How are you?
It’s a loaded question, though most people don’t expect more than ‘good’, ‘fine’, or ‘okay’. Sometimes you can get away with saying nothing at all, because they’re already halfway out the door by the time they’ve asked it. (Why ask something when you don’t want an answer? Surely it’s more polite to say a simple hello?)
When people ask me how I am, I generally say ‘okay’ out of habit. If it’s been a great day, I say ‘really good’, but ‘okay’ is my usual.
‘Okay’ means you can escape or you can elaborate. ‘Okay’ means either good or bad.
But the problem with ‘okay’ means I probably escape too many times without sitting down and facing the problem. Because I only really like facing problems when I’m strong enough to deal with them or if I feel like I can handle them. As soon as a problem comes along that I don’t want to deal with, I tend to just shut down and ignore it. That’s when ‘okay’ probably isn’t healthy.
I don’t know what the answer is to this. And I’ll probably keep saying ‘okay’ when people ask me how I am. But I think sometimes we have to know it’s okay to not be okay, and sometimes we need someone to tell us that.
We have to give ourselves permission to feel what we do. We can’t keep pushing it all down, because that doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it fester and build and that means the next time something happens we’ll be acting out of all the pain we’ve already pushed down.
If you need to cry, cry. If you need to laugh, laugh. Smile on your own walking down the street if you’re happy. Cry for two hours if you’re grieving. Be kind to yourself and don’t try to rush the process by waking up the next day and saying you’ve dealt with it. Sometimes feeling is a long process and you should let yourself feel for as long as you need.
I’m not suggesting you share your heart with the delivery man or the guy behind the counter or your dentist. But maybe think about why you say ‘Good’ when people ask you how you are.
Don’t be ashamed of something that’s a part of you. We were created to express emotion. We were created to feel. Don’t apologise for it.