“I’m good. How are you?”

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

This is the typical response, when asked how we are doing. We may have had the worst day ever, just finished a huge fight with our spouse, and had a fender-bender, but the minute another person asks how we are doing, we quickly respond with that expected response – “I’m good. How are you?”

How many times in a day do we pass someone and say, “How are you?” We don’t really expect them to tell us. It’s really more of a formality. How sad is that? How sad that we are too busy, too selfish, or too occupied to really find out how another human being is doing.

Why? I think there are several reasons for this. We don’t want to be rejected, laughed at, or be thought of as a complainer. We don’t want to be vulnerable. We don’t want someone to see our weaknesses. On the flip side, we don’t want to take the time to listen to someone else’s problems. We have enough of our own. If we find out that someone has a need, we might just feel like we need to meet that need. That takes empathy. Empathy takes work.

In the past few months, I have tried something new. I have tried to take that extra five minutes to really ask someone how they are doing. Usually that means repeating the question twice, so that they know that I really want to know the answer. It means looking them in the eyes, and maybe reaching out to touch them. It means being present in the moment. I can’t do this all the time, but I’m trying to do it more. You know what I found out? It’s worth it! It takes the focus off of myself and my problems, and allows me to minister to the heart of another. Sometimes, it allows me to stop right there and pray for them. Don’t just say that you will pray for them. Take 30 seconds and do it! What a huge blessing – for them and for me.

I bring up this topic, because I know that so many are hurting. You see the world through the filter of grief and heartache. I’m challenging you to stop and to take a minute to remove your self-focused glasses, and to see the struggles of those around you. This world is so much bigger than our current circumstances. Take a minute or five and next time you ask someone how they are doing, dig deeper and find out the real answer.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2015.  May not be used or re-printed without permission.  bp6808-19-15

2 thoughts on ““I’m good. How are you?”

  1. I love this!!! As someone who has had many struggles with anxiety and depression, I know first hand how truly nice it is when someone looks you in the eyes and you feel like you can genuinely tell them what’s bothering you without feeling like you’re being an inconvenience to them. Sometimes all someone needs to make their day a bit better is to know that someone cares.

  2. violaswift I too suffer with anxiety and depression. Sometimes when someone asks how are you, they don’t know that you might look fine, but you’re not fine. The extra 5 minutes they take might be the 5 minutes that makes your day a better day.

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