Here’s a quick riddle for you.
Do you know the one question that is asked literally millions of times a day all over the world, people rarely answer it honestly when it’s asked to them, and it’s a question that people almost never direct at themselves, even though they should on a daily basis?
No worries, let’s cut the suspense and get to it. Here it is:
“How are you?”
So, really–how are you?
This is such a simple question, and your willingness to answer it honestly is the main difference between making 2015 the most positive year possible, or another year that was just like last year (which isn’t a good thing if 2014 was a hot mess.)
Think that’s an exaggeration? It’s not.
I’ll prove it.
Avoiding the Question
Just so we’re on the same page here–when I’m talking about answering the “how are you?” question honestly, I’m not saying that you need to spill your guts to any random character who decides to ask you that question.
I don’t really care how you choose to answer that question when someone else asks you how you’re doing. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been guilty of saying that you were “fine” many times when you felt like crap inside.
That’s cool–we’ve all been there. Here’s what I do care deeply about:
How do you answer that question when you direct it at yourself?
My goal is to make 2015 much better than 2014 for everyone reading this (yes, that includes me too), and that can only happen if we are willing to go to the nearest mirror, look ourselves in the eyes and answer this question with full, unfiltered honesty:
How are you doing, really?
Here’s the problem–what if you don’t have the guts to ask yourself that question and answer it honestly? Truthfully, a lot of people don’t have the courage to do it.
Some people choose to numb themselves from the world with booze, drugs and overeating to avoid having to confront the reality of that question.
Some people choose to mindlessly spend countless hours each day surfing Facebook, watching DVR’ed shows or playing video games to avoid having to confront the reality of that question.
Some people choose to bury themselves into their careers, their schoolwork or their parenting duties to avoid having to confront the reality of that question.
I personally know way too many people who are terrified to ask themselves this question (I used to be one of them), and most of them will do anything in their power to avoid having to answer it. I think I know why.
That’s because being honest about how you’re feeling means that you have to do something about it if you don’t like the answer.
I’ve already discussed the insanity of running away from our problems, and I think that it’s equally as insane (if not, more so) to run away from our feelings. There’s only one remedy for this issue:
Stop. Completely stop.
Stop reaching for another glass of wine. Stop scrolling through your News Feed deciding which one of your buddies to cyber-stalk on Facebook. Stop glorifying your need to be busy all of the time.
Just stop, find five minutes of alone time (and I don’t care how busy you think you are, you have five minutes), make sure that your mind is clear as it can be, and then ask yourself in a mirror, “how are you doing, really?” Most importantly of all, answer that question honestly.
I’m very passionate about this topic because I’m speaking from recent experience about the positive effects of doing so.
As you probably already know, I took a few weeks off in December to completely unplug from the digital world and the professional world, and refocus on what’s truly important in my life–namely, my family and friends.
During this time, I did exactly what I said above.
On a morning last week when I was home alone (and even though it might sound corny to some people reading this), I went to the nearest mirror, looked myself in the eyes and asked myself, “how are you doing, really?” And truthfully, I didn’t like the answer. I’m always going to keep it real with you, so here are some examples of what I discovered:
- I was sad that I used my career and this blog as an excuse to not be in contact with my parents and other family members as much as I should.
- I was resentful and emotionally-drained that I allowed some people in my personal and professional life to dump their drama at my feet on a way-too-frequent basis.
- I was scared that certain health issues would only get worse if I didn’t make it more of a priority to take care of myself (no worries, it’s nothing serious.)
- I was disappointed that many of the goals that I set for myself in 2014 have now become “2015 goals” because I didn’t do as much as I could to achieve them last year.
- I was embarrassed that in the past month, I noticed that in some areas of my life I wasn’t following my own advice.
Here’s the beautiful thing about all of this. None of us are perfect and all of us will slip up on this positivity journey from time to time. However, if I didn’t take the time to stop and get real about how I was really feeling, chances are that I would have kept burying my head into my work and ignored all of the above issues until it was too late.
By simply stopping and getting real about my feelings, I’ve now addressed each of those issues and I’m fully re-focused on walking the path toward my best life. That’s why 2015 is going to be the most positive year of my life.
Most importantly, here’s some potentially life-altering advice for anyone reading this:
This year (or anything else) will not be a positive experience if it’s built on a foundation of a lie.
So, are you willing to get real with yourself, starting today? Let’s find out.
Time to Get Real in 2015
I have to offer a quick disclaimer:
If you choose to ask yourself “how are you doing, really?” the answers you might find could hurt like hell.
- You could find out that your marriage is a complete, loveless, soul-destroying joke.
- You could find out that you deeply dislike yourself and/or the person you’ve become.
- You could find out that the persistent pain in your abdomen is a lot more serious than you’ve been willing to admit.
- You could find out that you’re still secretly wishing to be back with your ex.
- You could find out that you’re pursuing a degree or a career that you have never really cared about because you didn’t want to let down your parents, your significant other or someone else in your life.
- You could find out that you’ve been suppressing your true sexual orientation.
- You could find out that you are terrified of having people at your job find out that you’re not as good as they think you are.
- You could find out that you are depressed because you think that you’re failing as a parent.
- You could find out that you really do have a substance abuse problem.
Contrary to what you might think, all of this is positive because all positive change starts with honesty and authenticity.
It doesn’t matter what you find, the key is that now is the time to get real and do something to positively deal with it. Nothing changes unless we do, and no amount of Keeping up with the Kardashians, playing Candy Crush on Facebook, or burying ourselves under mountains of work at the office will help us to get to where we need to be.
Committing to making 2015 our best year ever will require some serious work, and this work is not for everyone. Some people will read this and still choose to keep running from the feelings that they will never escape from. Other people will make the time to stop, look themselves in the eyes in a mirror, and ask this life-altering question:
“How are you doing, really?”
And if they find the courage to answer it honestly, it could have the power to positively change their lives forever.
This is what I want for us in 2015, and beyond.
Have you ever been afraid to get real with yourself by diving deep into how you’re truly feeling? Have you ever addressed how you’re really feeling and experienced any positive breakthroughs because of it? Either way, don’t hesitate to jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!