Richard Maun – How Are You?

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How Are You?

31 May 2020

This is an odd question. It’s designed as a healthy and nurturing enquiry and yet can be so difficult to answer honestly without a degree of intimacy being present.

If you’re English, the standard answer is …I’m fine, how are you?

To which the acceptable social answer is; I’m fine too.

So, that’s all good then. We are all fine. Nothing to report. Nothing to see here, please move along.

And we may be fine in that moment.

And what does ‘fine’ mean anyway? I suspect it’s a social shorthand for please go away.

The skill here is to notice the difference between our social response and what’s really going on for us.

Perhaps we woke up feeling sad, or we are listlessly watching Netflix and not really paying attention. Maybe something is agitating us.

Often we know when we have a feeling and yet we might push that away and put it back in it’s box. It’s curious we do this as adults and yet when with young children we notice their feelings and explore them, help the child to find meaning and soothe them.

As adults we don’t often get that nurture from others. We want the other person to be fine, so that they can carry on with the business meeting, or keep cooking dinner, or not take up our time with their complex and messy feelings.

Curious isn’t it, that we wouldn’t dream of doing that with a child.

I like being curious.

We are all children. Living in adult bodies and doing adult things and yet still children inside, who need time and space and love and care and understanding.

It’s okay to be not fine. To know when we feel safe with a friend and give them an honest answer. We might not want them to offer advice, as that can be tedious. We can ask them to listen to us though and have the chance to talk through what’s eating us.

Being heard is a joyful experience, even if the content may be dark. Often young children just want to be heard, and acknowledging someone is to care for them.

So, this week, when can you make yourself available to listen to someone? Perhaps instead of hosting another time wasting Zoom meeting, we can set up a time slot for people to drop in and be listened to. Ten minutes might be all they need.

And I hope you are fine. If not, then say hello to me and I will find time to listen to you.

Next week: The Joy Of Sadness


Click cover to view details on Amazon


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© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact