If you read the title of this and feel like I’m speaking directly to you, it’s because I am! Don’t worry, we’ve all done it before — someone calls you or sends you a text and says, “Hey! How are you?” Of course, the natural response is, “I’m fine! How about you?” But, is it always your honest response?
Trust me, I get it. Sometimes it’s too much to explain everything that’s going on right now, and it’s just much easier to say that everything is good even when it’s not. Sometimes, you just don’t feel like getting into the details and specifics of what’s wrong. Sometimes, you just don’t want to burden others with the weight of your problems. When I tell you I’ve been there, I mean it.
Well, starting today, I say that we stop lying to ourselves and lying to the people around us. No more denying ourselves the right to vent and let go of what’s weighing us down. No more deciding for other people that they can’t handle what we are going through. Today, I’m here to tell you three responses that you can say instead of “I’m fine.”
1. “I’m struggling a bit, honestly, but I’m trying to figure it out.”
This is probably my favorite response. This lets the person know that you are going through something right now, but you’re actively thinking of solutions and your next course of action. It lets them know that you have not given up hope. In this scenario, you’re honest about what’s going on while creating an avenue of trust with the person you’re speaking with.
What I love most about this is that it gives you more control than you realize. You can reveal as little or as much as you want. If you don’t mind being on the vulnerable side, you can talk about what you’re struggling with, how long you’ve been struggling with it, and what your thoughts are about the situation. If you’d rather keep things more private, you can keep it short and simple. Either way, you’re being honest and allowing the person to understand where your head is.
2. “I’m so overwhelmed right now. Do you have a second to chat?”
If you’re like me and you’re always worried that you’re burdening someone with your troubles, you may like this one. In this scenario, you’re allowing the person to say whether or not they have the time and mental space to listen to you rather than deciding this for them. If they do have the time and mental space to take on your issues, you can vent and get all of your thoughts and feelings on the table. You may feel a huge weight lift from your shoulders as a result.
Oh, and another great part about this scenario is that you’re letting yourself be open to receiving some helpful advice. You never know if the person you’re venting to has been through what you’re going through in the past and can offer you some encouragement or advice to help you.
3. “There’s a lot going on right now that I don’t want to get into at the moment, but I could definitely use a hug right now.”
Sometimes, it’s too hard to talk about what you’re going through and all of the emotions behind it, especially if it’s fresh. In this scenario, you’re being vocal about what you want and need to help you get to a better place without spilling any of the beans. It’s the best of both worlds for those who are struggling with something more private that you don’t feel comfortable disclosing just yet, as you’re able to still get what you need to try and feel better.
Of course, you don’t have to ask for a hug if that’s not what you need. Maybe instead of a hug, you just don’t want to be alone and could use some company instead. Regardless of what you need, asking for help is a great idea. If that person can deliver and give you that hug or the comfort of their presence, then that’s even better. This physical and emotional connection is imperative in helping you understand how loved and cared for you are. It’s easy to lose sight of that when you’re in the middle of hard times.
Like I said before, I know it’s easier to just say, “I’m ok” or “I’m all good”. However, you never know what may happen when you decide to open up to someone you trust. You may hear that one thing you needed to inspire, motivate, and empower you — all because you took a chance, opened up, and expressed yourself. Wonderful things can happen when you choose to develop and nurture an emotional connection with someone you love and trust.
So, next time someone asks, “Hey, how are you doing?” I hope that all of you reading this choose to be as honest and open as you feel comfortable. Challenge yourself to explore new depths and levels of comfort, then, see how you feel afterward. It won’t happen overnight, and it certainly won’t be easy to do, but you may find it rewarding in the end.
“Let’s stop pretending things are ok when they’re not so we can pray for each other and know we’re not the only one who struggles.” – Renee Swope