How Are You?

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“Good morning! How are you?”

“How are you?”; “Kamusta?”

This is default question which we usually answer with an equally default answer:

“I’m good.”; “Doing good.”; “I’m fine. You?”; “Eto, okay naman buhay pa.”

Are you really?

In this highly-digitalized, ultra-fast-paced, social media-succumbing world that we are living in, one cannot help but just – what’s the term we use now? – “grind” and go with the flow. And so as we immersed ourselves and consume our energies with all that “daily grinding”, we will soon find ourselves tired and exhausted, wanting to find that inner peace amidst all the unwanted but necessary chaos.

So we turn to – Soul-searching, introspection, self-examination – the long and deep consideration of ones emotions, motives or the correctness of ones course of action, according to Google of course.

If it was in the medieval era, soul-searching would probably be retiring to a secluded villa and entailing long garden or beach walks, either alone or with a confidante. Well, I guess it’s not far off the mark even up to this day. One of the most effective excuses to soul-search and escape reality is to literally get away from it. And so paved way to the birth of travelling hashtags – #travelgram, #letsgosomewhere, #backpackers, #bucketlist, #beachlife, #islandlife, #thisislife. Hashtags you use when you post a selfie at the best IG-worthy spot in your social media account. And, hopefully then, your introspection comes after that, if you actually really wanted to do that in the first place. Because sometimes you don’t, sometimes you just want to have a break and brag it at the same time, period. To be honest, sometimes, I’m guilty as charged. And I’m pretty sure some of you are, too.

Last Friday, I’ve watched this local movie Mr. and Mrs. Cruz. Without revealing too much, the story is about 2 people healing their broken hearts by travelling with the worn-out excuse of, guess what, “soul-searching”. It’s actually a pretty good movie. And it made my curious finger tips google search what soul-searching is really all about, even though I already knew it in hindsight. Then I stumble upon this interesting article in huffpost.com about the modern guide to soul-searching. Apparently, there are different guidelines for a modern soul-searcher and my top 3 favorites are (there are actually 10):

The T-sign – which means it’s time to take a break in your life and allow yourself “a window to gather yourself amidst a manic day”. You can actually do that by just having a tea break or by meditating. It’s not as if I know how meditating works and that travelling is not always the escape goat for soul-searching, point is you allow yourself to have a break from time to time and your soul will actually thank you for it.

The ByPass – which means “skipping the stuff that no longer serves you”.  You will naturally outgrow relationships and organically meet new people in your holistic development. It says that when you have the gut feel or inkling to rain check on someone, listen to it and save yourself the detour later. It’s one of my favorites because it’s point blank telling you that avoiding toxic people is actually considered soul-searching as well, or at least that’s how I understand it.

Last is, the Off Ramp – it says that this is not an excuse for giving up. An exit sign will often appear when the going gets tough and you think that everything is working against you. This is the sign to take an exit off-ramp and find a new approach to a new path. Be it an off-ramp in a relationship or in work – “look out for an off-ramp when you feel like you are driving into head-on traffic”. They said that you display higher emotional intelligence when you are graceful under pressure. No matter what critical situation you are in, you must try to remain calm and clear your head and I guess you do that by taking the off-ramp.

There may be other guides to modern soul searching but I think these 3 are the most important – the T-sign, the Bypass, the Off-ramp. In this highly-digitalized, ultra-fast-paced, social media-succumbing world that we are living in where we can just “grind” and go with the flow, soul-searching, not as a trend but in its truest sense, may actually be our savior to keep us sane and help improve our emotional intelligence. It’s one way of discovering yourself and finding the hopeful beauty that’s masking a gradually rotting world.

The American essayist and poet Henry David Thoreau says that “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” So, my fellow Toastmasters and guests, “How are you?”