When you were last asked the question, “How are you?,” what was your response?
For years I responded with the same two words, no matter how I was or how I felt at the time. It became a rote answer, with no thought behind it.
I don’t know why. But, I said it when I was happy, and also when I was miserable. It escaped from my lips when I was frustrated and even when I was elated. When I felt tired or weary those were the two words I voiced.
I was anything but fine.
Why didn’t I just respond with the truth? I wasn’t intentionally being dishonest, but I certainly wasn’t being real and transparent. I could have replied with a number of real responses:
Or, “I’m a bit frustrated.”
But no, I had to say I was fine.
I made a conscious effort to stop saying those two words together. I, instead, chose other words to describe how I really was. It ended up being more difficult than I expected to break the “I’m fine” habit.
I’m reminded of all of this after hearing three people on separate occasions last week say to me those exact two words. Just for fun today I visited dictionary.com and typed in the word fine. No definition came up in describing a person’s status or well-being. So, why is it we use that word to describe how we are?
Maybe fine has found a way into your answers too. Could it be it has become a safe word because we really don’t want to sound too happy or too sad or too whatever? Maybe we want to unintentionally just blend in with everyone else?
Are you as tired of saying you’re fine as I am?
I challenge us to change things up.
The next time someone asks how we are, we can assume they genuinely want to know. So, let’s try answering honestly. The thing is, it’s likely the one asking has heard the response “I’m fine” so often, that might be what he/she just expects to hear. Let’s watch to see the person’s reaction when we respond with anything but that.
No, we don’t have to air any dirty laundry, and we can still be honest without sharing every single detail of what’s going on in our lives.
But let’s be honest, and stop saying we’re fine when we are more than that.
I continue to work at this. I still have a tendency to revert back to my old response. But, being real and transparent is always a good thing.
What do you think? I’d love to read your thoughts on this. And if I’m the only one who struggles with this silly response, then that’s a great thing!
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