How Are You? Really.

How many times in a regular week does someone ask, ‘How are you?’ Depending on the size of your family, your circle of friends as well where, and if, you work, the answer could be a couple of times to hundreds.

‘How are you,’ is a pretty standard greeting in the United States. More accurately, it is a traditional unconscious non-greeting. Meaning it is most often asked and answered on mental autopilot.

How many times in your life have you honestly answered that question?

Not with some automatic BS response of “OK,” “Good,” or the ever popular and empty, “Fine, how are you?”

Worse than those empty exchange of syllables is an answer that perhaps shares all the troubles of your day, or your life, to the point that the person who asked you wishes they hadn’t.

‘How are you?’ is about right now! It is asking the current status of the lifeform known as ‘your name here.’ The question was not, “Tell me all the reasons you are miserable?”, “What’s gone wrong today so far?” or “Give me all the excuses for your victimhood?”

Ideally, when someone asks ‘How are you’ they genuinely want to know how you are feeling right now, at this moment.

It is your opportunity to raise your awareness and check-in. I encourage you to start answering honestly and perhaps shock the person who is probably automatically asking you the question, to begin with, by giving a meaningful response. Be authentic and open. Partake in a brief conversation that impacts your day.

I had a positive psychology professor who shared the story of one of his professors who always asked, “How are you? Really.” This made people pause and let them know he was truly inquiring about their current emotional, mental, or spiritual status.

I’ve been making use of this statement for the people in my life I care about too. Sometimes they notice and give an honest answer. Sometimes, I can tell they weren’t listening well as I get the same programmed automatic empty response.

‘How are you?’ It isn’t how were you, share your latest drama, or how is everybody in your life except for you. Next time someone asks; pause, take a slow, deep breath, and ask yourself – how am I? Share that answer.

How are you? Really. I’d love to know.


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