Have you ever lied and said you okay when you really weren’t?
If you say no, I don’t believe you.
We’ve all done it! (check out my Instagram post where we all fessed up)
How many times has an acquaintance asked “How are you?” and you answered “Fine.”
Yep, that counts.
We’ve been trained from a young age to hide our feelings, and now we do it often without thinking about it. In some situations, it makes sense. You’re not going to bare your soul to the cashier who asks how your days going (or maybe you will if you really need it). It is important to protect our hearts by sharing our feelings with people who will be understanding. However, this becomes problematic when we constantly hide our negative feelings because we are afraid to burden others or fear their judgment.
We’ve all been taught that negative feelings, crying, or showing signs of struggle are weak and should be hidden away. But we all experience these things, so we hide them and pretend like they don’t happen. Then, hiding away makes you feel alone and like there’s something wrong you for struggling. Then, you feel even worse, and the cycle continues.
So I’m here to tell you: you are not alone. We all cry. We all struggle. Someone else has felt exactly the way you’re feeling right now. And even if your friends and family have no idea what you’re going through, they can still be understanding.
Your feelings are not a burden. You should not hide your feelings in order to accommodate others. You are just as important as anyone else. Your feelings deserve to be heard.
Hiding your feelings doesn’t help anyone else, it only makes it harder for you.
How To Change It
This habit is hard to change. Like really hard. Say “I’m fine” is almost as instinctual as breathing for most of us at this point.
So, you don’t need to stop completely. You don’t need to tell your old high school teacher when you run into them at the grocery store that you just got fired or you can barely get out of bed in the morning. You don’t need to open up all the time. Just try it. Maybe even just once.
Start paying attention to how often people ask how you are and how often you say “I’m okay” without really meaning it. Notice when you push your feelings away and tell yourself, “not now”. Evaluate the situation. If it’s someone you feel like you could trust and you’re in a place to talk, maybe try opening up a little. Something like “You know, it’s been a bit of a struggle lately.” Even if you don’t open up about everything, just taking that little step will allow you to feel more support from others and will also help you accept your feelings. Bonus, your friend will probably feel so happy you shared because they’re likely struggling with something themselves and need someone to open up to as well.