We say it all the time. It is a short sentence. Enjoyable. Confirmative. It allows us to move on to the next point in the conversation without dwelling on ourselves for too long. Without putting your finger in the sore.
The problem is that this is often not true. The problem is to pretend that everything is fine when everything is wrong.
When we say that we are fine or that everything is fine, but we are not, we are denying our emotions and experiences. Sometimes we say it without thinking too much, because it is an implicit social rule, a rule that forces us to pretend a positive attitude.
We say that we are fine because it is a social rule that we have learned from childhood, because we assume that when the other asks us how we are this is actually a question of courtesy, so we recite according to an "automatic script" that governs many of our social relationships.
In other cases we pretend that everything is fine to avoid conflicts. Sometimes expressing our true feelings or opinions, especially if we don't do it assertively, can make someone angry or even provoke an argument.
After all, we all want our social interactions to be as fluid as possible, we don't want to become a "difficult person" or put a burden on others with our worries and problems, so we prefer to hide that we are not well and keep the conversation at bay. internal of conventional channels.
Other times we pretend that we are okay simply because we feel uncomfortable recognizing that we are bad, because we are not used to freely expressing our internal states. If everyone says they're okay, we feel like a black sheep saying we're sick.
Pretending to have no problems or conflicts is a facade. It is an image that we wish to project to the rest of the world because we want them to think that everything is going well for us. We want to avoid embarrassment or judgment. It can also be a shield to avoid showing our vulnerability to the world.
People who grew up in an environment where they have been taught that emotions and problems are intimate things and should not be shared are more likely to repress them. It is also a common attitude in those who grew up in families where anger or sadness have no place.
Sometimes the reluctance to acknowledge that we are not well, even with the closest people, can come from the desire to convince ourselves that everything is really okay. Sometimes we deny our feelings and problems because they are too big, we don't know how to handle them and we try to ignore them, in the secret hope that they will disappear as if by magic.
If we recognize our problems in front of others, we force ourselves to face them and we recognize that we are not happy and that our lives are not as perfect as we would like or that we need help. In that context, the denial is understandable. Although it is not the long-term solution because the more we ignore the problems, the more they will grow.
In fact, a study conducted at the University of Arizona revealed that people who pretend to be comfortable with their colleagues end up feeling emotionally drained and less authentic in their relationships.
In other cases, that "I'm fine" does not respond to denial but to an attempt to protect us from painful feelings. Sometimes, when the problem is very big, we prefer to talk about it as little as possible to avoid the psychological discomfort that the activation of that situation generates. It usually happens, for example, when we lose a loved one, especially during the first few days. In those cases, denial is a defense mechanism we use to protect ourselves until we are ready to face the loss or problem.
If we have been denying and hiding our feelings and problems for years, it is not easy to begin now to peer into the mess that is beneath the surface. However, pretending to be happy and that everything is going well doesn't make a lot of sense as it ends up generating huge emotional drain.
Psychologists at Michigan State University, for example, have found that the more smiles we fake, the worse our mood will be at the end of the day and the more likely it is to be characterized by irritability, anger and sadness.
Sometimes we just have to give ourselves permission not to smile when we don't feel like it. Don't try to please everyone. Don't pressure us to look perfect. Authorize us not to feel good all the time. And express it. Ask for help if we need it. In fact, there are far more people willing to help us out than we can imagine.
When we are more authentic we can create stronger and more fulfilling relationships, truly connect.
But for this we must recognize that we are not well, that we are struggling, hurt, scared or angry. It is not about turning others into the reservoir of our pain and throwing a string of complaints at them, it is about expressing our feelings honestly.
The curious fact is that this change usually generates a snowball effect. When we show our vulnerability, others also feel free and are more likely to talk about their fears and problems. In fact, we're not the only ones saying it's okay when it's not. It's a habit. But this habit can be broken when we start thinking and acting differently. When we validate our feelings and needs. This will take a great burden off our shoulders and, over time, we will be able to deal with our problems much better.