Ashley Evans || Staff Writer
“How are you?”
We yell this in passing, we ask it in the classroom, we mention it while waiting in line for our coffee, we ask our parents, our friends, our significant others, our family. We ask waitresses, customers, professors and even strangers.
Sometimes we genuinely do care and other times it is simply part of our greetings to one another. In a society that so easily throws around the precious and delicate words of “how are you?”, we somehow always feel the pressure and responsibility to reply with a very positive, happy and one-worded answer. Okay.
We live in a world where horrible, sad and unfair moments are inevitable. We live in a world where we aren’t promised sunshine and rainbows everyday, and yet, we always find it necessary to dismiss the unfortunate event occurring in others lives in fear of being too negative.
Brene Brown said, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Sometimes, the best advice you can give or the best response you can hear is not that it’s going to be okay, it’s that you understand. It’s that sometimes people just have bad days, it’s that life is hard.
To create a culture of empathy, of understanding and of love, dismissing the down days with an unoriginal response about how it’s going to be okay isn’t what society needs. We need support and people who are willing to listen.
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection,” said Brown.
Authenticity has become a cliche to society, eager for a community of genuine people who are willing to be vulnerable and honest. However, we will never achieve this level of transparency if we live with an unrealistic expectation that everything will be okay. The sooner we realize it’s not always going to be okay, the sooner we set ourselves free from the bondage of perfection and into a life of sincerity and honesty.
We must learn to accept others for the good days and the bad, and to know it’s okay to not always be okay.