RU Okay? Day means a lot to me. It was a long time ago, but I still remember the day clearly. A colleague pulled me aside and asked if I was okay. My automatic response was, yes, I’m fine. But I wasn’t fine. I had been going through a difficult time in my life, yet I smiled, I hid my pain behind a mask, and when asked, I said everything was fine.
My colleague, who asked the question, listened to my response and instinctively knew to ask again. “RU Okay? Because it’s okay if you aren’t.” I had a choice to either continue to hide or share my true feelings. There’s nothing more terrifying than saying the words, I’m not okay. You wonder if you are going to be judged, you wonder if they think you are weak, you tell yourself that they don’t really want to know.
“No, I’m not okay,” I managed to say. I held my breath and waited, not sure what my colleague was going to say. She sat with me, and we talked. Together we came up with a plan which included speaking with a professional and arranging for weekly check-ins with my colleague. She offered support, understanding, and guidance.
It was such a simple question, but it made a significant impact on my life. At the time, I had felt like I was drowning, and a hand reached out and took my own, pulling me towards safety. I will forever be grateful.
Do you have a gut feeling that a friend, colleague, or family member is struggling? You may not think you have the skills necessary to help someone that’s not okay, but you may be able to guide them in the right direction. Take the time to ask questions.
What are they saying?
What are they doing?
What’s going on in their life?
Learn what to say at ruok.org.au
The Money Edge | Kerri Schulz