"How are you?"
That's probably the most common question we are asked. How many of us can say we ask question with the sincere desire to truly know how the person we are talking is doing? How many of us can say we answer that question honestly?
I think it's safe to say that most people ask and answer this question out of habit. Over the past couple of years I have learned just how much we hide behind this question. Most of the time I'm not expecting people to tell me how they really are doing, and I definitely am not honest in my answer to that question.
It's easier to not be honest in that answer because most of the time people don't really want to know the truth. We/They prefer the appearance that everything is fine. Why "air our problems" to others, especially those we don't really know?
The best example I have of this is the day after Lion passed. My mom and I went to the store to pick up some things I knew I wanted as memorabilia and for the funeral. As usual, the clerk asked, "How are you?" You can imagine my response. "Fine."
In the car my mom turned to me and said, you are most definitely not fine. You're son just passed away. You are not fine. And she was right, but I was able to put on a good front because it was easier than telling a complete stranger that my son had passed the night before. You can imagine how that would have gone.
I have found myself doing that more since then. It could be that I'm just more aware of it or it could be that I'm doing it more as a coping mechanism. I've had many people tell me that they are amazed at how well I'm doing based on what I've been threw. In a way they are right. I am doing well, but there are times I'm not.
I have felt like I've needed to be strong and hold up for those who are struggling, but here's where I admit something. It's hard to keep up the front. There are times I want to break down. There are times I struggle with it. There are times I don't want to feel like I have to be strong.
This is another reason I think it's a good idea to do the 51 Acts of Kindness. We just never know how someone is truly feeling. We never know what a little kindness will do to help someone feel like they are thought of. It doesn't take much to lift some one's spirits.
So, as you're looking for ways to be a little kinder, think about when you ask the question, "How are you?" Do you really mean it? Do you really want to know? What how the person answer and you may learn how that person is really doing, even if they say they are fine.