How Are You Feeling Today?
By Joan Whetzel
In the movie "Star Trek: The Voyage Home" Spock is in the process of regaining his memory and thinking skills. His human mother has programmed his computer to stop, mid-lesson, and ask "How do you feel?" Spock seems genuinely confused by this unorthodox and illogical question. "I do not understand the question," Spock says. To which his mother replies, "It's a simple question, Spock. How do you feel?" He has spent so many weeks trying to regain his Vulcan logic and knowledge, that his mother is afraid that Spock had been neglecting the human side of his soul.
How many times have we asked someone - or been asked by someone - "how are you?" without really looking for an in-depth answer from the other person? We are so busy filling our lives with the busy-ness of life that we don't ever stop to truly ask "How do you feel?" or "How are you doing today?" If we ask this question of ourselves and of others, and waited for the honest answer, what answer would we receive? Would we be surprised by the answer?
Ask Yourself: "How Am I Doing Today?
The purpose of asking ourselves this question is to:
1. examine and come to terms with our feelings so that we can function better and so that we can identify what is important to us.
2. clarify what we need so that we may express those needs to the people who care about us.
3. deal with the negative feelings that we have buried in order to "put on a happy face" when we face the world.
4. allow ourselves to simply feel instead of talking ourselves out of feeling, or beating ourselves up for feeling, or thinking that if we ignore those feelings they'll go away.
5. allow us to examine why we feel the way we do so that we don't take those negative feelings out on others.
Ask Someone: "How Are You Doing Today?
The reasons we should ask how others are doing, and truly listen to their answers include the following:
1. you get to find out who the other person really is.
2. you get to find out what's important to others.
3. you show respect for others.
4. the other person feels heard and seen, they feel important, like they matter.
5. it shows that you care for and value the other person.
Now What Are You Going to Do About It?
When you know how the other person feels, you may not need to do anything about it. The simple act of listening is enough. On the other hand, you also know what is important to that other person and so you know which acts and words will hurt them, and so you can avoid them. You know what occasions are important to them, and so you do something special for them. More importantly, it gives you an understanding that allows you to defend that person in their absence, against the negative words and acts of others.
What are you going to do with the answers you found out about yourself? First, examine the answers you got when you asked yourself "How are you doing today?" or "How do you feel?" Once you know how you feel, and why you feel that way, then make a plan to take care of yourself. For example, if you find that another person's actions and words have upset you, and you know why they are upsetting you, then you can calmly discuss the situation with that person and come up with a way to prevent those things from happening again. You may even find that the person either didn't realize they were doing those things or that they didn't realize how their words and actions were affecting you. Of course, this may not work with all people, and so with some, you may find your best course of action is to cut off communications with them.
If you find that you have been avoiding something you really need to do, but which you find uncomfortable or distasteful, then take one step at a time until the ugly thing is over and done with. If you've been avoiding something you are afraid of, take a deep breath, and remember one thing: A hero is not someone who feels no fear. A hero is a person who feels the fear and does it anyway.
Probably most important, by allowing yourself to just feel, you are acknowledging to yourself that you are important, that you value yourself. Valuing our feelings and taking responsibility for them are the best ways we can take care of ourselves. This is the best way to take that voyage home to ourselves.
Centofanti, Marjorie. Psychology Today. How Do You Really Feel?
Bregman, Peter. Psychology Today. Do You Know What You Are Feeling?
Glass, Shirley, PhD. Psychology Today. Shattered Vows, Getting Beyond Betrayal.