emotional faculty of your listener. Your understanding of your listener’s unavailability improves the mutual connect. “Ranting is a healthy way to vent. If done properly, it’s a good way to express yourself,” says Anoushka.
An important idea that demands attention at this point is that of acceptance. People will say that if you rant about things, you are being too uptight or even mean with your opinions. A rant is about non-acceptance, after all. But then, an argument builds up against this. That if you do not rant about or do not express your non-acceptance, that simply is equivalent to giving in to something that you do not approve of. Certainly you cannot go around and question everything, and that is precisely where you have to practise your discretion. As important as it is to rant, the surfeit of it also loses its seriousness and / or impact. If we are to measure opinions in this narrow fashion, we block the possibilities of change; both in our personal and general spaces.
Find your balance in rants. Rants have been able to achieve so much in the face of resistance, simply because rants become the resistance, the peace and the way of life. If you rant, you have a voice and a mind; now that is not a bad combination to boast of.
Feature Image Credits: Paul Garland via Smithsonian Magazine