It’s one of the most well-fabricated lie that not only you buy into, but also sell to others.
That’s your default statement when someone superficially (or even sincerely) asks how you’re doing.
“I’m fine,” you say.
It’s not because you are the kind of texture that is opposite to rough—as the word “fine” denotes. It’s because you don’t want others to know how rough your day has been. Or how roughly imperfect your life is. So you say,
I’m fine. Embedded in this two-word sentence is an infinite unspoken sentiments you don’t want others to know. Sometimes you say “I’m fine,” just to stop the person from asking how well you’re doing because the truth is, you’re NOT doing “well” at all. So you say, “I’m fine” even though inside you’re hurting. You say you’re “fine” even though you’re dying to be heard what’s bothering you. You’re “fine” because no one cares enough to know what is not making you fine at all.
When you actually mean is…
“I’m having more troubles that I can handle, and my life is a mess. I don’t know what to do. I’m devastated. But there’s nothing you can do to help me or stop the pain. There’s nothing more you can do or say except to ask if “everything’s fine.” I’ll save you the trouble of asking. Stop you from even going to the worry-zone. That is, if you actually are worrying. I don’t want you to think I’m weak or weird. I want you to picture me as someone who is “cool” and “strong.” I want to imprint in your tiny little head that I am the kind of person who has it altogether. That I don’t need your help. That I don’t need your sympathy because no one is really truly sympathetic. Sympathy is a human error—apathy is what we are best at. So I’ll let you foolishly think that I have everything under control when in fact panic overwhelms me and it has ME under control. You don’t need to see this side of me that is crumbling into pieces because I’m SO.NOT.FINE. Besides, I don’t really see that sincerity in your eyes to say that you’re even interested in my hell of a life when you ask me how I’m doing. And even IF you are interested—I said, IF—I don’t want to drag you into my Calvary because I know you have a Calvary of your own that’s dragging you way down. You have enough problems to solve yourself. So trying to fix me is like a withered-winged bird trying to help a drowning fish. I want you to have that idea of me as a person who is his/her own man. Or woman. I don’t need you to be troubled by MY troubles and anxieties. And do not even think for one second that you can just crush this great big wall I’ve painstakingly built around me. So I won’t tell you what’s killing me inside. I’ll just leave you a simple answer that would suffice your attempt to make a conversation and make you feel you don’t suck at it. We both just want one thing anyway—to get these pleasantries over with. And probably get past each other’s expectation of ‘small talk.’ So we can move forward and talk about things that really matter—like, the weather. But never ever dare to make personal inquiries about me and what’s gripping my heart at every beat. And yeah, this IS my way of saying…
I’m fine. How about you?