I was having a particularly bad Friday. Things weren’t going my way; I was tired and the world was at odds with me in every direction; I was suffering from deep, paralyzing anxiety, and yet I found myself answering a peer’s question – “How are you?” – with “I’m fine.” Why?
Why is it so socially acceptable to lie about our mental state? Why is it that we’ve been taught to repress feelings?
Why are we so afraid of real?
I’ve been a wrestler my whole life. Challenging the status-quo of belief and wondering – asking questions – digging deeper – seeking out and discovering things for myself, not always taking no for an answer. And the social landscape through which we view and filter our feelings has always baffled me. I’m always scratching my head, off in the corner by myself and thought that it’s simply wrong. There is no way in heaven or hell or earth, land, and sky that everyone is doing just “fine.”
And are we okay with fine?
Sitting in a coffee-shop the other day with a friend, we discussed some of our deeper fears in life. One of the fears that we both had was that we were alone. It was an interesting fear, as we both have large social-circles, girlfriends, and families that are beyond loving. Yet we believed we were alone sometimes.
First off – that’s obviously a “lie” from the enemy that we are “alone” and alienated. And that we can’t partake in community.
But secondly – I think we’re to blame, as we’ve accepted the culture that says hiding your feelings is acceptable, the norm, and what you should pursue. And so I’ve had rough days and wanted to reach out to a close friend like him and I didn’t let myself because I thought it would be frowned upon, or worse – an inconvenience – I thought I’d disrupt his day.
Well newsflash, world! People have feelings and those feelings are going to disrupt your day sometimes. And my friend would have taken my call. And he would have let me cry or shout or worry, and then everything would have been just fine.
So why are we so afraid to make a wave? To drop our rock of feeling into the standstill pool of the world, afraid that it might disrupt the crystal-clear water of numbness.
You can be fine. You can be happy. You can be sad. But if you’re not fine, you’re not fine – and that’s fine. No – I mean, that’s alright.
Are you messy? I’m messy. Do you love hard and get hurt? Hey, me too. Do you give all you can and wonder if you’ll ever get back? Surprise! Me, as well. Do you dream and wonder and get confused? Is the world a surge of joy one day and a dark storm the next? Do you wonder where God is sometimes? Guess what? Me too.
So, how are you?
Keep it real.