I remember coming home from school as a high school student, and my parents would ask me a series of questions: "How was school?", "How're your grades?", "How was practice?"
Some days it was a combination of the questions, others it was just one. I remember these mainly because I remember how I replied 80% of the time: "Fine". I fell into responding to questions, engaging with people, and contributing to dialogue with words or phrases including "fine".
"How are you?
This exchange in conversation used to be the norm. No one actually talked about how crappy their day was or was authentic in engaging in these conversations. Why? I can speculate numerous reasons, with a few being that people think it's socially unacceptable to talk about how they are really doing, that they'd be looked at differently if they didn't "have it all together", or because they didn't feel safe to be honest in that interaction.
We are living in a world of "I'm fine" robots-responses to many questions, and now, fast forwarding to present-day, it's changed.
"I'm fine" has now become "Good! Just busy!"
We have seemingly replaced this robot-response with a more productive, over-achieving, and hustling response to the "How've you been?" question.
"Good! Just busy," assumes the position of many things. We often feel like we have to respond with proving that we've been busy so that we're not looked at as lazy. In a world of be more, do more, achieve more, make more, "busy" has become the new expectation. As if we were saying, "Well if you aren't busy, then what are you doing, really?"
Think about the relationships you have and how you respond when people ask how you are or have been. Think about how you respond when someone asks how your day or weekend was. How do you reply? Is it with "It was good! Busy, but good!"
If you do, is there any other way to describe your day or weekend or state of being? Could you reply with answers to what you enjoyed doing, people you saw, or how you actually feel?
And on the receiving end, are you expecting people to say "Busy!" - are you open to actually hearing about how this person is or how their weekend was? Or do you nod and smile, asking no questions or validating remarks to actually engage in the conversation?
As a people, we get to decide how we respond. I challenge you to start being authentic with people. If you say things other than "I'm fine" or "Good, just busy!" you will often find yourself creating and maintaining more wholesome and connected relationships. Taking the time to hear someone, instead of brush them off in a hurried response, can be more intimate and relationship-building than you would think.
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Why don’t I look like that?
Why do I feel so small?
Hiding behind posts of lies.
“Who do you think you are?”
How dare I wear that dress.
I will never just fit in.
Where’s my card to get out of jail?
Women and men are shown cultural and societal norms of ideal body size, the right diets, what and what not to look like, what is popular, what is accepted, and what is idealized from ages of 4-5 years old. By the time we hit kindergarten, we know gender roles. We know “our place” in the world. At least, the world as we know it.
When I grew up, I saw ads on the television and magazines and compared myself to girls I grew up with. Now, however, children are on iPads, computers, and smart phones far earlier than their brains can develop. They not only have the same things as we did growing up, but they have social media and access to essentially any content with one wrong click or tap of a button.
Ideals of what we “should” be or act like flaunt our minds, and even though we can be strong-minded and tell ourselves that there is more to life than being or looking like the people we see who “have it all”, it still soaks a little bit into our brain. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t be needing to write this post, would I?
Men and women everywhere struggle with low self-esteem because they aren’t fitting into these molds. We fall into comparison traps. We starve ourselves. We post filtered images of our life to make it seem like we have it all together. We’re confused about which diet will make us look the best, and if we’re not, we are struggling with knowing what foods to really eat because everywhere we go someone is saying we shouldn’t be eating that.
After talking about some of the real struggles myself and my clients go through as young women and men, I realized that we have a much bigger problem on our hands: if we as young people don’t get ourselves in the healthy mindset, we are impacting generations to come.
KC Empower Series began after Jennifer Nobo and I were chatting about these very struggles. Sometimes we think it’s just us going through the negative thought patterns and the obsessions with doing things RIGHT versus just doing things because they are HEALTHY.
Social media can be filled with trolls, negative comments, naysayers and people who will never have anything good to say; however, it can also be filled with fun, positivity, humor, realism, social solutions, and people empowering people to be the HEALTHIEST version of themselves.
Something that Jen has been teaching me is how to LISTEN to my body. This goes from things as instinctual as your gut feelings in bad situations all the way to if your body is really craving a Reeses or if it’s just thirsty for water--that infections aren’t a coincidence--that they are my body’s way of telling me something is wrong.
From July 15- August 18, our goal is to fill social media with empowerment and that you, as a reader, will participate. As a therapist and life coach, I will be providing you with some common themes among my clients and within myself, will fight stigma, create conversations, and provide reflection questions for you to think through for the week. You’ll get weekly newsletters, social media posts, shout-outs, and raffles gifted to those who participate each week. Finally, we will end the month with an event at Barre 3 on August 18th with a chance to connect, grow and empower each other and with a short surprise guest presentation!
I am so looking forward to doing this month with you! Get ready for some great self-care conversations, tips and techniques, as well as reflection questions to further amplify your understanding of some core components of each Self.
Head on over to Jen’s website to see her reasons why to join in on KC Empower Series and SIGN-UP today to not miss a thing. We promise, one email a week--no more, no less!
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Therapist. Millennial. Social Worker. Dog Mom. Friend. Sister. Empath. INFJ. Lover of ice cream.