Are you fine?
Over the course of 2020 I have heard these two words at least a hundred times over - I'm fine.!?.
This phrase seems to be used by everyone and there is no group of people or scenario that triggers this phrase, specifically. It seems to be universal in any setting and universal when speaking to anyone from family, friends, colleagues and clients, alike.
For me, this has been a really challenging phrase to work with this year, both in terms of how I communicate and in how I read other’s communication. Particularly as our communications have moved to a digital medium, further removing us from the face-to-face contact and body language we are so use to reading. As a Life Purpose Coach, I am needing more and more to ask for clarification before coming to a deeper understanding of what I hear.
What I realised is that for me, “I’m fine” means a number of different things depending on the context or the situation I am dealing with. In my ‘world’ I am totally clear about what “I’m fine” means, when I use it. With this, I am then expecting those around me to understand exactly what I mean! It's occurred to me this year, however, that those around me may not! Unsurprisingly some of the responses I’ve received have left me baffled, confused, and certainly not leading to the outcome I expected. For this reason, I have needed to review the phrase “I’m fine”, understand what it means to me and find other ways to express myself.
This is a list of what “I’m fine means to me:
1. “I’m fine” can mean simply “I’m fine, full stop.”. As in, I’m doing OK and I’m happy in my skin and space.
2. “I’m fine” can also mean “I’m fine!”, as in I’m OK and managing, thank you. I’m not ready to let you in, at the moment.
3. On the other hand, “I’m fine?”, can also mean, I’m not sure if I’m OK and I don’t know if I want to let you in, right now.
4. However, “I’m fine, ….”, which means I’m not fine and I would love a catch up.
I’ve realised that spoken out aloud, “I’m fine” sounds the same, whatever message I intend to convey.
So, it’s no wonder that those around me have no idea what I really mean when I say “I’m fine” and simply interpret my words in their terms (usually “I’m fine, full stop.”).
What does “I’m fine” mean for you OR what other phrases do you use to express your feelings and what does that phrase mean for you?
In my opinion, the first lockdown was slightly easier to manage and cope with (slightly!), as the situation was completely new, an event that we had never been through on this scale before. This time round, we know what’s coming and may or may not find this second lockdown manageable. Now more than ever, we need to pull together, carefully listening to each other and picking up one another's queues. We also need to ensure that we offer support in ways that the other person needs, maintaining dignity and respect, at all times.
I ask you all to listen carefully and respond when and in a manner necessary.
I'm happy to offer a telephone call to anyone who would like to talk or need support, please contact me on 07704 715229 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org .