Home CFB Borden How are you, really?

How are you, really?


A number of years ago, I was greeting parishioners arriving at church. When one of our seniors walked in, I greeted him with a “How are you today?” This gentleman in his eighties, in declining health, chuckled a bit, in his typical, somewhat mischievous way, and said, half serious, half joking (but entirely profoundly): “This is the part where we lie to each other, right?”

Our cultural custom and expectation is that when asked “how are you today?” we normally reply by saying we are doing well, “fine,” or at least “not bad”, even if we actually aren’t doing well.

I’m sure that for most it’s just automatic. For others it can be a way to create boundaries and keep private struggles private. Most of us prefer to be very selective about when and with whom we are vulnerable, and able to say “I’m not okay right now”. This is normal and appropriatewe don’t allow every person we see the same level of access to our inner life. Those conversations in which we lay bare our souls are not comfortable, and are not something we do with anyone and everyone.

But there is also a very real need to have people with whom we can be completely honest; a partner, a family member, a friend, a colleague, a therapist, a Chaplain, a unit Sentinel. Do you have someone in your life who will ask “how are you really doing?” and you can feel comfortable actually answering that question with complete honesty? Who can you talk to when you aren’t okay? But perhaps even more basic have you asked of yourself “how are you really doing?” and honestly answered that? Self-assessment and self-awareness are an important first step.

And finally, are you seeing something in someone else that raises questions? Are you able to ask “how are you really doing?” It takes courage to be the person in whom others can confide, but this is how we support one another. It takes time to build that trust and confidence to be raw, but it is worth it.

By: Captain Graham Ware, Chaplain, CFB Borden