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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Gillis, LMHC

The White Lie - I'm Fine

white lie

/ˈˌ(h)wīt ˈlī/


a harmless or trivial lie, especially one told to avoid hurting someone's feelings.

The most harmless lie "I'm fine" seems to cause more damage to our relationships and emotional capacity. Yes, we have all said it and yet for some, we say it all the time. It's short and sweet. Yet, often, if we were honest with ourselves, it's not true.

This lie seems to help us avoid from mentioning what really is going on internally.

Why do we do this and how we can be more truthful with ourselves and others?

The Facade When we pretend that everything is fine and we grasp on to the white lie "I'm fine. We are essentially denying our true feelings and experiences. This phrase helps us to convince ourselves and others that everything really is okay. This causes us to deny the authenticity of our true emotions, therefore, causing us to deny our reality. The facade is that we want others to think that we "have it all together", the image of "handling our emotions properly". That we live a life free of problems and difficult emotions. We have not learned the freedom of being vulnerable and authentic. We may desire to be vulnerable yet our experiences have taught, for some, to define vulnerability with something negative. We have attached negative connotations like shame, guilt, judgment, and embarrassment to the term. We fear that if others knew what was happening on the inside (that we have struggled, if not still struggling, we cry ourselves to sleep, we don't want to get out of bed, we have relationship problems, etc). We believe denying our truth makes us look weak or not put together. We hold to these lies on top of the lie we continue to vocalize. We deny, deny, deny. We avoid, avoid, avoid. Yet, where is the freedom in a lie that continues to build. Why we say we're fine when we aren't

The truth is we are afraid. We are afraid that our "Reality" will run people off. It will change their perceptions of us. Some of us were taught that being open and authentic about our emotions wasn't allowed. Some of us were never taught how to be open and authentic because of friends and family didn't know how. Then there are some who may not be aware that they don't know how to be open and authentic. As a result, we have learned to suppress our feelings and to practice self-numbing methods. Whether it's with food, drugs, and/or other compulsive behaviors. Has these methods proven to release a level of internal freedom?

I would assume not. We deny our feelings by shutting them off with these type of methods. This however, shuts off our ability to be self-aware and as a result. When this happens repeatedly, we learn that we should not ask for anything because no one cares about our needs and or either we believe they won't be met. A history of defining how others see us, a dysfunctional relationship, or even a fragile self-esteem has kept us quiet. It may feel safer to pretend that we are fine yet the only person we are impacting is ourselves.

The solution

Try being open with yourself about what you're feeling and what you need. Self-awareness allows us to define what we are authentically feeling. Skills that develop self-awareness are: Identifying and analyzing one’s emotions, and how they affect others; Understanding the relationship between one’s emotions, thoughts, values, and behaviors; Examining prejudices and biases; and even Identifying personal, cultural, and linguistic assets. Start being honest with others without expectations on how they respond. Stating your truth is not dictated or shouldn't be dictated on how others will respond. Stating your truth releases you. Will you access your internal freedom today?


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