“It’s all good.
It’s all good.
No, no…I mean it.
Oh I know because I missed the bus, I got trapped in the storm, caught the flu, missed out on that major contract and I got fired…but it’s all good.”
What the heck?
Maybe the scenarios haven’t been quite as extreme but I guarantee, you have at some time brushed off painful situations with a, “it’s all good”.
Certainly, this can be a ‘nice’ way of leaving things on a better note, redirecting your attention to look on the brighter side of things. But how are you left really feeling?
How could it possibly be good?
Is it a knee jerk response given without much thought? Or, are we just being polite in not wanting to burden others. Maybe we believe the challenges in our lives are all part of a bigger plan and we believe it will be good in the end. Or maybe there are deeper motives of which we aren’t even aware?
Perhaps the reason we regularly brush off our true feelings is the fact that if we share them with someone, we feel we have then made a contract with that person. Obligated at some level to provide that person with something in return at some time in the future.
There are a number of studies that support this theory.
Here is a simple example of how we express this contract every day. You receive an email asking you for information. You reply with the information. The person receiving the information then replies with a “thank you”. And what most people do is reply with a “you are welcome”. Am I right? You can’t help it. Because it is the polite thing to do. And because it is very likely you would feel guilty if you didn’t.
Come on – you have to agree when someone gives you a gift, you can feel uncomfortable if haven’t got something for them. You haven’t held your end of the gift-giving contact.
Some of you may have seen the Big Bang episode when Sheldon was buying a Christmas gift basket for Penny but as he didn’t have any idea on how much she would spend, he purchased a dozen baskets at different price points to ensure the gift he gave wasn’t too small so he met his end of the contract or too expensive because she wouldn’t have met hers.
Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be polite.
What I am suggesting though is quite the opposite. I want you to understand that by brushing off an offer to help with a, “I’m alright, no worries, it’s all good” that you instead state exactly how you are feeling without the burden of obligation instead. That you are honest and if things aren’t going well with your situation you speak the truth. Sometimes it is okay to acknowledge when things aren’t going well and admitting your true situation.
I’m not telling you to stop using the phrase. However what I do recommend is that you pay attention to how quickly you use it and whether it is an automatic response, or things are really fine.
When you minimise your feelings, your needs become obsolete. Pushing through isn’t a sign of strength. Being open to sharing the truth about how you are feeling and showing vulnerability can be though.
So next time you are asked how are you when it is obvious that all is not well, rather than responding with a flippant, “It’s all good”, you allow others to see you are hurting.
You never know who has your back and will come to your aid until you do.
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