How many times a day do people ask us, “How are you?” How many times a day do we just say, “I’m fine, how are you?”
There’s nothing really innately wrong with this tradition. We all do it, but is it the truth? I mean, sometimes, maybe things aren’t really all that good. Maybe the truth is…we’re really having a “shitay” day. Maybe even a really “shitay” day.
“Shitay” happens to us all. Good things happen to all of us, too, but are we just trying to be polite when we say we are “fine”? Are we afraid that if we tell people how we are really doing that they are not really interested in hearing the true answer? Unfortunately, it’s a fact that a lot of people don’t really care to hear the true answer. Sometimes, it is just an empty, polite thing to say. But, sometimes it is heartfelt. I believe it’s okay to tell our truth as long as it doesn’t become a dump session. That’s what therapists are for, not our friends. We also don’t have to tell everyone everything about everything…this would, and right quick, both get annoying and cause people to avoid us like the plague. But there can be balance. We can be discerning. There are choices.
I have a friend who, from time to time, calls me up and dumps on me. He’s lonely, he’s tired, he’s genuine and deserving and a good person but he’s not happy. He’s unhappy, even though, in reality, he has much more than most have. The truth is, he is empty. He tells me not to respond or offer any advice. The fact is that he really doesn’t want a solution; he just wants someone to tell all of his misery to, drawing energy to himself. I really do care about his feelings, but I’m not a therapist. I have learned, by going through some rough times of my own, that it’s not about “how” you are feeling; it’s all about “what” you are feeling. When we focus on how we are feeling, we are focusing on our pain and therefore keeping ourselves in the role of victim. When we focus on what we are feeling, then we become empowered survivors, even if we have been victimized.
Recently, I have developed my own standard response to the question, “How are you?” I tell people that I’m either in the middle of the “shitay,” or I’m in between the “shitay.” We’ve all had “shitay” happen in the past, and for those who have lived long enough to notice a trend, they know that more “shitay” is on the way. This seems to be the pattern of life. I don’t mean to make it all sound so bad. Why? Because it’s really not. It’s just the way it is. Life is good but “shitay” does happen to all of us. I only suggest that we appreciate, value, and enjoy the times when it’s not happening. And get a therapist if you need one, so you can start enjoying your friends!