How are You?

“How are you?” Such a simple question which we ask each other every day. It forms the usual conversation starter and is often followed by a “Good” from the other person.

But what are we really saying when we say “I am good”? The term ‘good’ could mean many things to many people. Once upon a time, ‘good’ to me meant “I am tired and in fact I am exhausted but with my coffee or energy drink this morning, I am feeling better and able to get through the day.”

Lately, to me it can mean: “I am going really well. I am feeling great in my body because I chose to eat foods that nourish and support me this morning, unlike the other morning where I realised the foods I ate made me feel rather heavy and dull before coming to work. And in addition I had a supportive rest last night, which left me feeling vital and jubilant when I awoke. Also, the self-honouring gentle exercises that I did before coming to work really supported my body for the working day, spent sitting at my desk.”

It occurs to me that there is a lot that is there to be shared when we say the word ‘good’; far more than initially appears by the use of the single word itself.

In past ages, words were used with a specific and definitive meaning that was clearly known with the use of each word. Often the way words were defined came from a way of being, an activity that was clearly known.

These days, words can mean anything. We can say one thing and the action it relates to can mean something totally different from one person to the next.

To me, the use of ‘good’ in the two above mentioned instances indicate two completely different states of being that are almost the complete opposites of each other. Are we not creating a lot of ambiguity with what we really mean when we use words in this way? Are we hiding from ourselves and from others the true state of our wellbeing?

I recently have had one of those ‘bad days’ where I was coming up against complications with a project I was working on that no matter what I tried, never seemed to be solvable. Adding to this, the complication was also delaying the time I could get the project completed in. I was feeling a lot of tension and stress in my body at the time. I was asked by many in passing, how I was and how my day was going. There was the impulse to just say ‘good’ but it constantly occurred to me “What am I really saying to another and to myself?” Am I then accepting that this ‘bad day’ is actually good?!

So what are we really saying then when we say ‘good’ instead of sharing how we truly feel with the other person?

I know for me personally, that sharing how I truly feel can actually be quite a vulnerable feeling and perhaps at that moment I felt too raw or sensitive to express what was really going on for me. Or perhaps we feel that we do not want to ‘load’ the person with all our issues or bring down the mood of the other, so to speak, with our rather burdensome issues. Or perhaps we even feel so joyful and amazing that we do not want to make others uncomfortable as they may not be feeling that same joy and bubbliness as we are.

Whatever the case, by saying ‘good’ and not truly expressing in full from our bodies what is really going on, we are basically saying, “I don’t trust you” to the other person. At that point it tends to be a conversation stopper from going any deeper and we then tend to drift into small talk to avoid feeling the awareness that may be there when we choose to go deeper.

The effect of just saying ‘good’ is felt in our being equally as it is found in the conversations we have with others. If we are just saying ‘good’, it cements in us the issue that may be running, and it dulls our joy and playfulness and we are choosing to close our heart in that moment to another. And our heart is not an off and on switch as we may think, so we are equally closing the door on ourselves too.

What I realise is that there is a deeper relationship we can have both with ourselves and with all others that can only be accessed if we are willing to be open and honest in each moment, whenever the opportunity arises.

By truly re-connecting with my heart and sharing what is truly going on for me, I have learnt that we don’t have to dump on another our issues simply because our heart would never do that. I realised that we can simply share our experience and by reconnecting with ourselves we all can learn from the experiences being shared. It deepens our understanding of each other, our honesty and our ability to trust, let others in and share all we are with them.

With inspiration from Serge Benhayon, a man who has inspired so many by his willingness to be open and real with how he lives and what is possible when love is made the founding impulse of life.

By Joshua Campbell, IT Professional, NZ

Related Reading:
The Art of Being Me
The importance of expressing truth
Not the typical man-to-man conversation

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858 thoughts on “How are You?

  1. Joshua, this makes sense, ‘What I realise is that there is a deeper relationship we can have both with ourselves and with all others that can only be accessed if we are willing to be open and honest in each moment’, I can feel how often I feel an awkwardness when someone asks how I am, many thoughts come in such as ‘can I really be honest’, ‘do they really want to hear’, ‘Ill make it sound a bit better than it is’ and so there is not always a true response, it can be calculated, I can feel how taking a pause and really feeling into how I am in that moment and then simply expressing this would allow me to be truthful and allow a connection to be there with myself and with others, this is definitely worth experimenting with.

  2. ‘What I realise is that there is a deeper relationship we can have both with ourselves and with all others that can only be accessed if we are willing to be open and honest in each moment, whenever the opportunity arises’. Honesty and openess is great medicine in all our relating with others.

  3. Ah yes, we all know this one, sounded from our own mouths multiple times.

    Q: How are you?
    A: I’m good

    Translation – I’m good so do not ask me to delve deeper into the way I am living that is not truly supporting the expression of my true self in the world. I am good and so are others. There is nothing to see here, moving right along…

    It is our lack of transparency and unwillingness to be open and honest with ourselves and each other that sees us establish what then becomes the status quo of what we deem ‘normal’. So sadly, it is normal to respond in this way and downright freaky to tell people how you truly feel (without dumping). We need to turn it around so that connection becomes the norm’ and disconnection is seen as the unfashionable one.

  4. I read this and agreed in full with what you shared, then I stopped and asked myself how often I say good and move on, how willing I am to have a slightly longer conversation when I am not so good. There are many layers to look at and I thank you for offering me another.

  5. We are so used to people asking each other from a functional point of view how we are, and very rarely do you get an honest assessment of what’s really going on with another. Maybe for two reasons, one we do not want to burden the other person with our problems, and two we do not believe the person actually wants to know, so everything is kept on a superficial level – all at arm’s length.

  6. It is interesting that Hi how are you is the chosen greeting – it does suggest that we want to care for each others wellbeing, even if we aren’t ready for the details.

  7. I wonder why it’s so hard for us to just be straight forward and honest, and at what point we learnt to deceive or lie to people, if we are honest then we can support each other to move forward.

  8. Especially in business, there seems an unwillingness to show how you are really doing. You have to be protected, saying “I am good” or “I am busy” are ways that you are always doing well. That is a lie as we are humans, and on what ever level we are living, life is not a flat line and also not a line only going up in a straight line.

  9. ‘Good’ often has different meanings for different people when we define it relative to our experience…and hence a simple answer can mean a multitude of different things. It is so important to have a one-unified understanding of what a word means, otherwise we will continue to experience misunderstandings from the same words used.

  10. We deconstruct evil when we express our truth, and by this expression (which can mean in words or movement or a simple stare) – we save ourselves and the world – as we leave by this expression a full breath of truth – which leaves no space for any evil. This is why truth and the expression of it must be lived in and through us as best as we can, in order to dissolve (stop giving energy to) the force of evil.

  11. I say bring back the days when words are clearly defined and very specific again. This honouring of the energetic, deeper meaning of a word will play a significant role in restoring life and our relationships to the depths they can be, rather than the superficiality of the auto responses we currently use. These unfelt, staccato responses actually put a wall up between us and say, “Go away, I am not letting you into my inner world of how I really feel”.

  12. I bumped into a friend this morning when I was out walking. I hadn’t seen him for a while, and because I wanted to know, I asked him how he was. He responded with “Do you want the short version or the long version?” I said I wanted the long version, I got it and left feeling very joyous with our meeting.

  13. It strikes me being super-precise with the words we choose and use is a very good way to really pay attention to what we’re actually feeling, rather than not tuning in and using a one-size-fits-all expression.

  14. Why don’t we share for example ““I am going really well. I am feeling great in my body because I chose to eat foods that nourish and support me this morning, unlike the other morning where I realised the foods I ate made me feel rather heavy and dull before coming to work. And in addition I had a supportive rest last night, which left me feeling vital and jubilant when I awoke. Also, the self-honouring gentle exercises that I did before coming to work really supported my body for the working day, spent sitting at my desk.” When someone asks how we are doing? Why not? Are we more comfortable not standing out?

  15. When we express to another what vibration are we aliginng to? this is the key, for if our movements are those of appreciation and acceptance of who we are- a simple How are you? will be deeply felt by another instead of just a token of niceness with no real intention behind it.

  16. Joshua this really reminded me how often we ask the question ‘How are you’ and how often we ask in order to be polite, without wanting to know how someone truly is, and in responding we also hold back how we truly feel, time to be more open and honest, and allow another to feel that honesty isn’t judged in anyway.

  17. I find when someone asks me “How are you?” to take a moment feel my body and then answer from here. The answer that is expressed is usually clear, precise and honest, but if I am disconnected from my body and in a rush I usually flounder for an answer and it feels totally different. Observing ourselves when we are asked these questions in our daily lives allows us to see how we are moving and interacting within our day and gives us much to explore about our own connection to our bodies true expression.

  18. After using the word ‘good’ as an automatic response to the standard ‘how are you?’ question for many years I now have come to a place when this answer does not feel comfortable in my body. In fact if I ever slip into the old habit and reply ‘good’ I can almost hear my body say ‘really? – I sure don’t feel good today!’ The use of the word good as an instant reply has become so commonplace and getting the children around me to use any other word except good has been a real challenge as it is well and truly anchored into their response vocabulary from a very early age.

  19. All to often we use ‘good’ as a way of responding to people when they ask how we are, i do this often. When in fact there is so much more to say. It is in getting more honest with each other and ourselves that we can only respond in a different and more transparent way.

  20. People often get surprised when they realise that I mean it when I asked them how they are. We are so used to just answering that question in an automatic way. I find people really light up within themselves when they feel that someone is genuinely asking that question.

    1. I have noticed the same Elizabeth. It is really lovely to allow for this deeper and more honest communication with someone and, more often than not, they really appreciate it.

  21. There is a lot more that is communicated than words, and it is our ability to read and discern that allows us to understand others just by the power of our movements in connection of who we are.

  22. I have noticed how people can actually go into reaction when asked how they are – including myself. We may be just saying that out of courtesy without expecting anything more than ‘I am ok’, but, nonetheless, this is an invitation for us to stop and feel where we are at, and sometimes honesty is the last place we want to go to.

  23. The problem is that over time we have created so many different meanings for the same words that are based on our own personal experiences, that much misinterpretation occurs which creates a whole host of issues in our relationships.

  24. “How are you?” ” Good thanks” – this is one of our biggest social lies. Very often the “I’m good” is a way of saying – please don’t go there and please don’t talk to me, I want to be left alone because I am overwhelmed with all that I am feeling…Then of course there are those who you ask “How are you?” and you get a 45 minute presentation on every aspect and detail of how they are feeling…though this latter is much less common.
    In our current society we are more inclined to just say ‘Good’ as an answer to this age old question – perhaps this is because we are not willing to truly consider how we are (we might have gone somewhat numb or burried deeply within how we actually feel), or perhaps we feel that the other person is not really asking to hear the truth of how we are feeling and so to share would fall on deaf ears (which feels almost a worse fate when you actually open up in being honest) or perhaps, just perhaps things are truly ‘good’ and to say this and to share this with another in our current world of chaos, might seem too much for others to take and so we shrug our shoulders and say ‘good’ with a flatness so that we don’t shine too much amongst the many people who are so far away from feeling ‘good’.
    Wow – what an exploration of this most common social dialogue…Which one do you find you fall into?

  25. We have become so accustomed to engage in short talk which lacks true purpose or benefit for anyone, it is when we live with purpose that we understand that every word that is expressed carries power to change the lives of others around us.

  26. Being honest with how I feel opens up an amazing relationship with me – no matter how another may respond or react. If I’m saying I’m tired again and internally criticising myself for being tired, yet again, I can look at my frustration with myself and ask, what is it I would like to be doing for myself that I am not, why is this and how can I support myself with, say, going to bed early or not taking on harsh words.

    Expressing how I feel feels to me to having already taken a huge step in acceptance of where I am at and is opening the door to asking for support if needed. Once expressed there’s a choice that’s been made that says yes, there is no denying what is there and what is the next step in my awareness in me, in our relationship, etc. It’s an opening of the door to intimacy and connection. Anything other than this feels very dull and grey.

  27. Beautifully expressed Joshua. As I read these words I could see that the words themselves form part of a construct that is a lie. For in truth there is no good or bad, right or wrong, simply truth and lies.

  28. This way of saying good is part of what we made life to be. We don’t really connect with each other and we seem to feel like it is impossible to do so. We might be honest to our close family and friends but not with people out of our comfort zone. Yet what if we would start to open up to everyone and be ourselves with everyone… how amazing is life then going to be?

  29. Our context and use of the word good to define anything we say or do can be very deceptive as the subjectivity of what our actual standard of good is can vary immensely.

  30. How much are we willing to be truly honest in communicating and expressing to another and how much do we hold back? There have been many many times when I have been reserved and not expressed just exactly how I am. Something for me to ponder on as to why I have and sometimes still do this.

  31. We may think we can hide through the usage of words but in truth no matter what we choose to run away from or try to throw dust in another’s eyes we all can feel truth. It is constantly there… all we need is presence and the willingness to see everything.

  32. There has been times when I get annoyed at being asked how I am – mainly when I am tired and don’t want to go there. So it has me wondering what percentage of people actually do not want to be asked ‘How are you?’.

  33. Yes when ‘I don’t trust you’ is the foundation of a conversation, we are not truly open with others but asking for them to prove themselves before we’re prepared to be transparent…

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