However, there’s a few nuanced differences between complaining and sharing one’s heart.
A complaint focuses on the other person, what they are failing to do or what they are doing wrong.
The tone of a complaint is often one of confrontation,
the one of an open heart is that of revelation.
A conversation started off a complaint often has the effect that it is received with resistance, defensiveness, dismissiveness or aggression (because it’s experienced as an attack, unless the other has done enough work to read through the lines.)..
While sharing your heart often (not always, but very often) brings out compassion, understanding and desire to step in a lead.
“Speaking from your heart” is something that most people misunderstand as speaking from your emotions or from a highly charged and emotionally volatile space.
That’s NOT it.
That’s reactivity and often, poor self regulation.
To truly share from one’s heart is to place our heart in the hands and give the other a glimpse of what we’re going through.. WITHOUT making them guilty, without pointing a single finger, without blaming or making them responsible for how we feel..
Just opening a window that says:
“This is the truth of how I feel around what just happened”
It does not seek to change or punish the other..
It seeks to share one’s world with them.
And it is rarely received as a complaint… for there’s nothing you are asking of them, nor anything you’re shaming, judging or attacking.
A complaint in essence is about the present moment not being good enough or acceptable.
Sharing your heart embraces the moment as it is, recognizes its perfection without minimizing the grief, pain and waves of emotion that are present within you.
So in essence, a complaint is a tool through which we reject the other and the moment.
Sharing our heart, one in which we include them, and deepen their awareness of where we’re at (while owning all that is ours).
A simple example would be, let’s say, we’re dating and I came home from work really tired and hungry..
..Yet you just finished having dinner and didn’t make nor leave some for me.
– Why couldn’t you think of me?
– Why did you eat it all?
(passive aggression): Oh you forgot you had a partner..
– I’m so hungry and tired, I wish you would think more often about me and would’ve left some food out, please next time save some. (trying to be nice while keeping in all the frustration and anger)
Or I may just keep it all in, not say a thing and gather resentment until I -unconsciously- get to make things even and take it out on you.
Sharing the heart:
I would sit with what I’m feeling and explore it.. for I know it’s mine (sure, triggered by something you did or didn’t do, but ultimately mine)
Perhaps it would evolve like this:
Shocked, confused, exhausted, overwhelmed, angry, bitter, judgemental, feeling left out, abandoned, not worthy of being taken care of, dismissed, not included, taken for granted, not appreciated, not supported, alone, lonely, disconnected, deeply sad.
The truth of the moment is that you didn’t prepare a meal.
A complaint happens when I take the moment personal (i.e. My partner does not care about ME)
But in truth there are a million GOOD reasons why you may not have done it..
Perhaps you were burdened with your own things, maybe you went through a rough day and didn’t have the bandwidth to anticipate my coming home, perhaps there wasn’t any food in the fridge and you assumed I would eat before coming home.. and so it goes…
Perhaps someone close to you passed away and you needed a moment.
Would I complain in that moment, if I knew that was the case?
Same situation but I’m not taking it personal or creating a meaning about me / us.
So back to the sharing of the heart:
Upon witnessing all that moves within me, I would perhaps sit on the sofa and, depending on how intense the emotions are, I may cry..
Out of grief for all that has moved within me, I may cry tears over the feelings of abandonment and loneliness, over the hunger and the work that kept me so tired until that moment, over the long and arduous day that does not yet end…
I may cry at the heaviness I feel towards you, for it consumes me too..
and in that moment you may ask why I cry..
And I can share with you how I’m feeling.
“I feel so overwhelmed.. I had a very long day at work and I’m starving, and coming home to see you had dinner without me sparked a lot of difficult emotions in me right now, I know you have your reasons, and I feel dismissed and alone in this moment…”
Notice there’s no pointing of a finger, no blaming, no demands or expectations, no vomiting of emotions on you, just sharing them as they’ve come up within me – with full responsibility…
In that moment, it would be extremely hard for any loving partner not to be touched and want to do something about the other’s pain.
Not because it was forced or nagged out of them but because it was inspired and drawn in.
Our openness, when shared with those we love (and love us), is the bridge towards transformative action.
Venting about that which we reject rarely has positive consequences. It tends to induce shame and any correction that follows through is unsustainable for the shift was rooted in “not wanting to upset you” AKA: Shame and guilt and not love and care.
You get to decide what emotions you want to become the structure of your relationship and from what place you wish to see changes.
“But Nico.. if I share my heart with my partner, nothing gets done.. nothing will change.”
Well, even a donkey moves forward if you beat them hard enough with a stick..
It doesn’t mean the donkey is willing to walk the same direction as you.
Especially for a woman that is feminine, if your open heart does not inspire your man to show up in a fuller way around the areas in which he’s unaware, he’s not your man.
His attention may be on his own interests, desires and needs..
Without much regard for witnessing you.
There’s no need to ever want to change someone else…
If you try and force a flower to bloom from the outside, you’re bound to destroy it in the process.