Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Who Loves You

I was thinking this morning about questions that are somewhat open ended, but also tell us a lot about ourselves. I like them particularly because of what the answers tell me about me. The answers are more reminders than they are extemporaneous statements.

Happiness Alarm Clock
One of the questions that we hear often and yet fail to take full advantage of is "How are you?", or as we say here in Jersey, "How y'doin?"

Now, granted, the expected reply is often simply, "How YOU doin?" with no expectation of a detailed and thoughtful treatise. Nonetheless, "How y'doin?" can be an amazingly useful question when we recast it into what I call a Happiness Alarm Clock--an alert that reminds me to check in with myself and see just how I am doing.

I can look at how I am emotionally (happy, sad, angry, fearful, worried, excited). I can look at how I am physically (hunched over or sitting upright, tight or loose muscles, relaxed or clenched jaw). I can compare my activities with my plan (am I doing what I intended or have I drifted off). All this makes "How y'doin?" an amazing gift.

But wait, there's more! Like an alarm clock, the effect of Happiness Alarm goes beyond evaluation of my current state. It also provides me the opportunity to change it. Rather than going from sleeping to waking, I can go from unhappy to happy. I can go from being uptight to relaxed. I can go from wondering aimlessly to getting back on track.

How you doing?

Wha'D'ya Know?
Another fun and useful question is, "What do you know?"

Again, in order to maximize the benefit of this question, you'll want to expand beyond the intended scope of the asker. In this case, I like to hear 'What do you KNOW?', recasting the question in terms of what I hold to be 'true'. By true, I don't refer to the absolutes like god, the origins of the universe, or the meaning of life. I simply mean, what are my absolutely, positively, rock-solid, foundational, and apparently never changing, core beliefs.

For example, one of my core beliefs is, "There's nothing that I can't figure out." Another one is, "I am loved."

Getting in touch with our core beliefs is powerful. It's our core beliefs that define who we are and how we respond to stimuli. It's our core beliefs that make or break us in crisis. It's our core beliefs that cause us to seize or pass on opportunities. It's our core beliefs that result in us being generally happy, or generally unhappy.

I love sitting around with others and hearing what they KNOW. I'll often hear something and decide, "Wow, I think I'm going to adopt that one for myself."

What do YOU KNOW?

Who Loves You?
A third really great question, is "Who loves you?" In business, it's often asked rhetorically after someone has let you know that they've done you a favor. However, the question presents a great opportunity to remind yourself of the people in your life whom you might have taken for granted. It also provides an opportunity to give yourself a little boost of positive energy.

Think of the people in your life who love you. Visualize them loving you and love them back. It's a great energizing experience.

In some cases, people will be unsure of how to answer. They may feel altogether unloved. This of course makes the question even more useful.

I've never met a person who after prodding, questioning and exploring, couldn't think of a least someone who loved him. The process of exploration and discovery is itself worth the time taken. Even if the discovery process yields no results, the act of pursuing it with another person leaves at least the pursuer in the position of loving the person asked.

Who loves YOU?

All In All
So, next time someone asks you, "How y'doin?", think to yourself "Hmmm... How AM I doing?" Check in with yourself emotionally, physically, logistically.

Next time someone says, "Yo, what'd'ya know?", call up a couple of bedrock beliefs that you KNOW you can count on.

Next time someone says, "Hey, who loves ya?" with their thumbs pointing back at themselves, take a few seconds to flash through your mental photographs of the people in your life who do love you.

Of course, you can also start asking the questions in the manner outlined above. Next time you ask a friend, "How y'doin?" and she responds, "How YOU doin?", you can say, "No, really, how ARE you doing?"

Could get interesting.

Happy Tuesday,

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