Hi. How are you?
It is likely that you reply with this following statement:
I am okay.
Unfortunately, I cannot define your definition of okay because it is subjective. Perhaps, we are telling the truth when we say that we are okay. Although, this common conversation extracts a common white lie that we tell to others.
I am okay.
Are you really okay? Many people are not actually okay, but they are uncomfortable in being transparent with strangers. Alternatively, they may not be in the mood to talk about the matter because they believe that no one could or would help them. After all, many of those people would not probably value sympathetic remarks from people that they will probably never see again.
So, instead of being vulnerable and courageous in discussing our issues, we find comfort in being dishonest with our self and others by saying that we are okay. The truth is that there is no comfort in dishonesty. It is nothing more than an illusion. It is a common coping strategy to escape the reality of facing the problem.
Do you find yourself guilty of dishonesty when people inquire about your emotional wellbeing?
For most people, dishonesty breeds frustration. Eventually, we will get frustrated with saying that we are okay when our life is gradually declining or has reached a stalemate.
Recently lost one of your better jobs in your career? You are probably not okay.
Recently diagnosed with an incurable disease? You are probably not okay.
A recent death of a loved one? You are probably not okay.
There are other countless examples that encourage us that life is getting worse. Conversely, maybe you are someone who is at a stalemate. You are stuck and doing anything beyond the current norm could be disastrous. Yet, you insist on telling yourself and others that you are okay.
Living paycheck to paycheck? You are probably not okay.
Are you in a Gen Xer with no safety net? You are probably not okay.
Are you unable to work and have been rejected from receiving social security disability insurance? You are probably not okay.
"I am okay" is a common white lie that is damaging to our soul. We can stop lying to others and start being more conscious of our responses. I understand that some people face difficulty in being vulnerable with others. However, a good first step is to be more honest with others. We may not have the courage to be transparent about our personal matters, but we can still be honest with our answer.
Allow me to illustrate a few examples for you.
Hey. How are you?
Not too bad.
Do you see the difference in this response? Not too bad simply means that I am not doing okay, but I am not doing too bad either. This is an honest response!
Hello. How are you doing?
Better than yesterday.
Do you see the difference in this response? Better than yesterday means that today was better than yesterday. It does not suggest that you are feeling good or okay. Your response simply states that you are feeling better than yesterday, which is another honest response.
Today is another day to be honest. Will you be honest with yourself and others? Do you fear that someone may inquire further about your emotional wellbeing? Surely, you have the right to not share your personal matters. Nevertheless, every time you respond to someone's question with honesty, you are strengthening a good habit. If you want to reach the finish line in any area of life, this habit will help you get there.