We say this all the time – to our families, to our friends, to our bosses, to our lovers, to our doctors…
The majority of the time before we say “I’m okay”, we’ve actually pinpointed the exact word that we feel. Sometimes the word is helpless, exhausted, unsure, scared, nervous, depressed, or anxious. Sometimes, it’s not even a word. It’s just, “I don’t know”.
I’ve said, “I’m okay” on days that I’ve lost loved ones, days that I’ve failed horribly, days that I don’t feel good about myself or after breaking up with someone. I once told a surgeon I was okay while in the ER with a major blockage that could have killed me if I didn’t get there sooner.
Regardless of the truth, “I’m okay”, sounds so much better. I’ve asked myself why I believe this so many times, and realized there is one major reason as to why I do it: to avoid the onslaught emotion-cancelling opinions that follow after you say something other than “I’m okay”.
Have you ever said “I am not feeling well” to your parents, and they say “no, you look fine, you are just lazy and don’t want to go to school. Get up and go.”
Or if you told your gym partner you are feeling a little sick and they say, “no, you are just not motivated enough to be in the gym, get up and go!”
Or told a friend “I’m just feeling really under the weather”, and they just told you “get your head out of the clouds and live life. It’s awesome. We’ll go out and you will forget all of your feelings.”
Sometimes, you tell someone who has believes in something strongly that you are not feeling well, you are anxious or confused, and suddenly, they bombard you with spiritual wellness memes, or tell you to drink a special tea, focus on something else or they tell you that it’s because of the political turmoil in Uzbekistan, because people aren’t valuing Afros, because you voted for Stephen Harper or because Mercury is in Retrograde…
Don’t get me wrong, those are not bad reasons, opinions or solutions. As they say, “to each their own”. But people are sometimes so enamored with beliefs, opinions and solutions that they forget the one thing that people need to open up…
Dr. Venus Nicolino said it best in her YouTube video when she explained that we need to differentiate when people need to be held and when people need to be fed.
To be held:
Show that you are listening, show that you are there for them, show compassion, empathy, understanding. Ask questions to try to understand further. If it calls for it, physically holding someone, holding their hand or hugging someone helps.
To be fed:
Offer a solution, a suggestion, an opinion or a resolution to the problem without shoving it down their throat or force feeding them the idea.
Often times, when a friend is in need, we offer them a solution or enforce our beliefs or opinions on them as if they are incapable of coming to a solution themselves. We love them, and that is why we are giving them a solution right away! Though, we love our ideas and beliefs so much that we forget that other people have their own ideas and beliefs too – maybe they match ours, maybe not.
But we need to remember that we are human first before our beliefs. If we feed the person when it is not needed, we shut down that person. They clam up and it becomes harder for them to come to you and open up next time. They may just try to please you by doing what you are enforcing on them, or accepting what you say. You will see later however, that this can result in resentment and pain.
When you tell someone, “I’m not feeling well”, “I’m a little sick”, “I’m feeling under the weather”, or “I’m nervous”, you are not looking for the person you confide in to call you names, place faults, deny your feelings, or shove their beliefs down your throat. They may just want you to listen.
If they feel you won’t listen to them, they will simply tell you “I’m okay”…
We as humans slip up sometimes, but if we try to just respect others feelings and listen, we can do wonders.
❤ amanie // illfated