Thinking.jpg (625138 bytes)How Are You?

People often ask “How are you?” Last winter was very difficult and occasionally I would run into people who would ask “How are you?’ I in turn would give some generic reply like “Great, how are you?” When in reality I wanted to confide and share something like: “You have no idea what I am going through.” Life was disappointing and challenging for me. Did you notice in the Hollywood headlines that Heather Locklear is seeking help for her anxiety and depression?  Wow, I guess life is disappointing and challenging for her too. Although at first glance I thought, how could a beautiful successful person not be happy?  I suppose the same way you and I struggle.

Many years back I was in the locker room at the YMCA and as I dressed I overheard two women talking. One woman was a tiny Asian lady. She shared the story of how her husband had recently died and what a difficult situation it had been. She hug.jpg (32444 bytes)had been pleading for help but couldn’t communicate in English very well. It was a heartbreaking story. I glanced at her as she left the locker room and if I hadn’t overheard this conversation I would have never know the suffering and pain she was living in. If you were acquainted with her and asked “How are you?” she probably would have replied “Fine” or maybe she would have said great because that is the acceptable response. We all put on our mask, the façade that hides our suffering, hurts and disappointments. We interact and pass by people everyday who are in pain, people who could use a kind word or smile. People who say everything is ok, when in reality their would is crashing in around them. Perhaps one of the lessons we are supposed to learn from our troubles is empathy. Today I’m going to take out those unpleasant emotions and remember them. Then I am going to consider that other people go through those same struggles and I’m going to keep that in mind as I interact with people.  Because I know that “fine” isn’t really how you are all the time.
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"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." - Leo Buscaglia