Monday 20 July 2015

So, How Are You Really?

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I hate when people ask how you are and you can tell they just don't care and are only asking because it's the polite thing to do.

It's one thing to work in a customer service type environment where it's part of the job description and daily script to ask people how they are or how their day's going, it's another to do it for the sake of keeping up appearances.

I know it gets tedious asking people about themselves, especially when you get caught up in the drama of their lives which no one really wants, but then you realize that you might be the only person to ask after them in a long time. Stuff builds up over time. You could be doing them the greatest favour by checking in with them.

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Everyone needs to feel loved, acknowledged, appreciated and ultimately like someone cares about and for them, yet so few people do, and even fewer people speak up or do something about it.

The number of times I've been asked how I'm doing just generally and I've answered 'not too bad thanks' or 'good thanks, how are you?' when I had WW3 happening inside me at the time. Sometimes I didn't trust the person I was talking to enough to open up to them, other times I just didn't want to think about what was going on for me so a simple answer worked best for everyone.

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It's different though when you've suffered a great loss. Not just because people don't really know how to approach you during the grieving process, but the ones that really care do ask, especially if they can empathise with you, they welcome the opportunity to do so.

It's funny how little you actually know about a person even if you see them every day or every week. Some people don't show it, others show it too much, everyone else varies.

As I've mentioned in a fair few blog posts now about my experiences growing up in a relatively strict religious environment, everything always seemed superficial. If you were going through a hard time, people really only wanted to know so they had something to gossip about, there was no love there, at least none that I truly felt.

During my time at church and related activities, I had a very selective friendship group. I don't mean that in a Mean Girls 'you can't sit with us' kind of way, I mean I found myself drawn to people who knew the harder side of life but you'd never know unless you took the time to get to know them. Everyone else outwardly seemed like they didn't know what troubles or hardships were and the way they looked at or treated people who knew better showed it just as much.

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Even now I have very few friends from the few friends I had at church. Some of them I occasionally keep in contact with because we still understand each other, others I've grown apart from, as is the way with life in general.

When I look back on my time in high school and various friend groups, I always wanted to be the confident and popular one, but I was permanently stuck at the bottom of the social heirarchy and resolved that it was just my lot in life. I knew at the end of the day that I didn't really need a group of friends that were popular, I just needed one person who for the most part had my back and that I could trust implicitly. While the friendship I did have for most of my schooling wasn't perfect, I knew that despite our differences, we had each other even if we drove each other insane half or most of the time.

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I think in order to get anywhere in life, you just need one or two people who you know you can rely on without fail. If you find more than that, consider yourself incredibly blessed because they will be invaluable assets.

It's like that saying about feeling alone in a room or crowd full or people versus feeling complete by yourself and supported by the few that you're close to.

So now I ask you, how are you really?

Just remember: it's okay not to be okay. Don't let anyone tell you differently. :-)

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