Self-Care When You're a Verbal Processor
Word Vomit. A phrase coined by the lead character in Mean Girls explaining how she couldn’t keep her words to herself. I couldn’t relate any more even if I tried. When something is on my mind, I gotta let it out. When I was younger I used to spew my thoughts on unsuspecting bystanders. Thankfully, I was often ignored. However, occasionally I would stumble upon an unsafe person. A person who would take my words, quote them and then use them out of context. It wounded me every time.
Going into adulthood did not make my verbal processing any easier. Adults can be just as bad as children and, often times, worse. I had to learn, quickly, new ways to process my thoughts or risk further heartbreak.
Below are my top ways to save yourself if you’re a verbal processor:
1. Find a safe person.
This person will often times be older than you (not always). They will speak life- giving words regardless if you have even shared your heart with them. How can you be sure they are safe? Watch them. Listen to them. Are they genuine? Kind? How do they speak to people that annoy them? Can you even tell they think the person is annoying? The answer should be, no. Also, pay attention to how they speak about themselves. Do they put themselves down? Do they build themselves up and offer themselves grace? This is your safe person. And most importantly, are they in a place in life where they can take on a mentee?
2. Take a drive or walk.
This one goes hand-in-hand with “Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself”. With technology these days it’s a lot easier to get away with talking to yourself and not having anyone notice. Thanks to ear buds! The act of driving, or walking, helps me to have that physical outlet to release tension while I continue to talk to myself in a calm (not yelling) manner. ** NOTE: If you are REALLY upset, don’t drive. In fact, just go for a walk around the block. You do not want to risk getting into an accident if you are an emotional wreck.
3. If you cannot find any safe people, pay a professional.
There is nothing wrong with going to a professional to process all the thoughts in your mind. I have been going regularly for the past three years and look forward to going now. This is especially important for major life changes and/or events. A counselor can offer an unbiased and unemotionally invested advice. This alone can be invaluable! Professionals can also offer a different perspective that you may not have considered without all the emotion behind it. Often times I feel like a weight has lifted off my shoulders and I feel empowered to take action.
These three actions have saved me from many heartaches, mistakes and saying words that I cannot be unsaid. Are you a verbal processor? Have you tried these self-care tips and had success? What are some ways you practice self-care as a verbal processor?