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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835 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.

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