How To Appropriately Share Frustrations

Honesty. The Bible is clear about it. There are plenty of places in scripture where we read about the importance of truth and honesty. So, we should always be honest, right?

Well, yes…but it’s very important who we share our honest feelings with. And who we don’t.

I recently experienced a situation where someone shared their honest feelings of frustration, which is generally good, but they shared them with the wrong individuals. And it caused some harm.

So, this got me thinking. I know it’s important to be honest with our thoughts, feelings, frustrations and emotions, but there are some people we should share with, and others we shouldn’t. Here are my thoughts on who we should and shouldn’t share our frustrations with.

Where it’s OK to share frustrations:

  • God
    Duh! You can and should be able to tell God anything. The Apostle Peter said, “cast your anxiety on Him (God) for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). Paul encourages us to “pray about everything” (Philippians 4:6 NLT). It’s always safe to share honest emotions with God.
  • Pastor
    It’s typically OK to share frustrations with trustworthy pastors. We often go to pastors for confession and absolution. It’s their roll in ministry to remind you of God’s forgiveness through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, and His amazing, boundless love for you.
  • Therapist
    I share lots with my therapist. Much like a pastor, it’s my therapist’s job to listen, not judge, and give wise advice. The therapy office is a safe place to share your stuff.
  • Supervisor
    Your boss is the appropriate person with which to share work frustrations. They typically have a broader perspective than you and might know things you don’t. If they’re a good boss, they’ll listen, and give valuable insight to help ease frustrations.
  • Mentor / Accountability Partner
    God placed trusted people in your life for a reason. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (NIV). Build those trusting accountability relationships. It’s wise, healthy for your soul and cheaper than therapy.

Where it’s not OK to share frustrations:

  • Work Subordinate
    Anyone below you on your company’s Org Chart should be kept from hearing your frustrations. A good supervisor handles workplace issues and stabilizes the work environment. But if the boss shares their frustrations with their employees, it only increases frustration, destabilizes the environment and rattles the workplace culture.
  • Spouse
    I know what you’re saying. “But my spouse is supposed to be my closest confidant. I should be able to tell them anything!” Yes, this is true. But I caution you to be very careful of how much detail you share with your spouse. Sharing feelings is valid. Sharing names and specifics borders on harmful gossip.
  • Volunteer
    As someone with over 35 years of ministry experience, and one who has made several mistakes along the way, never share your frustrations with volunteers. They look to you to boost their spirits. Sharing your frustrations only spreads discouragement.
  • Social Media
    Again, duh! Just don’t do it. I know it’s commonplace to be negative on social media, but it does no good. Resist the temptation to vent and to react with negative emotion. Getting into ideological debates over social media never changed anyone’s mind. It only leads to further negativity and frustration.

So, there you have it. Yes, sharing your frustrations and honest feelings with the right people is healthy for the soul. But sharing with the wrong people is destructive. So be wise. And if you lack wisdom, ask God. He will give it (James 1:5 NIV).