I wonder lovely, how are you?
How are you really doing?
When someone asks you this questions, how do you respond?
How often are you being honest about how you feel?
Do you pretend to feel better than you actually are?
Or do you play it down because you don’t want to come across as a high-on-life-hippie?
How often is your default answer: I am fine?
Do you ever want to get away from it all, even just for a moment? To be alone with yourself and your thoughts and feelings. To escape but not really escape, and carve out a little ‘me-time’.
Living in the big smoke, I know this feeling all too well. The hussle and bussle of the city. It is inspiring. It is fun. It makes me feel alive and on top of the world most of the time. But the busyness and the constant stream of information and stimulations of the senses can get to your head at times as well.
Finding some ‘space’ in London can be tough.
I’m fortunate enough to have Hyde Park as the back garden to the office I work in and when I felt like having a little ‘me time’ the other day, I decided to go for a stroll. Whilst taking in some – polluted – fresh air, I listened to a Ted Talk by Mel Robbins.
She talked about ‘stop screwing with yourself and going after what you want’, which I found quite funny on it’s own, but that aside, there was this one particular topic that stuck with me: How we too often use ‘I’m fine’ as the answer.
In London the default answer is ‘I’m not too bad’, which means you’re great or you’re not great at all, and this is totally accepted. So how do we know how someone is truly feeling then?
As Mel says ‘it’s genius’ - because when you say you’re fine when you’re not, you don’t have to do anything about it. As soon as you put out there you might not be so fine, you declare that something requires your attention. Especially if you have shared it with a true friend. He or she will hold you accountable and help you ‘take action’ to feel better.
By saying you’re fine whilst you’re not, in a way you’re silencing something you don’t want to deal with, which I think we all know, will come back full circle to bit you in the bum!
And that is exactly where the bigger issue lies.
The bigger issue with saying you’re fine, when you’re not, is the lie. You start to believe that your miserable state is fine and that becomes your benchmark.
This is not ok
This isn’t serving you
This isn’t pushing you to take action
This is not moving you to a place where you feel good
You have permission to not always feel fine. It’s more than ok.
To feel incredibly sad when a relative just passed away
To feel upset because your relationship broke down
To be pissed off because you didn’t make the final round of interviews
Or when it’s simply one of those days you’re feeling a bit off
Also, you don’t have to play it down. Don’t merely say you are fine when:
You feel fantastic because you signed the mortgage on your first flat
You’re on a high because you went to see your favourite band in concert
You feel inspired after a great catch up with one of your girlfriends
Or when you simply feel great for no reason in particular
Say it. Own the feeling. Put it out there. The good and the bad because how you feel is important.
I am also massively guilty of this because sometimes it’s just easier. I don’t always want to explain myself.
So I’d like to challenge you this coming week. Next time someone asks you: how are you? try and be honest. Equally, don’t give a watered down version of how you’re feeling. If you feel amazing, just say so! Don’t play small. You feeling great is actually a great thing!