“How are you?”... “Ok now really, how are you?

February 25, 2018

I’m fine. I’m well. I’m good. I’m ok.

All common answers to a common question we ask to see how someone is doing. Within the span of a few weeks I had about 4 people I know share something with me, and I came to find out that they were not ok despite expressing they were "good" when I had previously asked on several encounters. These individuals were all carrying different burdens on their shoulders that made it difficult to cope on a day to day basis. So this made me think...Do we put on passive masks in the interest of not burdening others with our problems? Do we do it because we want to seem like we have it all together, all the time? Or, do we really lack the confidence to entrust those around us enough to share our problems in the hope of receiving a helping hand? And, on the opposite side, when we ask how people are doing- are we genuinely asking because we want to know, or are we asking to be polite? #foodforthought


Whilst writing this I did some self-reflecting and I stopped to think about how many times I myself had blurted out “I’m well thank you” to someone who asked how I was doing because it’s just something I’m so used to saying. I-am-well. Society teaches us that we should put up a “Can Do” attitude all the time. We’re plagued with daily positive quotes and motivational messages that really are great, but in reality we are human and it is only normal to not always have a great day. We have some bad days, we go through tests and trials, things happen in our family, we don’t do as well as we hoped we would on a test, or we find out news that really brings down our day. It is ok not to be ok, and it is ok not to be good all the time. However, sharing with others lessens our burdens. We should not be internalizing our thoughts or problems but rather practice sharing them with those we trust, people who are there for us, and putting it into God's hands.


On the flip-side: When was the last time you really asked someone how they were doing, and not in passing, but stopped and genuinely cared to know about their wellbeing? How often does society do this? Not often. We’re in a constant rush. We say hello and goodbye within the same sentence and then it’s off to our next task.  People will often pour of themselves into those they know will help carry their burdens. Now this might not mean if someone is going through say, financial difficulty for example, that you will pay their debts for them, this simply means you lend an ear to that person to really talk about what they are going through, and just by listening you are already lessening their burden. Maybe you have advice to give them, maybe you could stand with them in prayer, or maybe you know someone that can help them with the resources that they need. In one way or another, you can help. 


People will come to you when they know your heart is in the right place.

Life is about being there for people. Genuinely caring about the wellbeing of those around us. Being selfless enough to take a couple of minutes and instead of saying a hello in passing to someone you know, just stopping, looking them in the eyes and asking them how they are doing. Show you care! Our friends, families, colleagues, and classmates could be going through something and all they need is for someone to show they care enough to stop and listen, and really- listen. How many suicides, depressions, low self-esteem and SO many other issues could be prevented if we took the time to be human and to give of ourselves for the benefit of others? 


This topic hit home for me because I for one am guilty of being in such a rush sometimes that my 'how are you’s' get lost in a wave and a smile. But from the time I started to genuinely let myself be available to others, to listening to them and showing that I cared, I learned that so many people are fighting their own battles and I can give of myself to someone else even if it means getting nothing in return. Giving of yourself for someone else's benefit- call it a zero-sum game- may be more beneficial than you think. It is actually humanly rewarding. Try it. 





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