We’ve all been there. We’ve all used this term and not really meant it. I am fine today (for real), but I am “fine” other days. “Fine”, the one word answer that can mean so many things…
“Fine” = I’m pissed, at something or someone, in that passive aggressive way
“Fine” = I give up/I’m too tired to fight/ I am exhausted of talking about this subject
“Fine” = I’m not really well, but I don’t want to share with you, so I will just pretend I am so you’ll stop asking me.
“Fine” = I’m not really ok, but I’m scared to share my true feelings with you because you may think less of me
Fine = I really am doing ok (at this moment)
I have a hard time communicating when I’m upset about something. I don’t like conflict, I never have and I certainly don’t like to cause it. I have always been the “peacemaker” and the appeaser. I also don’t like showing insecurity, unhappiness, and vulnerability to anyone other than my husband, certain family members and my very very very close friends. Sometimes I use “fine” because I don’t want to burden others. I’ve been very vocal in sharing my feelings about Delilah and her death, but other things are not as easy as sharing the love I had for her and the sorrow of her absence here with us in person. Sometimes it’s my job to make others uncomfortable, because the nature of the subject is uncomfortable, challenging others to think about what they say and do in wake of trauma, taking away a stigma from discussing infant loss with the public. I’m pretty certain that ignoring bad things don’t make them stop. “That’s sad, but It will never happen to me”, until it does. BUT, I digress. “Fine” applies to so much more than just one sad subject, though “fine” can certainly appear during times of struggle with it.
Sometimes people say they want you to be open and honest, but then when you are they don’t really want to hear it, or they will say or do something to completely invalidate your feelings or call it “complaining”. It’s not always malicious when they do so, but it is always damaging. We fear the follow up when we give the real answers. I believe that’s a big part of what perpetuates “fine”. So we have learned to bottle it up and hand out “fine” just as easy as we say “hi”. In some ways it feels like it has actually lost meaning. Sometimes, saying “I’m fine” is simply a denial. It’s us lying to convince ourselves that we are ok in wake of trauma, or not yet acknowledging that one has occurred or lying because everyone else expects us to be fine. But “Fine” doesn’t really bode well for anyone in the long run. It causes self-doubt and inner conflict. It damages relationships with those you love. It may get you through a moment, but that’s all.
SO here is your next challenge; Find one person who you know isn’t “fine” when they say they are, even if it’s yourself, and open the door to share. You can’t force them to, but you can give them the option. If they do, you may learn something valuable. Don’t say “fine” unless you actually mean it. If you are feeling sad, say “You know, I’m having kind of an off day”, or if it’s in response to an argument or anger at something/someone, voice your actual thoughts to what extent you can. “It really hurt me just now when this happened….” or “I am really struggling with…..” , etc. I’m not asking you to unload your biggest life challenges to complete strangers, but I am asking you to see through “fine”, and to move towards fine. There are many ways to accomplish these things, and it’s entirely up to the situational use of “fine” and who you are interacting with, but I think you get my point right? Ok, Fine.