Internal-processors are the types of people that sort, reflect and digest best by themselves. External-processors like processing by sharing it out loud with others. Check out my blog 4 Courteous Rules for External Processors if you're the second one! As mentioned in that article, the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. This blog shows you how to come into balance by ensuring you have some conscious processing tools that will expand you and support you.
If you're an internal processor, some of the risks may be lack of vulnerability, accountability or communication. Internal processors are deep thinkers that get lost in their heads and mixed up in their thoughts. Both types can overthink, but internal processors can easily live in that space. You may be an internal processor for reasons such as lack of trust in others, a high value for independence, a generally cerebral or analytical nature or even trauma. If someone in your childhood processed externally in a chaotic or unhealthy way, you may have learned it's best to keep to yourself. If you tend to keep it all locked up quietly inside, I'm here to tell you: it's important to open up to others. Since that can be a huge step for an internal processor, journaling, coaching and/or therapy are great places to start.
Here are some helpful steps:
- Be intentional. Why do you want to process? What do you want to gain? It's easy to get caught up in an endless loop of thoughts. This will help guide you as you process.
- Take it outside. Your head, that is. Remember that things need to be taken out of the dark to become clear. When we ruminate inside with no accountability or bird's eye visibility, everything can turn to an overwhelming heap of mush. Taking it outside of your head could look like talking to someone, talking out loud even (record it and play it back for best results) or journal it.
- Consider if more communication needs to be done. Whether you're journaling, recording yourself or actually talking it out with someone, you may find that something deeper needs to be communicated. Do you need more help? Are you feeling something emotional? Do you need to talk to someone specific? What is it that you're discovering and is there something to say?
- Communication is key. This is with yourself and with others. This will protect you from making a decision that goes unchecked or tormenting yourself with unclarity. Speak it. Clear it. You'll be so happy you did.
If you need more help, support or connection over a specific topic you desire to process or want to start practicing external processing for a healthy balance:
- Consider journaling or audio recording your own
- Join specific support groups if your issue is reoccurring and you need more connection
- Talk to a coach (hello!) or a therapist
- Practice mindfulness daily (hello again!) to strengthen your sense of self-awareness and clarity
We all need a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on and a moment to share. Start these steps and then learn how to share consciously. Here’s to healthier relationships, true support and connection.