So I’ve had several interesting and insightful conversations with a variety of people the last two weeks. For multiple reasons, it has been a time of deep, contemplative discussions with some of those people I consider wise, compassionate, empathetic, and thoughtful.
This has led to rather thoughtful and wise conversations with myself (which of course, should not be shocking considering I’m the lone participant). So I’ve heard people say the truth hurts. Perhaps. But deep truths are especially tough for me because I am a slow processor.
I’m a teacher, and I’ve heard the term slow processor a myriad of times. Usually, it’s in regards to cognitive functions in my line of work. But that’s not what I’m talking about here when I tell you I’m a slow processor. I am a slow processor of emotions. You can tell me something exciting and I’ll be happy at that moment, but as I process the information and my feelings about it, the excitement just continues to build more and more over the passing days and weeks. Finally, three days later my excitement would catch up to yours.
The same is true for any other type of news. Tell me something sad, and I’ll be sad at that moment. However, I’ll be morose the next day. By three days later, I’ll be nearly despondent (okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture.)
So a friend shared an observation about me with me earlier. To hear it, stung. Until the next day. Then the sting became a scab ripped off. Finally two days later, it was true blue, legitimate pain. And then…..nearly a week later…..I recognized this was not pain as in, “I can’t believe they said that to me.” More like the pain of, “Ouch. That was some truth that was hard to hear and harder to admit.”
And now I’m working through that because recognizing truth allows us to make clear decisions. Change doesn’t happen without realization. If you aren’t aware that something is broken, how do you know to fix it?
However, this got me thinking about a different kind of change…..As I said, I’m a slow processor of emotions. I like laughter, smiles, fun. I don’t like pity, disappointment, pain. However, you can’t have one set without the other. But since my family’s health issues, I have tried. Rather than taking the needed time of two, three , four, or five days to process negative emotions, I would just turn them off. Of course, a lot of time I didn’t have the luxury of taking the time.
For example, when we found out there was a medical change, I had to begin the process of making follow up appointments, scheduling kids to be here or there, adjusting work schedules, or similar tasks. There was no time to process. There was only time to do. Just FYI: that’s not a good thing.
So now here I am processing….perhaps in slow motion…..but I’m processing emotions. I’m owning emotions. I’m recognizing emotions. I’m making progress, and it doesn’t take me three days to know that feels good.