Too often, we don't have the conversations we need to have when it comes to mental health.
The world would be a better place if we all opened up about that side of us. It's universal, something we all deal with in one way or another, and yes, some struggle with it more than others. Talking about it more would help everyone.
So what's holding us back? In my experience over the years, it's the auto-pilot responses to "how are you doing?" Too often we say very quickly back "Good, and you?" "I'm fine, you?" "OK, you?" And the response back to that is usually another "good," "fine" or "OK."
What if we said how we really feel? And what if we expanded on the "fine" and "OK" responses. What does that really mean? Why just fine? Why just OK?
We put our guards up and sidestep the difficult conversations, even though, ironically, they would help us if we had them.
We should learn to say things like, "I'm not doing that well." Or even, "To be honest, I'm not OK." Opening up and willing to expand on the emotions will only do positive things for us.
And for the person responding back to that, they should be listening, and show empathy. Hear them out. Even offer suggestions how you might be able to help them or how they might be able to better deal with what they're going through.
Because here's the truth at the end of the day: We've all been there. We've all had good days and bad. Sometimes we really are good, but too often we're not as good as we say, and there's no reason to have that shield up.
Real conversations like these, conversations we have every day, can have a positive impact on our society. And it can help our mental wellbeing immensely, being able to truly say how we're doing and why we might not be doing so well. Sometimes we may not even be able to explain it, just not our best day – we should say that too.
Say how we really feel. It'll make the world a better place.
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