You Don’t Have to Be Fine

you don't have to be fine

Inside: you are the expert on your life and walking through grief or trauma, or other hard seasons of life, is not a race. We do it in our own time, and our own way, and it’s OK to not be fine.

It’s OK to not be fine.

When someone asks the inevitable, rote, “how are you?” it’s OK to opt out.

When it feels like friends or acquaintances think you should be better now, over your grief, through the storm and dry and steady on the other side, it’s OK to remind yourself that there is no timeline for walking through grief or trauma.

If you have days in which you feel normal and capable and burst into tears at awkward moments, if one day you feel hopeful and strong and the next you want to stay in bed and sob. You’re OK.

And it’s OK to not be fine.

When you’ve worked really hard to be healthy – mind, body, spirit healthy – and people make you feel wrong or broken because you’ve never completely overcome or resolved your struggle, you’ve learned to “manage” vs 100% “heal”, it’s OK to remember that you are the expert on your life. And sometimes we speak from good intentions without realizing the arrogance in our stance.

In seasons of life that feel mostly lovely and all is well but you have a down day, you feel angry, sad, afraid… you can remember that telling the truth and being real is healthy; life is complex and messy. And relentless positivity can be one more way of hiding and numbing. You don’t have to always be fine.

But when you experience something joyful and good things come your way, it’s also OK to laugh and rejoice and share the news with people. Your success or delight does not diminish that of others and if we’re to really live we must also make room for joy.

And even when life is painful or challenging you’re allowed to say yes to those bright happy moments of laughter and pleasure that flit your way. It’s OK to open up wide and feel and taste and rest in the beautiful moments even though there is also suffering and heartache in your life or world.

Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful and worth living and one day you’ll feel good again even if right now you don’t feel fine.

But it’s also OK to not be fine today.

Krista xo.

NOW WHAT? You might like these resource pages I made for you–On Grief: Living Whole and Brave after Loss  and For Wholeness And Joy Your Mental Health Matters.

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10 comments on “You Don’t Have to Be Fine

  1. I am definitely not ok today. haven’t been all past week, and surely not today. But I journaled, and so may be this will help getting to “managing” my not-ok and never-be.

    • Hi Olga, have you identified a short list of other habits/practices (like journaling) that help you stay steady so you don’t spiral downward? For instance, for me, walking, getting enough sleep, eating green food, drinking water, using favorite essential oils, hugs… these don’t fix life but help keep me steady. xo

      • Yes, I am keeping steady with the routine. But there are times when grief overwhelms. Despite never falling off the routine. It just takes time to claw back. From outside nobody would have never known (that link was spot on in your post). Unless you’re my husband, of course, and then I have to ask him to stand back and give me time. And feel guilty about his feeling bad for me. A circle of emotions.

  2. What a relief to hear these words! I’ve never been a fan of “How are you?” as simply a greeting. If I ask someone how they are, I really mean it! And alot of people arent “fine”. So many times, a total stranger will open up (e.g. grocery store clerk, etc) & then look at me wide-eyed & say they are sorry for “dumping” on me or “saying too much”, etc. I love that because I thrive on people being real. My struggle now is giving myself that same compassion. That its okay that I’m not fine right now & not feel embarrased or sorry for it.
    Your writing resonates with me in a very big way. Thank you so much for putting yourself out there & inspiring & encouraging others. (Cant believe I just “put myself out there” by even commenting😅)

  3. Thank you. I have been “opting out” lately because the middle of grief is not (usually) a place to go deeper with a long-lost acquaintance, or expand my circle of friends. And sometimes it feels like they are prying (probably they are just wanting to help and really do care). But I say no. And thanks for offering if I can manage it.

  4. I wonder how people “opt out”? I understand the concept, but what kind of response do you give people if you want to be honest and also don’t want to share?

    • Thanks for asking that – here is what I do:
      If it feels comfortable I might deflect with a smile and possibly a question to steer the conversation another way. Often people don’t mind this because they only asked the question out of habit.
      Otherwise, I simply say “I’m opting out of that question these days.” Many local people have heard this from me over the past many months.
      Third, sometimes I look for something that feels authentic/honest – I might say something like “I’m happy to be here right now” or “I’m happy to see you.”
      Since authenticity/integrity is so important to me, these options, depending on the circumstance, help me feel I’m being honest but not unfriendly.

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