I’m fine. No, really. I’m fine.
How often do you find yourself using this phrase? Maybe you are fine. Or maybe you’re in denial. Maybe you’re avoiding something. Or maybe it’s something else entirely but you most definitely are NOT fine.
Suffering in silence is nothing new. However, the pandemic necessitated isolation and social distancing and brought attention to just how many of us use “I’m Fine” to mask our true feelings or suffering.
“Many people have become so skilled at self-protection they may not even realize they are suffering,” said Dug Y. Lee Lebel, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., Give an Hour provider and founder of Creative Psychology with Dr. Dug. “We can often look to our closest relationships as a sort of litmus test and if those relationships are suffering or if we are feeling distant from loved ones, that may be an indication we are not fine.”
We know that being “fine” isn’t healthy and suffering alone or in silence isn’t good either. It doesn’t identify or address what’s really going on or why you are having a difficult time. So Give an Hour introduced the Signs of Silent Suffering in an effort to shed a little light on how to recognize in yourself (or others) when something may be amiss. This is a companion resource to the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering and the Healthy Habits of Emotional Well-Being.
But what happens when there are no outward signs someone is having a hard time and may need help? How do you follow through and offer help to someone?
“If you would like to encourage someone else to take off their “I’m Fine” mask, an effective way to do so is to take off your own,” said Lebel. “Once transparency is part of the culture of your relationship, the door is open to mutual vulnerability.”
No one lives a perfect or “gram-worthy” life and the sooner we rid ourselves of the stigma associated with mental health and emotional wellness the better and the time to start is now.
Watch last week’s webinar, “The Masks We Wear: “I’m Fine” – How Shielding Ourselves and Others from True Feelings Prevents True Healing,” to hear from participants who shared personal experiences of masking their true emotional states with the words “I’m fine.”