Tag Archive: mind

The ugliest phrase in the world – I’m Fine

I regularly watch, read and listen to a lot of videos, blog posts and audios every week, and came across one that talked about the phrase “I’m fine” (see below). I related: I have personally used it for most of my adult life.

“I’m fine”, I say when I don’t want to talk about something that clearly disturbs me. “I’m fine” when I want to push through some project and don’t want to have to explain myself. “I’m fine” when I want to be left alone to lick some wound – old or new.

This might be true for you, too.  Research indicates that only about 20% of us mean it when we say “I’m fine”; and almost 60% of us expect the answer to “How are you feeling?” as “I’m fine” to be a lie.  We all know it, and still continue to do it.

Mel Robins believes we start by lying to ourselves, because we’ve convinced ourselves we are fine not having what we want. “I’m fine. I lost my job, but it’s hard to get a decent job these days.”

Here’s the reality: we’re only really fine when we are getting what we want, and it’s up to us to make it happen.  Usually, the thing that will make that happen is a change.  Change is hard – it’s way easier to veg out in front of TV instead of finding another job, and a job that you really want. It’s way easier staying with whatever is familiar, even if it sucks, than make the change that will get you what you want.

Robins argues that among the basic needs we all have – food, water, shelter, is exploration, and that staying with what is familiar – staying in inertia – starves us of this basic need.  To get out of inertia and into exploration takes action, which is gong to be hard.

She suggests that we do one thing the next time we find ourselves drifting into inertia. She calls it the 5-second rule.  Our mind can process very quickly, and science knows that if you don’t marry an impulse with an action within 5 seconds, you will fall back into inertia.  The problem isn’t that we don’t have any ideas, but that we don’t act on them.

So today and tomorrow, do this: At lease once today and tomorrow, when you get an idea, act on it within 5 seconds. Write something down, call someone, get up instead of remaining sitting. Whatever you do, do something and turn that impulse into action. Then take a moment to see what’s different in your life.

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over – Mel Robins

 Quote of the Week
The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up. The shortcut to closing a door is to bury yourself in the details. This is how we must look to God. As if everything’s just fine.
― Chuck Palahniuk

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co

The Endurer


In the first part of the 20th century, Austrian Psychoanalist Wilhelm Reich developed a theory explaining how we respond both physically and emotionally to the challenges we meet in life, especially in early life.  From his studies.

Last week, I introduced you, in broad terms, to Character Structures – what they are and how they develop.  This week I’ll introduce you to the Edndurer body and character type; also known as the Masochist type.  In the diagram above, the Endurer is depicted as someone who is somewhat heavy-set with slightly rounded arms and a solid base from the waist down. While this isnt always so pronounced in this character type, it’s generally so.

Why is this body type called a Masochist, or Endurer (I will use these 2 terms interchangably)? Because the person who armors in this way does so by holding in instead of expressing their displeasure or discomfort. They hunker down, waiting out any nlslaught that comes their way. They keep their opinions to themselves – and they have a lot of their own opinions.

In fact, if this kind of person doesn’t find a way of expressing to the rest of the world what’s on their mind, it begins to eat away at them, and they grow angry.  But because they never express themselves, this anger comes out in surrepticious ways – often cruel and petty ways – like biting remarks, leaving someone waiting, not showing up.

On the positive side, Masochists are powerful thinkers and doers, often chugging along when everyone else has long since left the scene.  They are reliable. Atlas carying the world on his (or her) shoulders.

The primary challenge of the Masochist is to speak what is on their mind, without anger.  This is a challenge, because the longer something is left unsaid, the more it’s laced with anger.  Often this means learning to speak up in stages: first speaking up to a tree or to nature or in your car, letting out all the anger – no holding back.  Then speaking up to a trusted friend, with the understanding that this is to help you learn to re-empower your voice and nothing else. Finally, speaking up once more to the world, re-owning that voice that somehow got silenced.

Next week, I’ll introduce the Oral character Type.  If you find this series interesting, and want to know more, and I along with my friend and colleague Jane Mactinger will be holding a workshop on Character Structures in the near future.  Stay tuned for a date and time.


Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .