“How are you?”
Think about how many times you’ve been asked the question. Think about how many times you’ve answered it.
How often do you mean it?
We’re all guilty of arbitrarily asking it. It’s unconsciously polite; but with an undertone rooted in rudeness, given the lack of real concern in the question. I’m sure there are many times it is genuine, but if we went with ratios; the empty would far outweigh the heartfelt. Even typing this, I feel like it’s a social norm we’re all aware of and I’m having a Captain Obvious moment in calling attention to this. Why should it matter if it’s a status quo after all?
Status quo doesn’t necessarily mean “correct”. I’ve always been a firm believer in that.
That question is SO important. I can’t believe “Whip cream or no whip cream on that mocha?” ranks as a question that inspires more feeling than “How are you?”. That question is an invitation to open the door on the concerns and the feelings of another person. In turn, it also allows the recipient of the question to feel like their state of being MATTERS. Make no mistake, the world can be designed to make you feel like a credit score and a census number. Real emotion is the kind of commodity to be cherished when presented.
Is this practice so accepted because we fear what lies in the hearts of others we share streets, subways, workplaces, and other places with? Or do we fear being shunned and judged if our true concerns ever came to the light? After all, it seems like a layer of cold nature seems to be looked at as more desirable than a warm heart.
Can I challenge you to change that?
The exercise I propose is that the next time someone asks you how you’re doing, find your comfort zone and tell them. Alternately, if you ask that question to someone and their answer is the expected “fine”, politely find a way to NOT accept that answer. For all we know, they may really be. If so, there’s always supporting facts as to why; which you shall find out as a practicing DIFBer (best I can do until I find a better name for our fans) in the field :).
It’s really an amazing thing what a little sincerity does for any situation. I’m just asking that you find that out for yourself. The potential to make someone’s day can start with something that small if you LET it. Even the process is simple!
THE OFFICIAL DIFB “HOW ARE YOU” CHEAT SHEET
1. Approach person.
2. Introduce yourself cordially.
3. Ask “how are you?”. Sincerity is key.
5. React accordingly.
SIMPLE! How astounding is that? And you can start at anytime, any given moment. Do It For Brittany is based so much on the ability to be open about what one is feeling. Be it sending an email to us (firstname.lastname@example.org), checking out our Twitter @doitforbrittany, or using our Outcry section; all of these methods are based in the fundamental nature of what I’m discussing right now. “How are you” may be more powerful than “I love you” just based on the fact that EVERYBODY feels a certain way at any given time.
We live in times where nobody says what they mean and what they mean remains bottled up. Lets take back that question so it stops being an empty trio of words and an invitation for true feeling to shine through.
You’ll notice I’m stressing the FEELING of this all. Because if you learn to start saying a throwaway conversation piece with the respect it deserves; you may start doing the same about other things. Showing the confidence to not only ask, but also answer with poise and truth are traits of a strong soul.
See the pattern?
Until next time: loving yourself leads to loving each other.
#DIFB – Carl Jamar Wilson