Get the “Ugly” Out


You’ve heard of a vent session or a rant, right? I’m sure you can locate a dozen or more rants on social media right now.

Well, I use the phrase “get the ugly out” with my friends and trusted circle.

That’s my words for a rant. And I often start off my meetups and friend gatherings by me getting “the ugly” out of my system.

The “ugly” is my frustrations, anxiety, fears, and worries. The ugly equates to the burdens I’ve been carrying around but need to let go of, and by talking about it, I’m able to release it into the world rather than keep it to myself.

I encourage you to utilize this practice in safe, helpful ways. You can even borrow my phrase. (I won’t rant about it if you do.)

Most of my ranting is held privately. I don’t like to put out public ugliness on the world wide web or on Facebook and Instagram for all to see. Occasionally I do, sure, but not every day or every week. I am intentional in what I share there because I don’t know who could read it, screenshot it or share it without me knowing (or it is taken out of context). Plus, I know I could change my mind, feel differently in time or even regret it later.

Let’s face it, we have our moments when we feel we’ve reached the “last straw,” and some harsh words may come out of our mouths. And it needs/needed to happen, but that doesn’t mean that ugliness needs to stay in print and on others’ news feeds constantly.

Here are five healthy ways to get your ugly out (and how I get my ugly out regularly):

Call a friend and propose that you both get the ugly out first and upfront.

“Can I just be ugly for a few minutes? I just have to get this off my chest…” Then say what you need to say with that trusted person. Take turns in getting your ugly out. Be considerate in how you respond to each other; don’t play the “wait until’ game by delivering news of future gloom.

Set a time limit on your ugly session.

If you only have an hour to visit with that friend, make sure the whole session isn’t ranting. Make time for general chatter, recent news, encouragement, and ways to cope with the ugliness. Have your pity party, your ugly party, but don’t let yourself dwell there for too long.

Move around before or during your ugly session.

Exercise before you get a chance to get your ugly out. Go for a power walk while your mind races with that ugliness. You’ll be surprised how fast you go when you’ve got pent up emotions. Do a kickboxing workout to punch out some frustrations. Maybe you won’t even need an ugly session later if you’ve moved your body and helped your mind move forward.

Watch a movie or TV show that helps you get the ugly out.

Do you have a few favorite films or television shows that cause you to feel all the emotions? I do. Some of my “get the ugly” out films that make me cry, angry, laugh, etc., are Steel Magnolias, Beaches, Finding Forrester, Sleepless in Seattle, and nearly every Disney animated movie. The “This is Us” TV series made me cry nearly every episode. Don’t like my list? Here’s a list of 46 sad movie suggestions I found.

Play music that helps you get the ugly out.

My oldest daughter and I like to create playlists on music streaming platforms. We both have ones to help us cope with various emotions. I have my “angry chick music,” and my “these songs always make me cry” tunes. My get the stress out song is “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen. My “always cry when I hear it, yet it gives me hope” tunes are “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips and “Landslide” by Stevie Sticks. Leave your favorite songs in the comment section for others to try.

If these five suggestions don’t work for you, review this list of 31 ways to practice self-care. Maybe one of these can help.

Even psychologists recommend a good venting session and the health benefits of it. Psych Central says sharing frustrations can be beneficial for all parties. Getting the ugly out can help you express yourself, move toward acceptance and help you gain insights. In addition, private rants can lead to connection, focus, and perspective.

Don’t keep your feelings bottled up. Find healthy ways to let them out, so they don’t continue to build and cause you or others harm.

If your feelings (or a loved one’s feelings) are beyond what can be enhanced or helped in an ugly session that I mention, then please seek out professional help and resources. Here are three resources that I’m aware of that may help you or others you know:

  • Call 988, the suicide and crisis hotline.
  • Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at 1-800-662-HELP
  • Dial 911 to be transferred to someone who can help and is trained in crisis communication. If you know of other resources, please share them in the comments.

You’re not alone in feeling tired, scared, worried, anxious, afraid, angry, and everything in between. That comes with being a mom, and those feelings are amplified with kids who are strong-willed and kids who may also be feeling this way because of mental health.

Once you’ve almost mastered the art of getting the ugly out, you can pass the tips on to your kids. Allow them a safe space to get their own ugly out. They probably are lashing out toward you at the end of a tired day, anyway. But you can now give it a name, acknowledge it and share how it’s welcome and accepted within your family.

I want you to remember that after you get that ugly out, you can get back to creating that beautiful life you want and deserve!

And you do deserve it, mama. You do!





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