I hear it every day. Fine. The mask we put on to hide our real feelings from the world. The throwaway answer that pacifies.  The reception mum in the playground who says ‘I’m fine” when actually what she means is “I’m tired today and missing having my little boy at home”. The solo entrepreneur trying to get her business off the ground who says “yes, it’s fine” when she means “it’s lonely, I’m constantly comparing myself to others and honestly I don’t know if I’ll make it work”. The guy who says “I’m fine” to the colleagues at lunch when actually he means “life is tough right now, we’ve just been through another miscarriage and I don’t know how much more my wife can take”. The client who sits opposite me and says that her boss is throwing more work at her than she can possibly deliver and then adds in “but I mean it’s fine”.

Who are we protecting? Ourselves or the other person? And what from? From the realities of life? Amazing things happen for everyone when you drop the mask and step out of the isolating prison of pretence this word creates. I know, I tried it today. Because this morning I was not fine, and by admitting this, by sharing an every day struggle with another human I found out that she felt the same, that she too was struggling. So things were not fine for either of us. They were tricky, challenging, hard work and exhausting. And yet somehow by knowing we are not alone in the very real challenges of life we find strength to plough on. We connect, recharge and find new energy as this is not about us, this is about life.

So from now on I am never going to be fine. I may be on top of the world, ill, excited, happy, sad, nervous, tired, angry or grateful. But I will never be just ‘fine’.