Like any other day, I asked my husband how he was. It’s a routine thing I don’t even think about much; it just unconsciously spills from my lips. I was expecting his normal response of “good” but instead I got an “okay”. It made me pause for a second, “not good? What happened?” I replied, expecting some bad news, “nothing I’m just tired of saying good when I don’t mean it. Everyone says they’re ‘good’ when asked as if we’re obligated to say it. But I don’t feel good, just okay”. I literally stood there with my mouth slung open, so surprised that my usually quiet husband was voicing an opinion I never knew he had. I realized in that 30-second conversation that he had hit upon something deep.
As adults we always seem to go about our days successfully hiding our struggles behind closed lip smiles and “I’m good, thanks” responses. I know I’m not alone in saying that when someone asks how I am, without even thinking I retort, “good”! Even when I’m far from feeling good.
Not a day later was I suffering from a painful infection that causes me to work from my couch, that my boss called to check in and when he asked how I was doing I quickly replied “much better!”. Heating pad on my stomach, gulping down antibiotics with tears streaming down from my face, an “much better!” response escaped my lips. When I hung up the phone I saw the disgusted look on my husbands face, “much better? You’re clearly not much better babe”. I sat there dumbfounded that I blatantly lied to my boss. My husband was right, I wasn’t better, I wasn’t good but I have been so trained to respond the way I did that I couldn’t stop the words from escaping my lips. This realization could not come at a more pivotal time in my life. I am not always doing good, in fact the past few months have honestly sucked.
So why do we choose to lie about our feelings? Why do we have such a hard time being honest? Are we worried that we will burden the other person with our problems? Do we fear that they don’t really care, that they just asked to be kind? Are we afraid to offend them if we’re not good? Whatever it is I’m am here to take a stand and say it’s ok to say you’re not ok. It’s ok to respond with “things have been better”, ” I’ve been having a rough week”, “I’m having a tough time” or just the simple “actually, I’m not ok”.
You’re human and sometimes being human totally sucks. You’re entitled to have bad days/months/years. We’ve all got our own battles we’re quietly fighting behind closed doors, we are blessed with the ability to feel and express so many emotions so let’s use it before we lose it. You’re a beautifully complicated creature and it’s totally a-ok by me if some days ‘good’ is just not in your vocabulary.