“You are enough just as you are.” – Meghan Markle
The last two weeks have been really challenging for me. It’s been difficult to focus and reign my mind in when it starts to wander. On top of all that, I have had numerous work meetings, phone calls, and presentations to present.
At least ten times a day, I am asked how I am doing. And at least ten times a day, my typical robotic response was “I’m good. How are you?” Oftentimes, this response feels deeply inauthentic as it might not be the best answer for how I’m feeling, and it feels painful to say when in actuality I am going through a rough time. As I offered this automatic response more and more, I felt my chest start to close up and the inauthenticity really start to wear me down. After a few days of this, I decided to be honest. When asked how I was doing, my new response went something like “I’m struggling, but I will get through it. I’m grateful I am alive to see another day.” Ahhh, that’s better.
I noticed a shift in my mood when I started answering genuinely and openly. This response opened up the pathway for additional energy to flow through and as a result, the phone calls, meetings, and presentations went a lot smoother and I was able to connect with my counterparts on a deeper level.
There is nothing wrong with replying robotically, however we use “I’m fine, how are you?” so frequently and indiscriminately, that it’s become meaningless. If you opt for a less generic, more genuine and descriptive answer, you’ll get the opportunity to snap your counterpart and yourself out of this robotic, unconscious, autopilot behavior and actually connect with whoever asked on a deeper level. You may even jump-start a much needed conversation!
Don’t be afraid to be honest. Having a terrible day is hard enough – trying to cover it up can be even worse. Oftentimes, being a little vulnerable with people strengthens the relationship and you never know when someone might respond, “Ugh, me too! Did the Universe get up on the wrong side of the bed or something?!” Always try to end all responses on a slightly optimistic note – like, “tomorrow will be better!”
The more we practice leveraging authentic responses, the easier it is to connect and collaborate with others. This allows us to take ownership of how we feel by practicing self-awareness, creating a space to heal, and optimizing our mental health in the process.