“How are you?”
A simple yet impactful question to ask another human being.
Everyone is fighting their own battles. Battles that nobody but themselves knows of. Some may choose to confide their issues to someone else. Others will choose to bottle it all to themselves. Each and every one of us has our own story which shapes us into the person we are today.
People judge and will always have remarks about someone, both negative and positive. Be it their appearance or their traits. In this world, (as cliche as this may sound) nobody is perfect. We all have our differences and uniqueness. We all have an angel and a devil within us. In this world, people are given a choice. A choice to choose what kind of person they want to be.
“Look at her thighs. They resemble elephant trunks. I bet she eats like a glutton.”
She may have some medical issues or is battling with depression which causes her to binge eat. It may or may not be her choice to become like that.
“She’s so confident, I wish I could be like her.”
She may have had that talent since young, the talent of being outspoken. Yet again, she may have been a shy and timid girl in the past, and she decided to step out of her comfort zone.
I have met many people who appear to be happy on the outside but are suffering on the inside. They don’t share it with others for the fear of being betrayed. They don’t share it because others do not bother asking.
Try asking someone, “How are you?” and you can see the sort of answers they give. It can be that classmate whom you’ve never spoken more than a sentence to. It can be a teacher whom you are closest to. Or it can be that stranger who was crying in the corner alone that other day. Some may be comfortable sharing their problems with you. Whereas some may become defensive and won’t want to speak to you.
What comes after the 3 words?
Well, it depends on you. It depends on how far you want to take it to. Are you willing to become a listener and a bearer of their secrets? Are you willing to help them out?
To me, offering help and asking how that person is doing can make a difference. It may be insignificant at first, but in the long run, you may save a life. Friends of friends took their own lives because they did not have someone to turn to. I often hear, “If only I paid more attention.” “If only I offered help.” “If only I listened a little longer.” “If only, I didn’t turn him away.” Spending just 5 minutes or so to ask someone, “How are you?” may prevent any unwanted circumstances.
Throughout my entire secondary school life, I’ve met more than a handful of friends who tried taking their own lives. The majority of them appear to be the most bubbly and most cheerful people in the class. The amount of pain and suffering they were going through was insurmountable at that time. All they needed was for someone to listen.
“How are you?” can go a long way.