Authenticity Killers: Choosing to Be Tough Instead of Together

“I’m fine.”

It means I’m not fragile. It means I’m not willing to talk about it. It means I’ll get over it. It means I’m angry. It means I don’t want to let you into my pain.

It almost never means I’m fine.

What is it about tension that sends these two little words flying out my mouth? When (not if) conflict knocks on the door in my relationships, some little piece of me says, “Be tough.” Maybe I picked that up from an ill-learned lesson. Maybe it’s always been engrained in my stubborn personality. But sometimes, I see conflict as a fight to be won, not a place for grace to inhabit.

Pushing through pain alone makes my heart strong. But it also keeps my soul isolated. There’s a different, more beautiful kind of strength to be found in togetherness. When things get hard, I’m working to join hands with those I trust instead of throwing punches at them. Saying, “I’m fine,” is tough. But saying, “I’m hurting,” is brave. The Lone Ranger kind of character excels in movies, but I’ve learned the hard way it can’t exist in community.

I’m not going to applaud independence at the loss of authenticity. So many of us fling out “I’m fine” so that we can process conflict alone, but we were never meant to. Our knee-jerk react to set up walls is just a symptom of our fear over the honesty (& hard work) it takes to walk side by side. Let’s drop the walls & drop the act.

We’re better together.

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