It’s Ok to Say, “I’m Not Fine” | Communicating Your Feelings


How many times have you said I’m fine? How many times have you actually meant it?

“I’m fine” is my go-to for everything. Struggling to move something heavy? I’m fine. Trying to make it to 3 birthday parties in two different counties in 1 day? I’m fine. Someone being extra critical? I’m fine. Freaking out because there’s a pandemic, and I don’t know what the rules are for life anymore? I’m fine.

The truth is a lot of those times; I am very much not fine. I could use help or a shoulder to cry on or just someone to listen.

It’s like every time I want to say, “I’m not fine,” There is a voice in me grabs the “not” right out of my throat. All of a sudden, that voice says, “You don’t want to upset anyone. What do you have to complain about? You don’t want to burden anyone. Speaking up will make you seem weak.”

That voice says so many things. Things that don’t do us well ever. It makes us doubt ourselves and takes that split second to speak for us and say, “I’m fine,” when we are very much not.

When we are younger, if we were sad or hurt, we would express ourselves. Without a second thought. At some point in life, that changes.

I don’t know precisely when that changes, but there comes a time when admitting we aren’t fine equals weakness. So instead of speaking up, we just keep quiet and swallow down those feelings.

Eventually, though, they come back out. Those feelings might come out in the form of ugly arguments, emotional and/or physical burn out, or even deeper scarier mental health struggles (among other things). Each one of those things can have some severe repercussions in our lives.

The more negativity we swallow, the more positivity and joy will have to spill from our cups to make space for that negativity.

worried mom
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

So how do you break that cycle?

We start with just one time.

I know this is easier said than done. But make a promise to yourself. Instead of “I’m fine,” when we don’t mean it let’s turn around and say, “You know what, I am not fine.”

I still struggle with admitting when I’m not fine, but those moments I do, feel like such a relief. I feel like I can breathe so much deeper, and my thoughts don’t feel so heavy. It’s like the “not” was trying to get out, but it was so stuck it was keeping my breath trapped inside.

The second part of this is to then express what you need.

“I need help, someone to listen, or maybe even a hug.” Ask for what you need, unapologetically. If someone is asking, tell them.

Sometimes we don’t know what we need. We don’t know what’s wrong; we just feel off, or it might be hard to explain. Say so. Say, “I don’t know what I am feeling, but I just feel that I am not ok.” It’s ok to not know exactly how to explain what we are feeling. In that case, asking someone to listen while you just express whatever comes to mind might help. Venting might help you decode what is going on. Sometimes by venting, we unravel that tangled web we have in our heads and figure out what we are feeling or what we need.

“I’m not ok, but I am not ready to talk about it,” is ok too. Sometimes we need to process what we’re feeling, or we are too fired up about something and need to gather our thoughts. I used to stay quiet and tell myself I would say something later, but then never would because it was over and I didn’t want to rock the boat. I had to change that! Now I say, “I’m not ok, but I’m not ready to talk, could you ask me again tomorrow?” and it helps keep me accountable when tomorrow comes. 

Everyone has different techniques that work for them, so if these help you that’s great! If you find some of your own that work for you that’s great too!

woman outside
Photo by Alfcermed on Pixabay

Saying, “I’m not fine,” doesn’t make you weak or less capable. Your feelings are always valid and always important. You are not a burden or ungrateful.

The next time you find yourself about to say “I’m fine,” when you are not, stop and say, “Actually, I’m not fine. Thanks for asking.” You might not do it every time after that, I know I don’t, but the more you do it the easier it will come.

Like my grandmother says, “Some things are better out than in.”

If you ever need someone to talk to. We at Miami Moms Blog are here for you.


  1. Thank you Rachelle! We do autopilot to not inconvenience anyone and that should not eclipse our feelings.
    I appreciate this post as a reminder for day to day life!!

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