Are you always honest about how you feel? Do you always let someone know when you are hurt – by their actions, words, or lack of action? Do you always give an honest answer when someone asks how you are feeling? Far too often I did not tell the truth. Far too often, I was fine.
I’m fine, it doesn’t matter that you cheated on me and made it seem like it was my fault. Maybe it was.
I’m fine, it is alright that you divorced my mother and that you were always fighting. I think she might have earned it.
I’m fine, it is okay that you divorced my father and told me every single thing he did to you. Maybe I should hate him, too?
I’m fine, you don’t have to show up when we have made plans. I probably didn’t want to go anyways.
When contemplating on my level of honesty, I always like to think that I am brutally honest. Raw to the bone, not afraid to tell you my truth. But then it started to dawn – maybe my truth is not always as honest as I would like to believe?
I am a strong believer of taking responsibility for your own life. I am the creator of this reality, I can not blame anyone else for making me feel miserable, sad or unwanted. If anyone is hurting me, on purpose or not, it is still up to me how I cope with this and how it makes me feel. I can identify with the pain, or just let it slide.
In the passing of years, I developed a coping mechanism, which seemed waterproof to me. If something unpleasant happened, because of someone else’s actions I always tried to see it from their perspective. By seeing it from their point of view, I often could develop an understanding of why things happened and I could also feel empathy for the one hurting me. I would not only take responsibility for my own actions and feelings, I would also take up on the responsibility of how the other was treating me – which. in hindsight, is not mine to take.
The dictionary says that empathy is ‘the identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings and motives’. I do not only identify with the other person, I sometimes feel like I become the other person. This is a dangerous game to play, for instead of putting my own needs before theirs – their needs now sort of become mine in a twisted way. And when their need is to not feel bad about anything I do, I may feel bad for making them feel bad for hurting me.
Young children with divorced parents often think they are to blame for the fight between mummy and daddy. This is heartbreaking to me, because I see the innocence in children and no one in their right mind would blame them for something they did not have any responsibility for. But then again, when I was at a very young age, I did not understand this, and I might even have felt that I was the one to blame for everything that went wrong – always. By taking the blame, you don’t want to cause even more problems. Thus, when you are asked how you are doing the best answer is ‘I’m fine’.
But, the truth is, I am not fine. Not always. No one is. And they who think they are, should start questioning themselves.
It’s not fine that you slept around without taking me into consideration. I trusted you. You broke my heart.
It’s not fine that I experienced all the fights between you and my mother. You are my father and by treating my mother this way you have showed a little girl that this is how men treat woman.
It’s not fine that I heard about all the things that happened between the two of you. Little girls are easily influenced, they deserve the chance to love their dad even if you do not love him anymore.
It’s not fine that you cancel on me when I count on you. It does matter, even if you think I do not care.
Not blaming anyone in your life for your life is responsible. Recognizing your own (often dysfunctional) coping mechanisms and then change them into more functional behavior is very valuable. Being able to claim your own emotions and be brutally honest about your well-being is bold.
I honor those who are able to take full responsibility for themselves, for their behavior and their emotions. I honor myself, for trying. I honor myself, for setting up boundaries and giving back the responsibility to those who it belongs to, in order to have space to take responsibility for myself. I honor myself, for standing in my truth.
What would you answer, when I ask you how you feel?