by Robin Dix,
If you didn’t know me well, you might assume that I’m faking being sick. I may just look tired, but you wouldn’t know that I’m in constant pain every day. Some days are worse than others, but even then, I act like I’m fine.
It’s much easier to fake being well, because then I don’t have to defend myself. I don’t have to justify my unrelenting fatigue. I don’t have to explain why I’m not exercising. My desire is to actually BE well, but that’s not my current reality.2
I’m not sure why I feel that I have to pretend to be well when I am anything but. Why is it that we allow others’ opinions of us to matter so much? I’m not sure. We always seem to be developing our acting skills for a role we never asked to play. It’s just crazy.
I try not to get caught up in the fact that so many people I see, especially on social media, appear to have it all together. It does seem so unfair at times. But then I remember that they have their own challenges. Perhaps they are faking at having a loving marriage, or being content with being alone, or that they seem to have no financial worries. We are all struggling with something.
I try to be gracious when people ask me how I’m feeling. That’s a question that’s pregnant with possible responses. But I stick with a generic, but not necessarily honest, response. I might say “I’m doing better today,” or “I’m doing OK,” or “It’s been a pretty good week.” Or I may deflect the question back to them.
What I really want to say is “I’m in a lot of pain; thanks for asking,” or “I’ve been fighting a brutal headache for days,” or “It’s been the week from hell.”
I’m trying to find a balance between honesty and grace. My goal is to stop faking being well and just be the real me, pain and struggles and all, and to extend grace to those who just don’t understand. It’s not their fault that they don’t understand.
Do you struggle with faking to be well? How would you like to change that?