It's OK to not be OK
How are you doing? It seems like such a benign question. I've started answering it honestly...and boy has that changed my energy a lot. And my conversations.
Today is June 11, 2020. We've made it through almost 6 months of COVID and 400+ years of systemic racism. Read that again. Feel angry that you've been stuck inside or forced to wear a face mask in public for less than six months? Perhaps that is all I need to say.
But bottom line--I think we are ALL feeling a little punchy these days (that may be understating it for many of you). I know I am. I know that I have downloaded ALL the apps on meditation, mindfulness, calmness, happiness, etc. Heck, I even spent two months studying The Science of Well Being- an online course from Yale. But happiness and being OK isn't tied into a single moment of de-stressing for me it turns out. Happiness and being "okay" are tied into equality and many other bigger picture items. Yale, you didn't prepare me for that fact. In fact, you said sleep and meditation would get me there. I think you missed* a few key items...I digress.
Since "the time of COVID" I've launched this blog and quite a few other personal and professional projects. I've made the "pivot" (drink! I am still pretty sure this should be a drinking game). But I'm still restless and I am definitely not "okay". So in full transparency, I am launching in to a social experiment. In settings where appropriate (perhaps not on a large national conference call), I've started answering the question "How are you?" much more honestly. And I've started to challenge others that I've spoken with to do the same. Why? Because authenticity doesn't happen overnight. Authenticity is HARD. And authenticity and REAL discussions may just be the solution to starting to tackle those bigger picture items. In fact, won't discussions and really listening to each other affect real change? I hope so.
Real life example: I accepted a meeting request from a fellow speaker/leader in the industry the other day. I hadn't met this person and they wanted to connect to expand their networks. She immediately said, "how are you!". I took a deep (and nervous) breath and said something like, "I don't know--It depends on whether you want a real answer and how much time you have". This started one of the most GENUINE conversations I've had with someone in a long time. It turns out she was feeling the same way. Maybe this made me feel human, or maybe this changed someones perspective, or maybe she passed it on to her next conversation--I will have no idea. I know silence isn't an option anymore and this is one of the tiny changes we can implement into our daily lives.
For those that aren't OK, lots of resources exist right now that I want to put out there. You know me--always a "woman of action", so I won't leave you hanging with my words. I will give you something tangible;
So, all, this blog post isn't perfect. It is clearly scratching the surface of many conversations and topics to come. I am not striving for perfection in this forum. I warned everyone at my launch that this was going to be an "unfiltered" Carrie space. Here it is. I hope everyone makes real space and time this week for self-care and more education.
*Side note: I still enjoyed the Yale course and lots of relevant info there.