Hi, How Are You?

This greeting has become so commonplace in our day to day interactions that somehow it has lost its true meaning. That is, to actually inquire how a person is doing. I know that, for the most part, I answer this with the same response, “fine, how are you?” nearly every time. For some reason, lately, I have begun to consider before I answer this and give a more honest response. The value of that is oftentimes a more real conversation ensues, and a social aspect is born. For example, I have been having leg cramps lately thanks to too many days of “on my feet all day” activities over the holidays and so when I was asked the other day how I was doing, instead of my usual, “fine”, I said “well you know these holidays were a little rough on my body this year with leg cramps sticking around”, to which the person said, “wow that’s too bad, I had so little sleep I am still not caught up”. Well that opened up a very nice exchange that included ways to deal with leg cramps and the value of power naps. What an eye opener this was for me! What could have been a sad, little, rather meaningless exchange became a nice social experience. So, as an easy New Year’s resolution I intend to think before I respond to this question in 2018 and beyond.

Which brings me to another point, namely being genuine in our interactions with others. For those of with RA, the value of someone taking the time to truly offer encouragement to us is priceless. I don’t know about you, but I can tell rather quickly if someone is just being polite when they ask “how are you?” It is all about the body language and tone. If they look me in the eye, consciously and deliberately ask the question, with genuine concern in their voice, it makes all the difference in the world! And that goes for me as well. I need to learn to respond in an authentic way and to ask back with the same degree of true inquiry.

I fear that in this day and age of digital dialogue we have lost the ability to connect in a face to face conversation! Words without the eye contact, the personal tone and body language can be difficult to fully interpret, let alone derive any joy from. That only makes this all the more important to preserving the power of true dialogue. I want to feel that emotional connection that is only possible in person to person interactions. There is no replacement for what that gives to you. After the conversation I referenced above, I felt so much better, mentally. Knowing that someone was genuinely interested in my well-being was a real uplifting experience. And we all know how feeling better mentally can influence our physical well-being too. For those of with RA, that has medicinal value just as much, if not more, than any pill or shot can provide.

Nan

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