Let’s be honest we prefer to be around fun people more than miserable people – that’s an easy choice! But what would you choose – ‘happy’ unreal people or real but flawed people?
It strikes me that we have to make that choice everyday when we ask and answer the question, “How are you?”. It’s an easy question to answer when things are good or OK. When life is difficult I tend to make a choice along the lines of this flowchart:
When people really ask us "How are you", I think what we all want is to be heard, accepted, receive some empathy about our situation and then if needed maybe the offer of help, care, prayer or all of the above! The first and most important is to be heard and accepted – to know it is OK to NOT be OK. When this happens we can be real.
However, when we suspect that the person we are speaking to will be uncomfortable with our difficult situation or will rush to suggest a solution to our 'problem' – then it might just be easier for both of us if we keep our masks on and look for another place where it is OK to NOT be OK.