How Are You…Really?

How Are You...Really

By Kate Kole

I’ve noticed a trend in talking with others recently. Not with anyone in particular or specifically from my mouth or theirs. It’s just been a common theme, seemingly weaving its way across conversations.

It usually starts with a question of how things are going or what’s new. And abiding that some form of the answers “fine” and “nothing really” aren’t habitually given, a real life response often follows.

One that includes the job that’s going well, but is stressful. Or the family that’s healthy but busy and sleep deprived. Or the day to day shuffle that’s moving along okay but feels a little mundane, like maybe something is missing.

Whenever the comments of stress, sleep deprivation, and monotony are mentioned, an apology regularly follows.

Sorry for being such a Debbie Downer. Or, not to be a Negative Nancy. Or, I know I shouldn’t complain when I have so much to be grateful for.”

And I get it. Few of us want to be the party pooper that deflates an otherwise uplifting conversation. I’ve felt bad on numerous occasions for shifting the energy of a phone call or the mood of an evening. I’ve sent shame-filled follow up texts to say, thanks for listening, I’ll try not to be in such a bad mood next time we talk. Or, I didn’t mean to vent like that. How much do I owe you for the session? (Embarrassed) lol. Enter facepalm emoji.

And I’ve been on the other end of those types of comments too. Where the people I care so much about will apologize for what they said and promise to turn it around when we catch up again.

To be honest, that’s the reason this common thread even became apparent in my mind in the first place. Because I’m always a bit taken aback and baffled when someone says sorry for expressing how they’re feeling and revealing what they’re going through. I find myself instantly shaking my head and saying I’m glad they shared. And I understand. Or maybe I can’t fully understand, because I’ve never gone through it, but I’m there for them. I want to help in any way I can. Even if that sometimes means just listening.

Because, sometimes, that’s all we need. Somebody who will listen. Who will say, I’m here to stay. You’ve got me.

We’ve got to be able to keep it real with each other. To share when things aren’t perfect. When life hurts. When the road feels uncomfortable and uncertain. In the midst of spreading our joys, and sometimes even in the same sentence, we have to be able to speak our hardships aloud, too. We need to be able to admit that our feelings are often mixed. Bittersweet. Both happy and sad. Sometimes neither. We deserve to be ourselves. To come as we are. To share with the kind of honesty that feels bold, courageous, and without reservation.

Because we need one another. In the good times. And bad times. And in between times. And yet, we can’t connect if we don’t authentically show up in the first place. We can’t comfort one another when we don’t truly know what’s going on. And we can’t call to check in on things when we have no idea what’s actually up.

Let’s stop apologizing for speaking our truth. Let’s accept and embrace the fact that life isn’t always clean lines and pretty pictures. Sometimes it’s complicated and tough to understand. And the most beautiful part about it is that we don’t have to face it by ourselves.

Today, I’m content and still a little restless. I’m trying to live in the moment and I keep thinking about the future. I know I need to shower and I can’t convince myself to wash my hair. How about you?

{featured image via pexels}

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