“If she spoke, she would tell him the truth: she was not okay at all, but horribly empty, now that she knew what it was like to be filled.”― Jodi Picoult, Plain Truth
How many times have you told the truth in response to the question, “is everything okay?”
How many times have you responded to that question with “I’m fine,” when you really wanted to say “I feel inadequate”, “I’m depressed”, or just plain “no”?
I think it’s safe to say that “I’m fine” is one of the biggest lies of this century.
In fact, it is becoming so well known as a lie, that if you do tell someone “I’m fine”, it is likely the person asking will interpret your answer as, “there is something wrong but apparently I’m not talking about it.”
Now here’s the truth: if you aren’t honest with others, you can’t expect others to help you get out of your rut. But I know the reality is, you want to get out of your rut. You want to learn how the Hell you can love our life.
So how do you actually go about doing that?
I see a lot of advice on the internet encouraging people to “be nice to others because you never know what they are experiencing”. As well as advice on “learning to intuit behaviour associated with sadness so we can be a support system for people who don’t know how to ask for help”.
And although I 10000% agree with those messages, there’s an even more important message out there that is missing. And that is the message I am sharing with you today.
Tell the F*cking Truth
If you watched this week’s YouTube video then you know that tip #2 to navigating rock bottom is to “answer honestly”. And if you haven’t watched that video yet, go do that now by clicking here, then come back to this post so you can follow along easily.
For countless years of my life, I’ve wanted someone to read my mind and tell me they know how to “get me out of my rut”. It would’ve have been such a painless experience to have someone use their psychic abilities to know everything I was thinking and present me with a solution to finding meaning in life. Can you picture it? All the psychic person has to do is clink their noggin against mine and all my mind’s thoughts would be transferred into their head. And on my part: no butt-hurt ego, no damaged pride, and I could continue putting on the “I’m happy and love my life front” to the rest of the world. Painless.
But there’s a big problem with that scenario:
It’s f*cking impossible.
Humans are not magical mind-reading psychics. But some of them are quite intuitive and can see/feel/understand when you are sad, upset, or anxious.
So when one of those awesome intuitive humans says to you, “Hey Sally, is everything okay right now?” It becomes your responsibility to tell them the truth. “Wow, thanks for asking Gina. To be honest, I’ve been super overwhelmed this past week.”
Boom. You did it.
And guess what, your ego is fine, your pride isn’t hurt, and you don’t have to fake the way you feel to the world. I can tell you firsthand, faking happiness does not make you happy for real.
I know it’s much easier for the world to operate in a way that will keep you happy. And it’s much less exhausting if people were just nice to you and said things that weren’t mean or insensitive or whatever. Because damn… it takes some serious hardcore effort to actually keep yourself happy. But unfortunately, there are 7.53 billion of us on the planet, so it is impossible for the world to operate in 7.53 billion different ways at once to keep each of us happy.
It is not the responsibility of the world to improve your life. And if you are lucky enough to know a human on this Earth who wants to take on that responsibility and asks you a question like “is everything okay?” … you better take advantage of that. Answer honestly.
Because as soon as that question is asked, the responsibility of improving your life is transferred directly back to you. Answering that question with “I’m fine,” when you most certainly aren’t is a huge disservice to you, your future, and even to those closest to you.
So other than a hurt ego or some damaged pride, why the Hell is it so hard to answer honestly?
Why We Don’t Feel Comfortable Telling the Truth
Put yourself in this scenario:
Your friend seems upset. You ask if everything is okay and they tell you they’ve been feeling anxious over the past 6 months… and it’s only getting worse.
Sh*t, now what do you say? My guess is you encourage them to “talk to someone”, tell them something encouraging, and offer some advice that you’ve used in the past to get rid of anxiety. But what the Hell do you know? You’re no professional. So my guess is your one-time advice to your friend won’t change their life for the better.
And if you’ve ever been in a situation where you were the one unloading complex issues onto your friend, then you know firsthand their kind and encouraging words didn’t change your life.
So all that to say…
We don’t tell the truth because we assume people don’t know how to respond or their responses won’t actually help us. It’s like this, “even if I tell her/him that I feel like sh*t, what the Hell are they supposed to do?”So then the feedback loop begins.
So here’s my harsh but helpful advice: stop expecting your friends to know what to do.
Unless your friend is a psychoanalyst, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or some other mental health professional, they have no freaking idea what to say to you. So kind and encouraging words are all you’re going to get.
So take those nice words and then move on to the next step which will actually allow you to acquire the tools to find happiness and meaning:
Talk to a professional. Go see a doctor. Speak with a mentor.
Your life is in your hands
You have to be your own advocate. And that’s hard… I know.
Reason being: doing things are hard. Especially things that require deep thought, thick skin, empathy, and will… (you know, things like life).
But if you start practicing how “to do life” now, rather than faking happy feelings, you will acquire the tools needed to navigate through life.
Listen. I want to be very clear here. I am holding you responsible for your life.
And I know you don’t want to hear that but you have to believe me when I tell you it’s the truth.
I want to help you be a stronger person. I want to tell you there are professionals that can help you through your predicaments, there are trusted friends that can offer words of encouragement, and there are blogs that can motivate and give you actual tips on how to navigate through rock bottom. But ultimately, you are the one that needs to employ the tools; you are the one who needs do the yoga, practice the meditations, find a hobby, implement good self talk, exercise, eat healthy, etc. etc..
Just like a sport, without practice you won’t improve.
So in conclusion …
… take advantage of when a nice person wants to help you, and answer honestly.
Do the hardest thing there is to do and take responsibility for your own life.
And as always, Happy Monday.
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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional advice.