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May 22, 2020
We all do it, probably multiple times a day. “How are you?”, someone asks us. “I’m fine,” we respond, automatically and mindlessly, without even thinking about it.
But are you really just “fine” in every single one of those interactions? Or are you ecstatic? Exhausted? Anxious? Hurt? We tell everyone we’re “fine”, but moods and emotional states shift throughout the day. That’s normal and human. It would be impossible – and boring – to be just “fine” all day, every day, no matter what is going on in our lives. “Fine” isn’t a real emotion. It’s time for us all to embrace our humanity, get honest with ourselves, and take “I’m fine” out of our vocabulary.
Maybe one of the reasons why we brush things off with an “I’m fine” is because we don’t believe the person asking us truly cares how we really are. That’s totally fair. It’s true – the barista is probably just being polite.
And maybe another reason – the deeper reason – is because dismissing the question with a quick “I’m fine” allows us to get out of the sometimes uncomfortable experience of looking inward and examining our emotional state. It can be scary to really just be honest with ourselves, to take a minute out of our day to just check in with ourselves about how we’re really doing.
But this type of mindful self-reflection is essential to a whole and happy life. How can we live true to ourselves if we don’t even know how we’re really doing (and no, it’s not “just fine”) right here, in this moment? How can we know and understand ourselves deeply if we constantly dismiss our own feelings by sweeping them under the rug of “I’m fine”? When we give ourselves the gift of looking inward, we can identify and name our feelings: annoyed; furious; peaceful; joyful. We can come to know ourselves in a deeper way, and bring more consciousness to what makes us feel a certain way and why.
I challenge you try to take “I’m fine” out of your vocabulary. The next time someone asks you how you’re doing, don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to go deeper with yourself. No one can just be “fine” all day, every day. How are you really doing?
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