What do I mean when I say, “Don’t worry about it” or “It’s fine”? People say these phrases along with all their various variations all the time. It’s okay. It doesn’t matter. It’s fine, really. Women, rightfully so, have been the butt of many jokes and memes because of this phrase. Too many people say these phrases untruthfully for anyone to accept the phrase as an innocent one. It’s an issue. An unfair one that needs to be addressed. But it’s also a multi-faceted problem that needs to be addressed moderately carefully or else I might just trigger the entire social justice warrior population.
So, what do I mean when I say, “It’s fine”?
Normally, it’s one of two things and ultimately, it’s just one. Let me explain.
1.I really mean it’s okay
I shouldn’t really have to explain this one right? I literally mean it’s okay. No problem. Zilch. Ready to go. Happy about it.
2. I’m not happy, but it’s still okay.
See? Ultimately the same thing, right? So this is a little more complicated than the first one, clearly. Like most people, I have lived through my fair share of trauma. I’ve been cheated on and all the rest like so many others. It’s not fair. It does suck. But disappointment, sadness, anger, and betrayal are a part of life. They are part of the grand experience of things so no pity points for me. But these things do play a part in who I am and how I react to things.
Certain things might really, really bother me for an irrational reason. Part of being introspective and constantly trying to better myself is recognizing when a feeling is irrational. I might encounter a situation where someone asks me if something is okay, if I’m fine, or something of the sort and the answer is no, but I recognize that its irrational. Now, instead of saying “I’m not fine”, “That’s not fine”, or anything like that I’ll be faced with a choice. I can either talk in depth about what irrationally bugs me and why it does or I can accept that in this moment it irrationally bothers me and decide that, you know what, this is fine because I’m deciding it will be.
I tend to choose the latter because it makes me feel empowered. There’s nothing wrong with this. Unfortunately, if you do choose this, don’t become defensive if someone asks “Is it really okay?”. We haven’t quite gotten there yet but remember that they’ve probably dealt with many people lying to them that something is. Trauma happens in both sexes, thank you very much. Men experience trauma at the hands of women too.
But that’s it.
Those are the only two times I use those phrases. Please, please, please note that I do not use this phrase outside of its real meaning. I do not use it in an argument. I do not use it sarcastically. I do not use it to trap someone else. I do not use it to seek revenge or get my way later. I only ever use it to mean “it’s okay”.
Let’s address the second part of this. The tough part.
I’m going to say this, and yes it is a sweeping generalization. Women are the ones to do this. We are the ones who tend to more often than not use this phrase when we don’t really mean it. And I’ve seen a few too many women be proud about it. To the women who do this, and to the men, realize this:
It is never acceptable to lie to someone you love.
And yes, this phrase is a lie.
If something is not all right with you, it is your job to let them in on that. It is not their job to figure it out. Let me say it again, it is not their job to figure it out. It’s completely unfair to anyone to use a phrase that means “Yes, it’s fine. Go ahead” and serves as a linguistic green light to our actions when you actually mean “stop. No, I’m not all right with that”. Traffic signals don’t go green and expect you to stop. Can you imagine getting a ticket for running a green light only to be explained: “Well, you should have known it wanted to turn red”? There’s no logic there.
Similarly, there’s no logic in saying “Yes” when you mean “No”. If a waiter asked if I want fries with that and I say “yes” I have absolutely no right to be mad when he brings me fries. You cannot be angry with someone when you’ve given them your express permission. If you are not all right with something, speak up.
I sound pretty mean right now, don’t I? It’s because no one addresses this. No one addresses how unfair it is to be on the other side of this. No one addresses how unhealthy it is. You are teaching someone how to not trust you. Why would you want that? You are teaching someone to be afraid of you, your words. Why would you want that? You are teaching someone that you are dominant over them. Why would you want that?
Because of many things, I’m sure, but because it’s easier.
We are taught to be ashamed, both men and women, of our emotions. If a woman shows her emotions too much she risks being called hormonal. If a man shows his emotions too much he risks losing his masculinity. Neither are fair. But what does it matter with people we love and care about? It shouldn’t matter at all.
Speak up. Tell someone that it isn’t fine and explain why it isn’t fine to you. Even if it’s,
“Because I’m jealous” or “because I don’t like this person because of x, y, and z” that’s fine. It’s better to fight with someone because of your actual beliefs and feelings than it is to fight over a lie, right? It’s better to have an argument now than a massive fight three months down the road when you’ve bottled everything up and now you’re livid.
It’s not healthy.
What is healthy is expressing your desires. What is healthy is cluing your significant other in on your reasoning. Sure, you don’t have to. No one is holding a gun to your head but why not? Let them understand what’s going on in your head. It might even help you heal in the long run.
If you pull one thing away from this article it’s this, don’t lie. When someone asks you something they’ve opened that door. If they don’t like what you, that’s on them. Don’t lie about how you feel. Be expressive. Be honest. The rest won’t matter as much as you think it does.