I hope you had a good week, and that good things are happening. School is almost out, if you’re in school, always a glorious moment, waiting for freedom all summer. Or if you have school age kids, lots to plan to keep them busy all summer!! And hopefully lots of fun things to look forward to!!!
I had a funny experience recently, a conversation with a friend, which made me think about how we react to some of the unpleasant things that happen to us. Good manners and pride lead us to minimize some of the really yucky stuff we go through, and the people around us minimize it too, perhaps to make us feel better about it, or maybe they don’t know what else to say. There is some good in that theory, because we can’t sit around moaning all the time. But you fall flat on your face (or on your hands and knees) on the sidewalk, and with bleeding knees, embarrassed beyond belief, with torn stockings, and seeing stars, you assure everyone of how “fine” you are….no, really, it’s nothing…I’m fine. Really?? When you feel like you’re about to throw up and want to crawl into a hole and put yourself back together without 14 strangers staring at you??? Your boyfriend dumps you, or you break up mutually, and everyone assures you that you’re better off, and you’ll find a MUCH better guy in no time, and it’s a blessing in disguise. (As one of my friends says, I’m looking for a blessing that’s NOT in disguise!!). You get divorced, and your heart feels like it’s in a million pieces, or you lose someone you love some other way, and you assure everyone you’re fine—because it’s too embarrassing or painful to admit that you’re sitting at home crying every night, for a while anyway, and feel like your world will never be the same again. And every one will tell you that it’s better sooner than later, and a great thing that you didn’t lose more time (possibly true, but a miserable experience nonetheless). You lose a job, and again everyone says you’ll find a much better one that uses all your hidden talents, and once again we say we’re fine—-while you’re really thinking, how the hell am I going to pay the mortgage, or the rent, and feed the kids? Dignity induces us to assure the world and ourselves that we’re “fine”, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. Because the world doesn’t come to an end, or shouldn’t, every time something bad happens, and hopefully something good will happen after that. And after the storm, the sun does come out again, and that’s a good thing to remember. But most, or many of us, rarely admit how really shaken up we are by the bad stuff, or how upset we were
I had two unpleasant experiences recently, I was let down by people I trusted profoundly. And the other was an upsetting, unnerving experience that really upset me. And in both situations, I dealt with them sensibly, and calmly, and worked hard at appearing un-upset by it, although I was. I shared both experiences with a friend recently, in a very matter of fact way, not wanting to make a big deal of it (and seem like a whiner or a sissy), and she looked at me in amazement and said “Oh my God, that’s HORRIBLE!!!!” She totally ‘got’ how upset I was, maybe even more than I did. And all of a sudden, it felt okay to admit it, and acknowledge it, and not just try to be ‘grown up’ and polite about it. (I come from a very uptight European background, where you just don’t admit how upset you are, and you deal with it quietly and politely). My friend looked at me and said “that SUCKS”, and I had to laugh….because it did suck, and it was horrible, and all of a sudden I didn’t need to reassure everyone that it was really okay, and I was “fine’. I am fine, but I was damn upset for a while. And sometimes that’s okay. We don’t ALWAYS have to be polite and tell the people closest to us that we’re fine, and what they did wasn’t really so awful. It was liberating to hear her validate my feelings and the experiences….. She was absolutely right, it sucked!!! Sometimes things that happen are horrible, and it’s okay to say that. And hearing someone I respect say that made me feel so much better. So my conclusion is that we don’t always have to say we’re “Fine” if we’re not. (And maybe the people who upset us should know how much they upset us, and be accountable for it). It’s okay not to be fine sometimes. And I suspect that admitting it when things are lousy, even if for a moment, helps us to be really fine in the end, and maybe a lot faster, if we say “this sucks” instead of “I’m fine”!!! It was an interesting insight for me!!!