How are you? Fine..? Really..?

Today I’m feeling a bit sad. It’s been a tough month, personally, for various reasons and coupled with a fall down the stairs that caused a bigger injury than I originally thought, it’s meant I’ve been forced to take a big step back. I need to rest a lot, which of course means doing a lot less than usual.

Generally I’m not too bad at taking breaks, and I’ve become better over the years at making a little time for myself on a (fairly!) regular basis but it’s usually a short break, not an extended period of inactivity (and I am literally not very active as I can’t walk or stand for long at the moment).

Despite all this, I keep telling people I’m fine. We all do it…

“How are you?”
“I’m fine.”

Really, though..? Are you? Of course, in some situations this response is appropriate – no doubt the supermarket cashier would be taken aback if we got too real while picking up the weekly shop (although you might be surprised, when I worked in a supermarket those occasional real conversations made the day go a lot faster!) – in others we could try a more honest approach. Close friends can offer real support when we need it most, but only if we tell them we need it (a few of mine won’t let me get away with that ‘I’m fine’ BS and I love them for it)… and more importantly, we need to be honest with ourselves.

How are you_

Saying ‘I’m fine’, and practising gratitude is all well and good. I know things could be a lot worse and I have so much to be thankful for. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel a bit sad should circumstances warrant it. How often have you buried feeling of sadness because you felt the situation wasn’t bad enough to feel that way..? Did it not simply return, slightly heavier than before..?

Sometimes, the only way to get through a tough time is to accept it for what it is and how it makes you feel, knowing that these feelings will eventually pass. We need to allow the feelings to pass through though, before we can honestly embrace the positive platitudes it would have been easy to post today, rather than this slightly uncomfortable truth.

So… With all this in mind, how are you today, really? Do share your honest thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to connect with the real you.

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6 thoughts on “How are you? Fine..? Really..?

  1. So sorry to hear you have had a fall and a bad month. I hope you are resting up. I dislike the ‘fine’ culture. I don’t think it helps anyone. First step to moving out of where we are is to admit. Feel better soon! x

    • Thanks Steph, I thought you might like – you always write with such honesty yourself and I love every blog. I’m sorry to hear you’re paying a price today (just read your latest post) and I wish more better days for you again soon. I don’t need to tell you this but you know you never need to pretend to me that you’re fine when you’re not! Thanks for comment and wishes. x

  2. I’d noticed you’d been quiet recently and I kept thinking ‘I must message Rachael’ to see if you were ok, but, as you can I see I hadn’t done yet. Sorry. And sorry to hear you’ve had a tough time of it recently. I absolutely think that as much as dwelling on bad stuff and thinking negatively is not a good cycle to get into, we can’t dismiss our feelings either – as you say, they’re highly likely to resurface anyway. We need to face them to move on I think. So, how have I been lately? in the interests of honesty… fine BUT more emotionally vulnerable than normal. I finally gave up breastfeeding (thought I’d feed him for a year… kept on for an extra two!) and I think my hormones might be a bit all over the place. Spent a day last week wanting to cry for no apparent reason and in general I’ve been feeling like I have no (or less) personal armour (if that makes sense) so things upset me when they normally wouldn’t. So there you are. Coming to London next month for the book fair – would LOVE to see you again! Hope you’re feeling better soon, physically and emotionally. xxx

    • Hey Maddy, thanks for your comment and concern… I will be fine, I know. I just needed to face the feelings so they can pass, rather than pretend they’re not there while they linger on in the background… As for you feeling vulnerable – of course you are! Giving up breastfeeding is a big deal, especially if it’s something you’ve enjoyed – it can feel like it’s lessening the bond between you (it’s not but it can feel that way) and aside from that emotional aspect, you’re losing regular doses of that happy hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is a powerful antidepressant as well as being a bonding hormone so you’re bound to feel it’s loss at first. I remember the feeling well. Sounds like we both need to accept, and allow the current feelings to pass just now. 🙂

      As for seeing you again, would love to! Let me know dates and I’ll see how mobile and available I am by then. x

  3. Hi! So glad found you (browsed through your site- looks lovely) been off twitter and old blog for a while (ok long time now) as needed some space- i am sorry to hear about your fall and understand when just want to say im fine instead of how really feeling- hugs and hope for a speedy recovery! (itsjennythewren) xxx

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