You’re asked the question many times a day. It may be, “What’s up? What’s going on?” or “What’s happening?” but the words behind the question are really How are you?
Most of us give a rote answer, like fine, great or I’m okay. Have you ever really thought about the story behind your answer?
There are different stories
There are stories we tell ourselves (and others) and then there are the stories that we let define us. Seldom are the two versions the same. Here’s what I mean:
You have a magnificent day where everything sparkles. Things can’t get much better, you think.
Then the day ends and, as if in a broken magical spell, you return to reality. It’s back to the grind, you think.
Someone asks how you are. You say fine or okay when you’re obviously not as you launch into the details of blah, blah, blah. If you’re fine or okay, why do you act the opposite?
Seeing beyond the question
The How are you? question has nothing to do with what is outside us, the majority of which is out of our control anyway. We–you–need to stop responding to the question from the perspective of what is happening in your life when the person asking the question wants to know how you are being.
When someone asks me how I am, what if I begin my response by repeating the last two words–I am. When someone asks how you are, don’t you begin with I am _______________.
I am well. I am blessed. I am beautiful. I am energized.
Then, don’t say anything more because you’ve answered the question! And that’s the story you need to believe–not the story about how your Uncle Roy decided to leave Aunt Matilda and as a result your cousin came to town, moved in with you and now your boss won’t give you a raise to help support your cousin. Whew!
One more step, call it extra credit: believe your answer because it’s truth. How are you and what’s going on in your life are not the same story. The first is an autobiography and the second is a narrative of events.
Both questions are important but the first gets to the heart of who you are and isn’t that much more important than Uncle Roy, Aunt Matilda and their deadbeat kid?
Photo courtesy of kakisky