I feel fine, and thank you for asking

Yesterday’s post on self-talk drew some heartfelt comments.  I can tell it touched a chord.  I’d like to continue the discussion.

If you haven’t read Na’ama’s story about the little girl who stops to check in with her body before answering a question about how she’s feeling, please jump back a day and read it.  That little girl has a valuable lesson to teach us all.

I’d like to tie that story in with the comment that colonialist made about how we report on our health as a moral value (good vs bad) instead of just responding with how we are actually feeling, like the little girl in Na’ama’s story.

We are so conditioned to come up with the right answer, aren’t we?

How are you?

What’s the right answer?  Do I play it safe and just say “okay” like I’m supposed to?  Do I speak my truth and alienate everyone around me who is having a good day?  What if I say the wrong thing and people give me that pitying look, or that bored look, or that “whatever” look? Why is this is so complicated? I want people to like me.   I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer.  I don’t want them to think I’m a whiner.  But if I don’t tell them the truth then I have to move and act like I have energy that I don’t have.  Why should I pretend to be happy just to make them feel comfortable?  No matter what I say they’re never going to understand anyway.  

Have you ever held a conversation like that in your head?  We are so programmed to have the right answer.  All of our advertising tells us how we should look and feel.  We can’t even answer a simple, “Hi, how are you doing?” without going through mental gyrations.  We have forgotten how to be simple and innocent, taking the question at face value, checking in with our bodies and answering with the facts.  At this moment, right now in this place, I feel (fill in your own blank).  It’s not an equation seeking to identify the statistical mean of every moment of our lives.  Right here, right now, in this moment, how do you feel?  No moral “good vs bad” judgment.  Just find a simple answer to a simple question.

I feel fine, and thank you for asking.

Love, peace, hugs and good health to all of you.


10 Replies to “I feel fine, and thank you for asking”

    1. Hi Maggie, I think there are indeed many times when the question is — at the very least — asked in passing and not truly as an inquiry. The difficulty is to know when (and who) is asking to actually get an informative response, and when (and who) is asking just as a small-talk query-in-passing … That is even before we get to those who ask and do not really want to know … So … yes, it can certainly be a complicated kind of question to know HOW to answer, because it is not the same as “do you like coffee or tea?” or “how old are you?”
      Complicated and excellent point, Na’ama

      Liked by 2 people

  1. An excellent compromise, In my own case and the cases of people like me, though, it still presents a problem. I am undergoing radiotherapy for some malignant tumours. As you say, very few actually want to know about that sort of thing. However, the minute I say I feel fine, I am fibbing. In my case an appropriate reply might be: ‘Having a spot of bother, actually, but I’m working on it. Thanks for asking.’ I think most enquirers will leave it at that. If more details are requested, I’ll give them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A many layered topic! I have asked myself many of those questions when confronted with the perfunctory “How are you?” and the challenge is gauging whether the person is really interested. Otherwise the noticeable lack of interest is more upsetting when sharing how I’m really feeling. It is easier just to say “okay” and not risk the rejection, so to speak. Or, perhaps worse, the other person gets upset and I end up comforting him/her. Setting up a downward cycle. [I could write another chapter on answering that question when it is posed by a medical professional who has the judgment face on.]


    1. Yes those of us with issues (past or current) whose circumstances are not always pleasant, we do oftentimes end up comforting the questioner. That is all part of the questions we have to ask ourselves before answering. Good points you made. And I won’t even go into talking to a medical person.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing the story of the little girl I worked with and who taught me about being in the moment. I think that part of knowing what to answer can lie in not knowing what is actually asked ABOUT …. Is the person asking about my general well being? About how I feel at this very moment? About how I’ve been since we last spoke/saw each other? Are they asking about my health or about my life in general? It is not always clear (sometimes not even to the person who is asking!). So … I guess one can answer differently to different people who are asking the same question even on the same day/hour/situation, but who are asking with different agendas or perceptions or expectations … In my profession, we look at that as pragmatic intent — what is the communicative intent behind the query — to inform? to fill in a social blank? to inquire casually? to open a conversation? to offer an opportunity for elaborating on the topic? to ‘request’ an expected response?
    (yeah, I love communication, can you tell? ;))
    For me, at this moment, the answer is to “how are you?” is: I’m a little tired, a little achy, but overall doing well. Thank you for asking. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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