“How Are You?”
“Compared to Who?”
My friend tweeted something a while ago about how we should be honest about our feelings when we’re asked and we shouldn’t be afraid to vent because, in her words “you never know”. This pushed me to think a little.
This started as a twitter thread, but since it’s #WorldMentalHealthDay2019, it wouldn’t hurt to bring it here right?
I’m pretty sure we’re familiar with the deceptive (albeit very popular) act of murder that is in form of the question, “How are you?” It has become a rhetorical question.
Heck, for some people, it’s even a sort of greeting. I have broken down a lot of times at that question and started to pour out my heart to the person that asked, only to realize that it would have been more productive to teach a fish to fly. The question is an emotional trap that everyone is probably tired of falling into and has developed some sort of immunity to. So instead of answering honestly, they just say, “I’m fine”. After all, that’s what we were even taught in school as the response to the question. “I’m fine, thank you, and you?”
Thank you for what exactly? Caring? Lollies. At this point, it’s worthy of note that NOBODY IN THIS WORLD IS FINE. (Both asker and askee) Everybody has something that is eating them up. I’m sure it’s quite evident from the “O jewa ke eng” and “Sco pa tu ma naa” rave that Twitter still hasn’t recovered from. So please, if you’re not going to listen when they get honest with you about what they’re dealing with, don’t ask “How are you?” because the question in itself actually many times reminds them of the problem. “What’s up?” is a better alternative actually because it doesn’t trigger people as much as the former.
We do each other a disservice when we ask this question in passing, especially in these days where mental health is fast becoming a myth amongst many people. This is not in any way to encourage dependence on others for your mental health.
I preach self love, constant intentional development and personal resourcefulness, so I know better than to implore you to sit around and take note of people who at a time didn’t let you vent to them, because even the person that hasn’t given you a chance to vent has his own baggage to claim.
In the end, although everyone is responsible for the outcome of their own lives, our actions in one way or another affect others. So this is just for us to be aware of the details and the tiny drops so we’re careful of the things we take for granted. A lot of people are already roaming mad and naked on the streets of their minds. So if you can’t make it better, at least don’t make it worse.
This is my theory of cruel kindness.