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Stop Pretending You’re ‘Fine’

Our goal this month on Studio 5 is to help you “Live without Pretending.” We’re giving you a chance to put that theme into practice, starting with the conversations you have every day. Therapist Julie Hanks says it’s time to stop pretending you’re fine, when you’re not.

When someone asks, “How are you?”, do you automatically say, “I’m fine”? If so, you’re not alone. “Fine” seems to be the default answer for many of us. Sometimes we’re not fine but we feel like we should be fine. Here are some ways to stop pretending you’re find and become more authentic.

1) Assess the relationship
How close am I to this person? What are they really asking?
If an acquaintance asks, “How are you?” it’s different than if a close friend or family member asks. The more trust you have with someone and the closer the person, the more you can share your whole heart.

2) Tune in to your feelings
How am I doing?
It’s so easy to numb our difficult feelings through food, perfectionism, substances, focusing on others, or staying busy. Take time to be honest with yourself.  When working with clients I often turn a list of 6 basic emotions:

  • happy
  • mad
  • sad
  • scared
  • surprised
  • disgusted

3) Embrace your truth
Do I allow myself the same struggles that I allow others?
Once you’ve identified what’s going on for you, try to accept it instead of judge it. Too often we tell ourselves, “I shouldn’t feel discouraged about that” or “I shouldn’t feel down. I have so much to be grateful for.”

4) Practice authenticity
Am I willing to share my whole heart with others?
Authenticity isn’t something you are or you aren’t. According to researcher Brene Brown, PhD authenticity is a practice. In her book The Gifts of Imperfection Brown says, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

5) Be brave
What will I gain if I share my real self with others?
It takes courage to be real and share your struggles, but the payoff is worth it. Closer relationships, more emotional support and help are just a few of the benefits of the benefits of sharing more of yourself with others.

About Dr. Julie Hanks, LCSW:
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to TV Shows and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available. Dr. Hanks is currently accepting coaching clients.

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