I hope you all had a relaxing and restful weekend!
Ok so, I love going to the dentist. Seriously. It’s not so much the process of the metal ‘plaque attack’ tools in my mouth or the awkwardness of my incredibly good looking dentist poking and prodding in my mouth while I’m trying to still look somewhat feminine… It’s the feeling I get after the cleaning is done. A little bit of discomfort, a little bit of fear of the C word, but the reward of running my teeth across my smooth pearly whites and flashing my luminescent smile afterwards brings me a lot of joy… Not to mention my dental hygienist is the best.
Last Monday, I walked into the office for my routine cleaning, my hygienist asked me how I was doing. The usual answer came out, “I’m doing well! How are you?” She said (in her twangy southern accent), “Oh Honey, I am doing just fine!” Then she let out a giggle. She said, “Have you ever heard what F.I.N.E actually stands for?
F: Fed Up (She said another “F” word can be used here.. But I’ll be PC for a moment)
Maybe I should think before I say I am doing ‘just fine’ again!!” (Doesn’t she sound great?!)
Just a few minutes later, with my mouth gaping open, I was all ears. I found out the real deal… I began understanding just what was F.I.N.E, according to her acronym, in her life.
Flash forward to a few hours later, a coaching client walks into my office… “How are you doing?” I asked. Her response: “Oh I’m doing just fine.” Cue opening my ears again (this time with my mouth closed) and allowing the space for vulnerability, honesty, and compassionate conversation. Suddenly, emotion was flowing yet again with how she was actually feeling. And in truth, it wasn’t the Merriam Webster definition of “Fine.”
According to Merriam Webster:
Fine (adverb): in a satisfactory or pleasing manner; very well.
““And how’s the job-hunting going?” “Oh, fine.”
How many times have you been asked how you’re doing and you respond with a common pleasantry such as, “I’m doing just fine!” Or even worse you hear a straight up white lie come out of your mouth like, “Oh yea everything is going great over here!” Meanwhile strong emotions are bubbling up under the surface.
As I mentioned in my first newsletter, we have the power to choose our thoughts and choose what we subscribe to. Allowing ourselves to be completely consumed and paralyzed by our emotions for long periods of time doesn’t allow progress forward. With that being said, stuffing down what we’re actually feeling doesn’t solve the problem either. I’ve heard it said over and over again, the best way to deal with our emotions is to go through them. Much like a visit to the dentist, it’s uncomfortable, it doesn’t feel pleasant, we might be fearful of how we look to others. But it allows us to process and understand what we’re feeling, gain clarity and insight, and then move forward. Stuffing our emotions deep down dims our light, hurts our creativity, and eventually leads to dis-ease in the body.
Now I’m also not saying that you should be pouring your story out to strangers on the street. My hygienist feels comfortable talking to me because we’ve established that relationship over the years. My coaching clients know that when they enter my office, it’s a safe, supported, and loving environment to be vulnerable and honest. To be transparent with all of you, being open about my emotions with friends or family was something I struggled with for a long time.
It went something like this:
Emotions are stirring and building
I crack. I open up about my emotions
I allow myself to be vulnerable
OH NO. They saw me. I’m not perfect. OH MY GOSH THEY KNOW I’M NOT PERFECT!!
**Panic and embarrassment set in, flee the scene, put up the facade again**
Yea, umm I don’t know what that was I must be PMSing or something, I can’t believe I got that upset, I don’t ever have emotions like that… That’s so weird…
The emotional pot starts simmering and bubbling up again…
I’m a recovering stuffer-downer and “tough gal” type. I would be honest about my feelings and then try to puff myself up to seem like I was invincible and above feeling. It wasn’t until I identified those safe spaces to be vulnerable and really digested the age old notion that, absolutely no one is perfect, that I learned how to move through and deal with my emotions. Going through the emotions once doesn’t mean they won’t ever pop back up. But having the wherewithal to know that emotions are like temporary, passing thunderstorms and that everyone has them allowed me to get back to that place of choice. Choosing to stand in the light of who I am and subscribe to those healthy and truthful thoughts is incredibly powerful. Also, how do you feel around others when you feel they’re trying to come off as “perfect”… you can just feel that something is off under the surface.
Identify safe spaces to be vulnerable. Perhaps it’s a friend, perhaps it’s your journal. Whatever the avenue may be, identify it and give yourself time to let it out. Someone who believes in you, cheers you on, and cares about you is usually a key indicator of a “safe space”
Process through your emotions. Feel it. Cry, laugh, yell… do whatever you need to get it OUT!
Thank yourself. Thank yourself for allowing yourself to process what you need and for being honest. We all know that we could use a little more honesty in this world.
Accept compliments. If you’re talking to a friend and they share with you how they actually feel about your awesomeness or present an aspect of the situation you couldn’t see, return the favor and listen to what they’re saying about you, to you. Do you dish out compliments so someone will say “Oh goodness no, that’s not me.” Let someone shower you with the good stuff. And if you’re writing in your journal, engage in something that makes you feel good afterwards and aligns with who you are.
Choose your power statement, subscribe to a powerful though moving forward. What’s the truth of the situation? Is it fear of something bubbling up under the surface? Is that fear your truth? You are a bright, shining light. What thought supports your truth, not your fear, moving forward
Let’s hear it! What significance does the word “fine” have to you and what helps you to get through those F.I.N.E times in your life?
Keep on shining your light Honey!