Being self-aware means that we are aware of our emotions and emotional state at any moment, which can positively affect our thoughts and behaviors in any situation. We may even be able to even see ourselves objectively - what we say and do as seen from the perspective of someone else. This requires emotional intelligence, and like most things, it can be developed and fostered.
Building powerful practices to foster self-awareness is key. These include journalling, mindfulness, goal setting among others. Yet, the simplest thing we can do for ourselves is simply take five minutes every day to check in with ourselves and ask some powerful questions.
What is the most powerful yet understated question of them all? There is a straightforward question that holds so much weight, yet it’s often overlooked.
‘How are you?’
How many times, on any given day, are we asking this question? How many times, on any given day, are we answering it?
‘How are you?’ is a powerful question because it holds many cultural nuances as well, believe it or not. I am Italian by origin — the name is a giveaway, I know — yet, I have lived in the UK for 10 years.
My culture has taught me to answer this question quite honestly.
I am good. Have been better. Ups and downs. Grazie.
The more time I have spent on this Earth, the more I realize most people ask this question within a whole different context. ‘How are you?’ is not really the question people are asking. On far too many occasions, it’s just a courtesy, something you ask when you greet a friend, a coworker.
On a professional level, you are expected to get over it as quickly as humanly possible.
I am great. Peachy. Hunky Dory. All groovy.
As a natural consequence, we have unlearned how to ask and answer the question in the most honest way. Not to force ourselves to respond in a 3-worded sentence.
‘How are you?’ should allow us to go deeper, reflect on how we are truly doing. If anything, it can be a check-in to remind us that it is okay to acknowledge our feelings and let others know we need support or are open to give it to them.
This is by no means a criticism of social manners. Yet, it’s an observation that we can reclaim this powerful question and use it as a tool to help us face our feelings.
If we were to stop before answering the question ‘How are you?’, we may discover something new about ourselves. Or learn something about the people around us. Be of service.
So how am I right now?
I am overwhelmed. I am overworked. I am aware of it and accept it. I have a book coming out, goddammit. I am also grateful for the opportunity to help thousands on a topic that feels so important to me. I am also worrying my mental health may struggle to cope, and I may snap from one moment to another. Those worries keep me awake some nights. I am proud. Massively proud of myself. For what I have overcome, achieved, and what I am building.
Over to you. I want you to create some space to answer this question for yourself.
How are you today?