“How are you?” Simple question…or not?
Such a simple question, but do you ever find it difficult to answer? I do and so I wanted to share my musings on this.
Generally when I see someone I know they will ask “How are you?” Depending on how I am feeling at the time can really make a difference to how this question impacts me. Now if I’m asked by a good/close friend I’m usually happy to be honest about how I am feeling, but what about people we don’t know so well or in situations where there isn’t much time or it wouldn’t be appropriate to go into detail? I find this type of situation challenging, because I hate not being honest, and I don’t like how I feel uncomfortable in these situations. And yes I have totally hidden from people in public places to avoid this.
It occurred to me that whilst I sometimes find “How are you?” difficult to answer, I still go around saying it to other people. So maybe this is the place to start. What could we say to other people when we greet them to start a conversation?
“How are you?” is a simple question on the surface, but is the asker really open and reception to the true answer from the person they ask it of? Do we realise that it might be difficult for someone to answer?
“I see you”
A lovely man called Nick Haines I met a few years ago shared with me an African greeting that I really loved. When people meet they look into each other’s eyes and say “I see you” and the other person says “I am here.”
I thought this was really beautiful, a true honouring of each other’s presence in the moment. I think we might be a way off using this in the UK, but I thought of a couple of ways to incorporate this into our lives.
When you meet someone instead of straight away asking “How are you? experiment with saying “It’s good to see you”
Look at yourself in the mirror each morning and say to yourself “I see you”
Though it might be strange to greet in the street this way, could we greet the people we live with in the morning, or when we get back from our busy days