Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Don't ask me that

I have this pet peeve that has become larger than my ability to keep quiet about it.  When I go to my bank I brace myself for the interaction that comes.  No, they aren't disrespectful.  On the contrary, they act as if they are interested and care.  "How are you today?" they ask.  And I bristle because I know that they really don't care.  And they expect my answer to be:  "I'm fine,"

I have become so aware of how people flippantly inquire about important things.  A friend recently described for me this incident.  While at church, she got in touch with a deep hurt and began to cry. The person next to her asked, "Are you okay?"  And my friend's response:  "Yes, I'm fine."

Now, I know that this person at least acknowledged her condition.  I've known people to totally ignore an emotional response.  And I know that my friend had the responsibility to be authentic in the moment. But, why ask, "are you okay?"  It's obvious she isn't.  In truth, that question holds the expectation that you be okay.  The message is, I acknowledged it, now be okay. We are conditioned to deny the emotional reality we live.

Have you said this: "I've had a bad day, I'm crying and upset."  Why is that a bad day?  Why is an authentic expression of engagement in the reality of life labeled as bad?

I flinch, no I more than flinch, I get frustrated with such disregard for the things of the heart.  Life is hard!  Life is often more than challenging.  If we deny ourselves the process of acknowledging our emotions and completing them, we end up depressed, anxious, resentful and bitter.  And if we, as a people continue to reinforce the stuffing of emotions, we contribute to this hurtful result.

I pity the next bank teller who asks me how I am.  He might get an earful!