How Are You, Really?

When someone asks you how you are, you usually just smile and say fine, thanks – right? But what if you gave a longer, more honest answer? What if every time someone asked how are you? you told them how you really felt.

I remember coming across an article online a few months ago that posed this exact question and reading it felt like a eureka! moment. How could such a simple concept seem so revelatory? Have I gone through life lying to both myself and others every time someone asked me how I was? Pretty much.

But that’s the thing – we’ve all done it.

No matter how troubled or stressed or unhappy we may have been, we lied and said I’m fine, thanks, and you? And my question is: WHY? Why do we do this to ourselves over and over again? Why aren’t we more honest and truthful and forthcoming? I’ll tell you why – because the majority of us don’t want to talk about our feelings.

Granted, you’re not going to tell a random stranger on the street or your barista your life story if they enquire how you are, but when a loved one, close friend or family member asks after your well-being, we should be telling the truth and having real conversations with them.

So, let me ask you … how are you? How are you, really?

I’ve been okay, I can’t complain. Work is stressing me out, but when does that ever not happen? I’ve been taking a lot of time lately for myself and thinking about what I really want in life. I’ve been thinking a lot about writing, actually, and what it means to me, how I write and why I often get writers block. I’ve been worrying about my health, specifically my chronic migraine diagnosis. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life allowing this disease to control me. I’m pissed every single time I’m forced to go to bed at 8:00 PM just because my migraine is forcing me to. I’ve lost count of all the hours I’ve lost to this horrible disease and I’m pretty much over it.

I’m happy about all the new friends I’ve made online this year. They’ve brought so much happiness into my life and it feels as if they came along at just the right time. They make me smile every day and I’m thankful for that, especially on my bad days. I’m good – just taking it one day at a time which is all any of us can do, right?

Some days are better than others and I’m okay with that. Nothing is ever going to be perfect so I’m learning to take the bad with the good and try to strike a healthy balance between the two. I’ve been doing well because I’m taking better care of myself than I ever have before. In the past, I felt like I didn’t deserve to be taken care of. Like I hadn’t earned it. Well, I’ve earned it now and looking after myself and putting me first is making me really very happy.

So now tell me: how are you? How are you, really?

6 thoughts on “How Are You, Really?

  1. First a brief story: I went through a period in my mid-20s in which I vowed to always answer “how are you?” in the most honest way I could. This stopped after I realized that giving any other answer than “fine” or “great!” “terrific!” etc, resulted in people asking “what’s wrong?” and delving into all kinds of personal information that was none of their business. After my third or fourth attempt to extricate myself from an intimate inquisition from a complete stranger on a bus, I went back to “pretty good” and “can’t complain.”
    All of which leads up to my answer – “I can’t complain.” I’m one of those lucky people whose career has not been threatened by the Pandemic, who has stable housing that did not burn down in wildfires this Summer, and who finds it relatively easy (maybe even preferable) to communicate with friends and family at a distance. All that, and I’m planning to get a new kitten this weekend, so my quality of life at home can only improve (even if it’s a little chaotic for a while).


      1. I’m debating between “Homunculus” (after the 1916 film), “Vitus” (after Bela Lugosi’s character from “The Black Cat”) and “Mephistopheles” (after you-know-who).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel ready for a break honestly. Work has been a lot, no matter how much it matters to me. For me a break is shutting myself off from all and everyone, which includes even those closest to me. Not too long that you become lonely but long enough to let my body and mind unwind.

    I’ll make contact when I’m good and ready 😀

    In the meantime, I’m finish music my happy space. I’m not a lyrics person but music washes over me feeding my mood, whether that is melancholy (usually this) or otherwise.

    Loved reading this Vanessa and it’s perculating thoughts in my mind. I might be ready to talk about it more. But not till I have my break 😀😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you, Chris. I’m very much the same way in that when I say I need a break, it means that I need to be by myself for a long stretch of time. No one else. In the past, my loved ones have been offended by that because they felt as if I was intentionally ignoring them in favour of choosing to spend time on my own. They thought I was angry at them, but that’s never been the case. It sounds like we both are the type of people who need to recharge our batteries on our own and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

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