Have you ever given much thought to the things you say on a regular basis? I can’t say that I have, outside of the occasional cuss words I can’t seem to kick (some are just downright fun to say!).
I am finding, however, that there are three phrases that are doing considerable damage to my quality of life. And that is why I hereby swear off the following three phrases:
Can we be honest with each other for a minute and admit how incredibly manipulative this phrase is? I am the queen of “I’m fine”. I use it nearly every day. Here’s the problem with it:
If I say it, you can bet I am 100% not fine.
What I really mean is, “I’m about to lose my cool, but I refuse to admit it. Instead, I’m going to pout and make you feel bad for me, and if you don’t bend over backward to make me feel better it’s going to be a very, very long night.”
Pretty ugly, right?
In my defense, I did not realize this is what I was doing until I had lunch with a friend the other day. She was telling me how she recently reminded her daughter of their house rule on using the phrase “I’m Fine”. This is their rule:
“If you say “I’m fine” in this house, you will be treated as if you are fine. We will not run after you. We will not beg you to tell us what is wrong. If you say you are fine, then we are going to believe you and act accordingly. If you are indeed not fine and you want your problem to be addressed, you need to reach out and be honest with us. Tell us your needs and they will be met. But you cannot manipulate us into meeting your needs. That’s not how this family works.”
What a GUT punch! I suddenly understood that I have been guilty of manipulating my family into meeting my needs, and then punishing them with my bad mood if they didn’t play along.
Well, that stops today. I am banishing the phrase “I’m fine” from my vocabulary and replacing it with the following:
“I don’t want to talk about it, yet.”- There are definitely times when I’m not ready to discuss what it is that is bothering me. Instead of denying a problem, though, I am honest that there *is* a problem, but I need more time to work through it on my own.
“I’m feeling upset because…”- Upon further soul searching, I’ve realized that I use the phrase “I’m fine” when I know I’m being irrational or dramatic about something. I don’t want to confess what it is that made me upset because I know how ridiculous it is. Regardless, it *has* made me upset and I need to share my frustration in a healthy way. Using “I statements” is a great way to do that. It takes ownership of my feelings without placing the blame on someone else. I can be honest about my feelings without making my family feel they are to blame for my irrational pain.
To read more on the phrases I’ve sworn off, continue reading at the East Texas Mom’s Blog.