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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1,002 thoughts on “How are You?

  1. Answering ‘good’ is a sure way to nip the conversation in the bud, to put up a stop sign and not go any further with how the day really was. It is a way to answer that asks you to be left alone.

  2. I find it helps to ask ‘How are you?” and not ‘How are you doing?’ In response to the former recently I got truth back from someone honest enough to expressed the upheaval going on in their life. To me it can be a checking in question which doesn’t focus on what a person is doing, but how they’re feeling.

  3. What I have realized is that if someone said I am good – the Body speaks the truth – as I could read that this person did not feel good at all. The truth is we all feel it and so we do not need to hide.

  4. When people ask how I am I find it amusing even if I haven’t responded in asking how they are some don’t listen to my answer and instead tell me how they are – often ‘good;, as you mention in your blog. If I ask the question its cos I actually want to really know how someone is, otherwise its just window dressing.

  5. Having a bad day used to be my norm but now it’s a rarity because of the way I now look at life; not as something that is a struggle but every situation has something to offer and learn from.

  6. Whatever we say it is really the tone, the resonance that another more often than not picks up on. Staying clear then and steady in ourselves are some of the greatest gifts we can present to the world.

  7. Interesting point you raise about how words these days can bring in more ambiguity into the world. Saying ‘good’ when it can mean a myriad of different things and also saying good especially when you are truly not feeling good creates a feeling of mistrust because the other person would feel on some level that you are not good but the words coming out of that persons mouth say good. Another version to quote a modern day term #fakenews…..or limited news in some cases as well.

  8. Agreed, words are far more powerful than we give them credence for. What we say really matters because it can leave space around us for further discussion, evolution or support perhaps, or they can close us off and cap any support that could come our way.

  9. The conversation ‘How are you – good thank you’ is one of the biggest social lies. Rarely does anyone really want to know how you truly are and so many times people do not really want to share how they truly are – so the conversation becomes one that is superficial, skimming the surface of all that is brewing underneath.

  10. Sometimes we don’t even know how we are feeing. And, we could use many words to actually communicate not much. It is in our connection we access to the true richness of what is there to be expressed therefore shared.

  11. The truth is we don’t really need to ask a person how they are to know how they are because we can feel how a person is.

    1. There a times, when moved by intuition and separated by distance, a simple text sent with the question ‘How are you?’ brings an honest response revealing how a person is feeling.

  12. As someone who has hidden behind the ‘good’ answer for many years what I am feeling re-reading this today is that whilst I don’t necessarily need to go into much detail I can answer in an open way that conveys much more to the other person and does not attempt to hide my vulnerability as I would have in the past.

  13. Expression is so important and I agree, a quick cursory ‘good’ is often a way of not truly expressing ourselves. What I also find is that there is often a sense in the question ‘how are you?’ itself that doesn’t really call for any other answer. It can be a cursory enquiry met with a cursory answer. So the lack of true expression can be both in the question and the response. And as I write, I wonder whether there is a relationship between the word cursory and curse?

  14. Thank you Joshua, great to read this again today. It’s definitely something that causes me to hold back the honesty in my expression if I have the thought ‘I don’t want to bring others down’ by saying what’s really going on for me. When I do speak honestly sometimes people turn off or away, and others enjoy the realness and being part of my life. Regardless of the outcomes it’s good to commit to this loving and honest expression of ourselves.

  15. Lately I am realising how little I actually allow myself to feel how I am feeling. So, the response ‘good’ is actually a cover up for the fact that I haven’t taken the time to explore how I really feel. This is something I am exploring and finding a huge easing in my body when I just name what I feel. It is always pretty or desirable but being honest with myself is allowing me to get to know more of who I am rather than the person I created to get by in life.

    1. That is such a pertinent point. How often do we feel things and then find a way to not feel things? Feeling things means we need to address them and to address them we need to understand them. Sometimes that process feels too scary and hard.

  16. What are we really saying when we say “how are you?”? Of course sometimes we genuinely want to know, but isn’t it so often just words thrown out as a habit without any true care for the other person, like the “have a great day” that so often follows such a communication. This can be felt by all of us but don’t we accept it as normal and then do the same to another?

  17. We tend to hold up the image of that we are fine or good but behind we are not and everybody does see it. Because of this game we play we have lost the true meaning of words, ‘good’ does not reflect anymore the activity of ‘good’ but instantly shows us the bastardised version and in accepting that we have further stepped away from the open, delicate and sensitive feeling people we are.

    1. We have also lost the true and whole versions of each other by saying we are ‘good’ when there is so much more of ourselves to share.

      1. Can we say we are so lost, lost in the turmoil of human life and much more so than we dare to admit.

  18. But why do we ask ‘how are you’ in the first place because when we are honouring our innate sensitive and delicate nature we can sense from a distance how somebody is. So do we ask this from a kind of politeness or do we just enjoin the game in keeping the facades up of not remembering one another that we are not from this three dimensional space but so much more?

    1. What a good point Nico, if we can feel how the other person is why not comment on that rather than playing the game of asking them how they are, triggering the “good thank you” response from them. What if we said instead “you feel (whatever they feel like) today what is going on?” Instead of a lie triggering a lie, (a lie because often we are often not really interested in how they are), a truth offering them the opportunity to express truth.

      1. Indeed Doug, when we truly care about people we would simply confirm them in their glory when we meet or when they are a little off, support them to return to that glorious state we all deserve to live every day.

      2. I love it Nico, that would be a true friend. The former is someone that doesn’t really care, perhaps because they are too absorbed in their own stuff to truly see the other person.

  19. I find saying you are ‘good’ shuts down any further enquiry or conversation or sometimes it’s a test to see if people really do want to know. But the way I and others ask, “how are you”? can also shut down the response. It can be said in a way that says, “I am acknowledging you but don’t really want to know/don’t have time/don’t care”.

    1. Yes, when it is asked and the person doesn’t even stop for an answer I have stopped responding. Not to be rude but to honour the fact that the question was never actually asked. They more like meant to say ‘hi!’

    2. So true Fiona. Do we really have the time to listen to how another is feeling? If I ask the primary school age children in school how they are I often get the response ‘good’. Time for me to feel into how I am asking that question.

  20. we have become so staccato in our communication that we do not allow ourselves to firstly feel into our response and then fully express what we feel to say. A word such as good can then be used as a way to block communication and keep up a wall of protection so as not to feel nor show how we are truly feeling.

    1. And too do we not give people the opportunity, by asking these questions, to say that closed off ‘I am fine’ or ‘thank you I am good’ while from our claircentience we already know how anybody is?

      1. good point Nico, we could change our phrasing to be more open to a true answer but at the same time we also need to look at whether we are truly wanting someone to give us an answer or if it was just a ‘polite’ gesture’ Communication always goes two ways and is in energy first and foremost before it is expressed in words.

  21. Even the most mundane questions and or conversations about the weather can be much more when a true sense of interest and care for the other person is expressed simply by the tone of the voice, one´s posture and presence. Of course words are most important but even more so is the energy behind it and this comes first and foremost from the quality of presence of a person – energetic non-verbal communication.

  22. There is often so much in the “How are you?” “good thanks” statements that is not being said. We cap ourselves by not going into what we are feeling and the possibility of really connecting with another. But really it’s one of the easiest ways that we can learn and practice letting our guards down and share what we feel.

  23. A ‘how are you?’ Is definitely an invitation to expand on how we truly are, it is often ignored as a general greeting yet when we take the opportunity and are able to be open, it is amazing how much another begins to open up too.

    1. Yes, very much a wake up call because everyone feels the auto-pilot conversations so when they are asked without genuine interest and care, they can be even more painful. Our appalling rates of depression and suicide are testament to the need for this conversation

  24. There are always opportunities to go deeper into our conversations and our connection with people, we can inspire each other and pull each other up or we can stay stuck in politeness.

  25. When someone asks me how I am the first thing I feel whether it is a genuine question or not, as a lot of the times people ask ‘how are you’ and leave no or very little space to reply and start to tell how they are instead.

    1. I often get asked, ‘how are you’ on the phone, it is a common question and an opening to the conversation but most of the time it is just politeness and not a genuine inquiry. I have fallen into the habit of just answering the question in the same way. This blog and these awesome comments inspire me to go deeper and shift the quality and vibration of the conversation.

  26. Do we give ourselves, or the other person, the time and space to answer this and really communicate something? So many golden opportunities in the day and are we prepared to take them?

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