By Ryne Hambright
We always present our best selves – or at least what we think is the best version of ourselves. This isn’t anything new and it’s certainly not a new realization. But it is that undeniable truth we seem to never talk about. And even with all of the ways that I love it, let’s be honest, social media has only taken any progress we might have made and flushed it down the toilet. No one posts a picture of them crying on Instagram and no one tweets about the fact that they’re hanging by a thread. Why is that? Why do we have to be so put together when we’re clearly creatures of chaos? We mess things up. We break things. And for some reason we all pretend like we don’t know it.
I think most of the time the most selfish thing you can ask someone is ‘how are you?’ I understand how counterintuitive that sounds but bear with me here. 99% of the time we ask that question for a few different reasons: 1. Because it’s cordial. 2. Because we know we should ask and 3. Because we have nothing else to ask and know this is one of the most surface questions we can pose. Because let’s be honest we don’t REALLY care how someone is. If you don’t believe me try it. Genuinely answer that question next time you get it and see how quick the person finds a way to duck out of the conversation or worse stays around with nothing to say.
We’ve put being cordial over being honest. We’ve put pleasantries over reality. We need to stop. Not just for ourselves, but for those around us who really are experiencing loneliness, or depression or whatever we don’t classify as ‘good.’ We do ourselves a disservice by not admitting the truth. And we do others a disservice when we choose a quick answer that only alienates them more. We think it moves the conversation forward while it truly forces it two steps back. And we can’t have that. We only believe in forward motion. But sometimes the only way out is in, and sometimes the only way over is through.
When people think that they are the outlier, the exception, the only one going through something they will never find the peace that can come in the ability to confide in someone. They will never find true community, and isn’t that what this is all about anyway? Loving one another and helping each other when we can’t help ourselves?
So take a deep breath, don’t put on a smile and speak with truth and conviction.
Be not okay. And have that be okay.