"I'm fine". "It's fine". "We're fine". We have all said these words; when what we really wanted to say is "It's/I'm freaking insane, not even exaggerating" (did ya catch that acronym? F.I.N.E.?) and depending on the situation that "freaking" can definitely be upgraded to an adult four letter word. These days the perfunctory response to the chit-chat check in is "fine", maybe an "eh, ok". Why do we work so hard to hide what is really going on? Why do we hide from the people in our world how we feel?
Our culture has long had a "keeping up with the Jones'" theme; with the increase of social media use this phenomenon has only increased. We see/post the highlights (or the extreme lowlights) and compare our lives then feel a pressure to compete. The pressure to show we are all "fine". It is ok to not be fine, to not be ok. We have to have the emotional safety with people in our lives to share our true authentic feelings and fears with. In our fast paced world we are lacking a crucial depth to our relationships to give us the emotional safety within our friendships and family relationships to really unpack all that is "F.I.N.E" in our lives.
This is not to say you unload every stress or bad day on every single person you encounter. We don't need to stand in the grocery store check out in tears bemoaning the woes 2020 has unloaded on your lap. We have to learn appropriate timing and details to divulge. Learning about and implement boundaries is a common point of focus in treatment is to address when and how to advocate/express yourself within relationships. One of my good friends, who is also a therapist, said putting boundaries in place with people is "having your own back once in a while". The best boundary to have is to know when it is ok to lay down your mask and show how you are truly feeling.
The next time you say "I'm fine", I challenge you to really pause to decide, what is going on under that "fine" then find your safe people and sit with your shared humanness of not being so fine right now.