How are you? “Fine”. We hear that answer far too often from people. Are they really fine? And it so, is that enough? The truth is I know what it is to be feelinig “Meh”.
Is “Fine” that much better than “Meh”?. And is feeling “Meh” the way you want to live your life? (I think we would most say NO).
I am over just being “Fine” of feeling “meh”. There is a path I am trying to stay on that keeps my life out of the waters of “Meh”. But for more than a decade this was where I allowed myself to wander. If someone asked my “how are you?”, I always came up with some answer that was maybe a little better than saying “Between Meh and Fine”, but that was how I felt. If I am being honest, few really ever asked me how I was doing outside of networking chit-chat.
Over the past three or four years I have decided to be observant of my life and my mood. Hiding my sadness, frustration, or depression was a skill I had mastered (as have so many). Self doubt had taken over, yet I worked hard to ensure that nobody really got to see that was where I was stuck. Yes, I was feeling “meh”, but I was not telling others.
A blog post is not the place to share details of my personal life, and I am not looking to point any fingers. Let me just say that I recently, through some self reflection work, discovered that words and actions of others (a long time ago) had taken root and derailed my usually happy self. I did not see it clearly at the time, or take stock along the way, but these negative impressions of myself that I there and it was undermining my ability to like myself and really feel the joy of the good parts of my life. Since my life was mostly pleasant, it was easy to mask this weight and I just went through the motions and convinced everyone, including myself, that I was “fine”.
Through reading some of the work of Dr. Margaret Rutherford about four years ago, I started down a path of no longer hiding my feeling MEH attitude. At least from myself. (Dr Rutherford has a new book called “Perfectly Hidden Depression” that you may want to read). While therapy would have been a good choice, I took to reading, journaling, and being honest with myself about thoughts I had allowed into my mind. Working with a counselor may have been a faster way to find myself, but either way, I am finally feeling better.
My newly found enjoyment of being in nature has brought me to some long hikes with time and solitude. I had more than one “ah ha” moment while sitting on a rock watching a river roll past. Most times I go hiking I start with a question in my head and look to see if I can find clarity to what had taken me off course. The road away from feeling “meh” was not easy, but I tried to find my way.
Most recently I remembered some of the work of legendary speaker Brian Tracy. He taught people the importance of liking themselves to be find success. As I looked back I clearly remembered a time when I really did like me. Why had that stopped? It took a few months but I then recognized many of the issues that had taken me off course. I immediately decided to change. I no longer would worry about what others said or did (especially things that were so long ago). I would look for reasons to like myself. I was very honest with myself. I took full responsibility and at the same time forgive others.
There was a lightening and brightness. Damn this was good. And long overdue. I began a process of stopping feeling MEH. I was getting myself back. I am still working on it, but dang it feels good to say goodbye to feeling MEH.
I do not need approval from anyone else to like myself. Everyone has their own issues and many project their problems to lighten their burden. Why should it be necessary for me to secretly feel the weight that was probably not meant with intentional harm. I choose to take on the pain, they did not drop it on me – as only I had the power to let it harm me. I was not strong enough to see what I did to myself by allowing it into my head.
In business and life we all have our own “Stuff” going on in the background and even those closest to us do not see how we are really feeling. If we do not communicate with them about what we need, we should not be angry when it turns out they are not clairvoyant. I secretly was hoping others would see my situation and rescue me.
There was no magic fairy dust that suddenly made me feel happy. But over a few years and knowing what I wanted, I have returned. I am at a point in my personal mood that I do not remember feeling in a long, long time. I feel happy. There is a confidence in my head that has not been present in more years than I care to admit. And while I think there are some issues I have not discovered, the 4 main pain points I had carried around are evaporating now that they are out in the light. By simply knowing what was holding me back I made progress forward.
I belong to a private business Facebook group (I wont say which one as I do not have permission to disclose) where the host regularly asks the people how they are doing (and “fine” is not allowed as an answer). These mental “Check Ins” are a good way to help people look at how the stresses of life are piling up on them.
Time for a mental health check-in!
Many of us struggle with depression or anxiety, and we shouldn’t have to do that alone or in shame.
Share how you’re doing below (Copied from another site – love this!):
❤ I’m doing great
💙 I’m okay
💛 I’m Meh
💚 Things are tough, I’m struggling
💜 I’m having a hard time & wouldn’t mind if someone reached out to me.
🖤 I’m in a really dark place
Let’s check up on one another and be a shoulder to those who need one!
This is a wonderful exercise and people often respond with a variety of answers, including the ones where they need real help (and people step up). While I never answered this message with my own feelings, even when I was in a difficult place, it always resonates and gives me hope. I have come to learn that we live too superficially with most of the people we encounter and humans need more than that. We need connection and community.
My goal is to keep working past being “Fine” or feeling “meh. There is a vision to strive for a life filled with the joys that have been here all along. I know there will be bad days and unfortunate situations. Yet recently even the BS has not been that bad, as I am aware of the spectrum of “feelings” and the bad ones are no longer going to hold me back.
Apparently I had carved out the middle tier of feelings as my resting place and took pleasure in not feeling worse. This was not right.
We all have our own issues, and I am not a therapist. But I am on a journey, and I do not think I am the only one. I wish you well if you see yourself in the above post.