Why Do We Say "It's Okay?"

Just about immediately before my run with COVID, I had my consult appointment for my colonoscopy in November. Ahhh, mid-forties, what joys you bring... 

I HATE GOING TO NEW DOCTORS. Mostly because I have to recount the almost comically sad laundry list of awfulness that is my medical history, that is almost entirely centered on my now-defunct reproductive system. It is EXHAUSTING to go through all the procedures. I keep saying I am going to type up a handout so I don't have to do it verbally, and I think this last appointment definitely cemented that I need to buck up and just do it, for my own sanity. 

When I finished the emotionally draining recounting of my personal tragedies, the wonderful PA looked at me with pure empathy and said, "I'm so sorry you had to go through all that." 

And what did I say? 

"It's okay." 


I mean, it's such a knee-jerk reaction that speaks to how culturally primed we are to wave away any kind of unpleasant feeling at any cost. "Oh dear, you are sad at my experiences, I need to make it go away so you are not uncomfortable." And thus... "It's okay." 

I actually paused and quickly said, "well, it's NOT actually okay, but I am okay with it and have a good life, so there's that." 

I felt a little better about that response. I feel like I need to really practice saying "thank you, I appreciate that" instead of the dismissive (to myself!) lie, "it's okay," or my amended verbal vomit.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!


  1. So true! Your second response was perfect, as was your ideal "thank you, I appreciate that." It's not okay that it happened, but your life IS okay now. So I know exacty what you meant with your first response - and have said that sort of thing myself.

    I am also glad that you are in a place where at least one of the staff is empathetic. And knows what to say. (ie not to dismiss it).

  2. We say "it's okay" because we were socialized to make other people feel better. Or at least I was...

    I love your clarification!

  3. I love that clarification because it shows such self-awareness and mindfulness. It inspires me to also be aware of when I'm on auto-pilot with the niceties. We can still be truthful while being nice.

  4. "We can still be truthful while being nice." Indeed. Kudos to you on the clarification.