"I'm good, how are you?" (Or why we should stop lying to one another)
If you know me, I can be a bit of a talker...okay, I'll talk all day until you stop me. I'll even tell my whole life story with weeks of meeting you. Since I'm quite open about all aspects of my life, I'll eventually get to the bad parts if I think you're down to listen. But that's the thing, I have a very good sense of who I can share things with, so almost nobody knows how I truly am from day to day. I do have a few people very close to me and a therapist that know pretty much everything. I just wish it was socially acceptable to answer honestly. On the other side of it, we shouldn't be burdening others with our problems. Especially not a coworker that is an acquaintance at best.
That being said, I think we could all benefit greatly from being more open to listening to others. A lot of times a person struggling mentally or having a tough time just wants to get how they're feeling out. I know that it helps me quite a bit to just vent for a minute. Honestly, I get a similar feeling when I let somebody else go off for a bit and have them know that I was listening. In either situation, it's unlikely the person wants a solution, they just want to stop holding on to that thing so tightly. Instead of expecting "I'm good", we should accept answers like "Not great", "Alright", and "Struggling". That doesn't mean you need to take on their emotional baggage, but it does open the door to listen for just a couple of minutes. It could even help you put some of your own things into perspective.
I can't imagine I'm along in thinking that we're all lying to one another; not every day but a majority of the time. Not oversharing or bringing others down is the courteous thing to do. But in a world with steadily declining mental health, we owe it to one another to be honest and open as often as possible. We only get so much time on this earth, so don't waste it on throwaway interactions. If somebody asks you how you are, answer honestly. Maybe you are "good" but when you're not, say it. Stop living in the center. Whether you feel "FUCKING AMAZING" or "Alone and detached", feel free to answer that way. It's totally worth expressing how you're actually doing if it makes you feel even the tiniest bit better.
So...how are you today? Let me know in the comments.