When an experience happened to me, I used to react and not have the discipline to take time to process my thoughts and feelings on my own. I have found it quite amazing how I feel things first, and then my mind has to catch up- that’s where the processing takes place for me. I remember in the past I used to have a colleague who confronted anyone she felt she needed to have a “talk” with, all based on her insecure perception of an interaction. She’d corner me and demand we chat because she couldn’t deal with the tension she felt. When giving her insight, I shared that although I’d like to talk it out, I needed space and time so that I could discern what I felt and wanted to communicate. I wanted her to realize that although she didn’t need any processing time, I would like her to respect that I did. When she’d forget to honor this request, I at least I knew what I needed and would halt her launches at me and ask to postpone a conversation. I carry this need with me into my relationship with Daniel as well. When something doesn’t tickle me right, on default I want to remain in the moment and dive head first into the discussion blurting out my emotions and thoughts, sometimes not making sense at all. I find in these situations that our discussions aren’t productive because I don’t even know what’s going on within myself. Thus, I have learned to fight my urge to want to remain near him during these times. Instead, I ask to be left alone or to postpone the conversation so that I can sort myself out. This has proven to be effective for me because I go through each of my thoughts and feelings and discern where I was triggered, what emotions I’m feeling, what distorted thoughts I may be having, what’s “normal” when I call a friend, and what I want out of it all. This approach has helped me because I don’t regret what I say, have a better understanding of myself and my needs, and my communication with others is more productive.
Have you thought about how you go about processing experiences? Do you need time for yourself, or do you process it in the moment? Have you honored other people’s processing needs?