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How are you doing?

It uses to be when someone asked me ‘How are you doing?’ I would consider how I felt physically, was I tired, sore, hungry, etc. If I was particularly upset, depressed, frustrated, or had some other strong emotion I would maybe mention that too. But even then it was mostly from an external perspective. But I have found that all of that is changing.

Nowadays when someone asks that question I usually reflect more inwardly, how am I feeling. But even that isn’t quite it, as I am mostly focused on my coping with my emotional state.

I have spent so many years believing that it was wrong to show too much emotion. It took me quite a while to get past that. But even after I got past the showing of emotions I still had the usual attitude that some emotions were to be avoided.

It is fine to be happy or joyful, but one should avoid being sad or crying. For sure I would prefer happyness over sadness, but I don’t think sadness in and of it self is bad. The events that casue one to be sad are most likely bad but that doesn’t make being sad bad.

When someone is hurt or an injustice happens, for some of us we are sad or upset. For me, I sometimes get very upset. I cry very hard and it hurts so deeply. My whole being screams this is wrong. But the crying isn’t wrong, the screaming isn’t wrong, even the intense hurt isn’t wrong. All of this is caring.

Some people care very much but there is no outward expression of it. Others, like myself, have very strong outward expressions. I don’t think one is better than the other, it is how God made us.

For me, this means hearing about a tragedy or injustice will likely make be quite upset. Often even lesser things will produce a significant response from me. Oh and let’s not forget that good news, can also be an emotional event. The joy of hearing that someone has survived, or a new baby was born, will often produce a strong response deep within.

But I am coming to understand that ALL of this is just how God made me. I am very sensitive and I respond intensely. That is neither good or bad, but it is me. So when someone asks, ‘How are you doing?’ my answer isn’t about my physical world. But it isn’t good when I am happy and bad when I am sad. Because sad is neither good, or bad, and the same holds for happiness.

Often my answer has a lot more to do with how well I am handling all of the emotions that I am dealing with at the moment. Sometimes they are overwhelming and my response is ‘not too well’. But when I say I am OK, that doesn’t necessarily mean I am happy. I might be crying and devastated about something, but I feel in control.

I have come to accept that sometimes caring hurts. But this is how God made me and I am learning to embrace who I am.