“I’m good” or “I’m tired” tend to be my two go to answers when someone asks how I am. Sound familiar? It makes me wonder why we do this. What is the story that we are telling ourselves? I’ve definitely had the thought of “they aren’t actually interested in how I am, they’re just being polite” or “they can’t handle my honesty, I’m too much.” Ever had those thoughts?
And yet. Is this not how we connect with others? Show up and allow ourselves to feel seen and heard?
One of the downsides to being in this field is that when you have friends who are also therapists, they tend to see through your facade. We are a field of humans who, for the most part, care deeply about what lies below the surface. We’re all here because it makes us feel more alive. And we want our depths to be known and walk with those on their own journeys. Therefore, when we respond with “I’m good” or “I’m tired” you usually get a wary expression tossed back at you that reflects how you’re actually feeling. One that says “I’m struggling too.” And just like that we realize, we aren’t actually “good” but in fact we are wary, we are melancholy, we are lonely and/or content.
We are many things all at once if we allow ourselves to arrive home within ourselves. And is this not the crux of being human? That we are complex. We are light and dark, capable of atrocities and also great healing.
Therefore, is it sharing and expressing how we are feeling that is the challenge, or is it the knowing of how we are feeling? Is it harder to connect with others or ourselves? To see ourselves in all of our beautiful fragmented glory is to honor the most denied parts of ourselves.
So here’s a “pro” tip: Sit with yourself this morning. Maybe it’s on the porch with coffee, maybe on the couch with a journal, or maybe it’s in the car with the doors locked to 20 minutes while your partner watches the kids (hi quarantined parents, I see you!) and just listen to your body. What do you notice? Is there tension? Tightness? Do you feel your fingers tingling? What do you think these sensations are trying to tell you? Perhaps that you are stressed, tired, lonely, or sad. Perhaps that there are tears that need to be shed.
Then I want you to ask yourself, why are you denying that these sensations are present for you? Are you not allowed to be human? Can you not be both amazing at your job and stressed out? Who will you be letting down if you honor your body with what it needs?
And then ask yourself, do I want to be a guide or a martyr?
Guides show us the way by heading the direction within which they want us to follow. They must go first and lead the way. They can stumble and fall and all the while, whomever is following, is learning from their example. I encourage you to extend enough grace to yourself to be an imperfect guide, leading others while forging ahead. Honor your being when asked how you are feeling today. You’re worthy of being seen, especially by you.
Wishing you lots of sunshine on your journey,