This question is weird; most commonly asked if you were sick or experienced something traumatic, it is notably different from “How are you”. The latter is a formality whereas the former is enquiring on your emotional well-being as well as physical. Theoretically, we should equate the two but then again, most of the times we do not ask to get a deep and personal answer. We ask as part of small talk.
When asked how I was feeling today by my good friend, I responded with “Why”. It’s weird but completely valid. In a society that cares little about our day-to-day emotional well being and more for images and formalities, my surprise was completely valid.
It caused me to realise that we generally do not enquire honestly for others’ wellbeing and in not answering honestly we continue on the image. It creates the façade that acts as the enemy to authenticity.
In my path in quest of my true self, I have discovered 2 main things.
- The more we practice answering truthfully, the easier it is to reveal our feelings to other people. It puts us out of our comfort zone and opens a door to explore our true feelings with someone who may sincerely care and provide a different, enlightening perspective. It’s daunting and practically impossible in the midst of some horrible experiences but we should try if possible .For me it has helped develop deeper emotional connections which will enrich our lives. It has also helped in me be more honest and real.
- We have become so conditioned to hearing “fine” we don’t even wait for or register the response anymore. That’s scary. Once I experimentally responded, ‘I’m not doing well’ to see what one woman would say at church (as it is custom to inquire) and she smiled nodding at me and walked away. She did not even register me answer.
I think it is important that we become more comfortable in revealing our genuine feelings with each other. As covered in other posts it will do us a world of good but I also think it will allow us to broach the harder topics that affect us all. We live in a society where the quickest solution is deemed as the best but it leaves us unfulfilled, empty and alone. Although being open with our own thoughts and emotions leaves us feeling vulnerable, it is important in our personal growth and in making relationships that truly matter. If we all learnt to be more open and accepting of vulnerabilities and shifting mood, we could learn a lot scientifically and personally at how common our feelings are. We would be left feeling less alone.
To my mind, that’s the point of human interaction in a way. To connect; learn from each other through listening, empathising and thus understanding. Asking and answering honestly will changes us all for the better.