How do we measure what “processing well” looks like?
Many people define it as whatever is most convenient and supportive for them.
We often judge others for not processing the way we want them to process:
You want to talk about everything, and it’s not helpful. No one has time for that.
Processing too much steps on people’s toes. You need to have more respect for others’ privacy.
You’re so dramatic and emotional.
Just deal with it and move on.
It’s not bothering me, so I’m not going to work through it with you.
Healthy processing has healthy boundaries, and that means inviting people to express and work through what will be helpful. We’ve all gotten caught in a quagmire, spinning our wheels as we try to move on but only sinking deeper into muck. That can prompt us to not want to dig at all in the future, but if we don’t get below the surface, we won’t dig up what needs to be disturbed, replanted, or tossed aside. Digging can be productive and healthy, if we’re purposeful.
Processing well looks different. It changes with seasons, situations, and relationships. Processing well is uncomfortable at times. It requires humility, sacrifice, and respect.
We avoid processing well because it might reveal some areas of our lives that need to change. Especially when we refuse to process with others, it can be a sign that our own comfort is more important than a relationship we have with someone else. It often results in a chasm in the relationship.
Of course, sometimes our relationships need chasms. We need to step away from someone. We still process; we just can’t process healthily with the person.
If it’s possible yet you refuse to process well with someone, it says something about the priority you place on the health of your relationship, yourself, and the other person. If you process well with someone, it says something about those priorities, too.
We all have stuff to process, whether our lives seem to be going great or feel upside down.
Process well, and you’ll gain a refreshing perspective that can strengthen you to take the next steps.