Here's why you should be open to saying how you really are when you're not okay
If I ask you, ‘how are you?’ what is the answer you tend to or are likely to give? I’m okay. I’m fine. I’m well. I’m good. Most of us do it almost automatically. It’s polite to ask and because we don’t want to burden anyone, we respond with a lie when we may not be okay.
I’ve often talked about how it’s not okay to show up with a façade. How it’s better to say how you are instead of hiding. I’ve personally felt this so many times and I’ve been practicing this often. When there are times when I genuinely don’t feel good, and upon asking how am I, I’ve often landed up telling people that I’m not okay or things haven’t been good but I’m hopeful, or I’ve been better and I’m navigating through a challenge.
The response to my honesty has often not been rewarded with kindness. There have been moments when I’ve been received with a simple, oh okay or a nod or a hmm and it’s all good today I don’t feel upset or bad. Initially, it would rile me up. I felt insulted or started questioning myself and wondered if I was boring or if my problems were petty. I didn’t want pity or sympathy however I was tired of lying and appearing okay when I wasn’t. It was more about me and less about them, I’d slowly started to realize that.
Often, I would try to put myself in their shoes and think about how I would react or have reacted in my life when people have truly and genuinely expressed how they’ve felt. I felt that I often did not know the right way to respond to their feelings, so I wouldn’t say much. At times, it felt like a huge responsibility that I didn’t want and I would try to be sympathetic but not involve myself a lot. There were moments I felt they simply wanted to be heard and I was happy to listen. I’ve often wondered how I would’ve come across to people to whom I couldn’t respond in a way that felt right or appropriate. I’m certain there would’ve been a moment when they would’ve thought me to be rude or insensitive.
So, I try to also understand that it can be scary for the people at the receiving end to deal with so much responsibility. I no longer feel angry or upset but I also don’t change my response.
Being open and honest about how I feel has been amazing in a beautiful way. 6 out of 10 times, I’ve had a great experience and I wanted to share that with you today.
a) experience freedom –
There’s something so light and calming to simply saying how you feel. As if a load is lifted from your shoulders. Even if the other person is not in a position to help you, there’s a feeling of sanity. A feeling of normalcy that comes from being heard. Often times there’s a lot of shame attached to our feelings and emotions when we’re not okay. When we’re in deep peril and helpless, we feel there’s no one who can understand us. When we express how we really feel, we experience the freedom that brings a lot of peace, if only for a little while.
b) a sense of comfort –
We’re all vulnerable but we’ve been told that vulnerability is a weakness. Something that we’re not supposed to endure as it makes it appear weak. I’ve always hated the notion of always having to appear strong just so I’m not taken advantage of. It has never made sense to me. I’ve always felt uncomfortable pretending to have it together all the time. I also have come to realize that if someone ‘shows’ to have it together all the time I don’t trust them. I find it very difficult to place my faith in them. It most certainly is a very personal feeling that you may or may not relate to and that’s perfectly okay. In my opinion, expressing how you feel should be comforting. It’s more about you and less about others. It’s okay if you’re not received with the level of sympathy and understanding, you expected or hoped.
c) brings you closer –
When you’re going through something you tend to withdraw and shut down, making it confusing and allowing people to assume the worst about you. When you express how you feel you give them an opportunity to understand you better. In my experience, it has often brought me closer to people, in my personal life. I’ve had the good fortune of being friends with people who have received me and whom I’ve received so comfortably. Yes, most times it doesn’t go that well, but you can’t expect comfort and closeness from people who don’t possibly understand you or accept you. But what I realized is that not everyone is the same. It’s possible to feel comfortable and connect with certain people. The right people!
d) makes you stronger –
Imagine how brave it is to be so honest about yourself. To be comfortable with the idea that it’s okay to not have everything together all the time. That’s it’s perfectly okay to be not okay. It made me stronger emotionally by being vulnerable about my life. I appeared confident to the right people. I was complimented for being so connected to myself. For being okay with not being perfect. I received appreciation and praises from people who were supportive.
There’s a thin line between being a complainer and being vulnerable. And that’s something only you can figure out. I don’t believe in the concept of positive or negative. I believe in what can be construed as healthy and not healthy. Complaining can be unhealthy for you and for the person you’re complaining to. Being open and vulnerable is healthy as long as you’re expressing yourself.
I hope this helps you in some way. If yes, please write to me. I’d love to know more about what you felt and if you’ve had an experience that you’d like to share with me.