When You Say You're Fine
Some people may think that feeling that everything is "fine" is a sign that they're "healed" and therapy is no longer necessary.
Ask a therapist, however, and they'll probably tell you that this is where the therapy actually begins. For what does "fine" really mean?
We say it on auto-pilot probably 5 times a day:
Coffee shop clerk "hi, how are you today?"
you: "I'm fine, and you?"
clerk: "Fine, what will you have?"
office mate: "Mornin', how are you today?"
you: "I'm fine, and you?"
office mate: "Fine, wish it was Friday already."
partner/spouse/roommate: "hey how was your day?"
you: "Fine, and yours?"
partner/spouse/roommate: "Fine, what should we do for dinner?"
Here's one version of what fine really means.
And then there's this: Feelings Inside Not Expressed
Because fine does not accurately represent what's going on inside for you. Fine is putting your head in the sand, or the water, and keeping your mouth shut about what's really true for you in the moment. Yes, I know, who has time to tell the coffee shop clerk that they're freaked out that they won't get promoted, or that they did really bad on a test and may be a failure at something? In our fast-paced society, nobody has time for that, right?
But if you don't make time and space for your feelings and emotions to arise, what happens then? Bad news. One day you're so stressed you explode in anger at your child, friend, or boss. Or one day you suddenly manifest a health issue such as a rash or hives from pent-up anxiety that you can't or wont acknowledge. Or worse. That's why it's important to make a place for therapy in your schedule. Because when you get down to it, therapy is really about assisting you in being present to and making space for YOU in your life-all of you: your thoughts, your feelings, your fears, your emotional reactions to what happens in your life, your dreams that you don't tell others lest they get trampled on, etc. So please, the next time you find yourself saying you're fine, and actually believing it, do yourself a favor and either make time to journal about what you're truly feeling and trying to avoid, or find a trusted friend who will listen to you spill your authentic feelings out on the table, or make an appointment to see your therapist and enter that confidential non-judgement zone of self-connection and self-inquiry.
It's time to update your vocabulary and truly pay attention to what's underneath "fine." It may not be pretty, and that's usually why we avoid knowing ourselves that deeply, but once acknowledged, resolved, and integrated, the feelings that hide under fine will help you live a bolder, more authentic, and more on-purpose life compared to the auto-pilot version. Come on in, get your feet wet, the water's fine. ;)