Health & FitnessHow do you respond to someone who asks if you’re ok when...

How do you respond to someone who asks if you’re ok when you’re not okay

In any relationship, people tend to ask ‘How are you?’ Is a question we are often asked and it’s usually a conversation starter that is so commonly asked that we just automatically respond with an ok or fine without even thinking about it or saying how we actually feel.

That’s perfectly ok too but sometimes it’s good to say you’re not okay and not have to put up a front all the time. Most of the time if the question is posed as a pleasantry than it’s ok to say you’re fine when you’re not but if someone is really inquiring into your well being you may consider how you’d like to respond.

Trauma therapist and founder of The Cognitive Counter Simone Saunders says it is challenging to decide how to respond at times.

Clinical psychologist Tracy Dalgleish PhD, says that this is because we are socialized from a young age to believe that vulnerability is a sign of weakness.

Relationship: Expressing your feelings

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As terrifying as it may seem to express your feelings, one benefit is that talking about what you’re going through helps you process and understand your feelings. Bottling it up is a recipe for stress, burnout, depression and anxiety. This is not good for any relationship, hence we must be more open.

“I use the analogy of a boiling pot of water. You need to take the lid off to let out the steam over time. Otherwise, the pot boils off. When we hold how we are actually doing inside, we are more likely to struggle,” said Dr Dalgleish.

Saunders said that these disclosures also help our internal experiences and helps us to regulate our nervous system. She also cautions against dumping and venting on others as opposed to sharing and being vulnerable.

How to respond

First thinks about what you’re looking for, is it advice, a listening ear or do you just need to express yourself? Saunders says this will help you decide how much you want to share or how vulnerable you want to be.

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She suggests starting with something like, “I want to share something, but I just need a listening ear or I’m struggling with X and really need some solutions.”

Consider how safe it is

Choose who you confide in. Make sure the person is trustworthy. Also think about how they have responded to your vulnerability in the past. Dr Dalgleish says that if a person has criticized you or dismissed your feelings in the past, it’s a good idea not to share anything with them at all.

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The photo above is from Wikihow

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