I asked this question to someone; it profoundly affected both of us.
I've been speaking with someone who has helped me a great deal. This individual has invested so much time and effort into developing and supporting me.
We had nearly finished our call; the discussion was mostly about me. I whinged a little and bleated on about this and that, and we talked about the things I need to do to move on and progress.
Before we wrapped things up, it occurred to me that I should return the care and attention I had been receiving. I asked such a mundane and often-asked question.
Are YOU okay?
My inquiry was met with a mixture of emotions. I saw surprise; it was clear that no one had asked that question in a while. I could see relief; it looked like permission had been granted to take a moment to take stock. There was vulnerability; we can't be strong all the time. Sometimes, the game face needs to slip just a little.
We chatted a little more, and then we left the call. It played on my mind for a few days afterwards. I checked in, something I'll continue to do in the future.
This simple inquiry needs to be genuine. It's not about superficial politeness or making small talk; it's about genuinely caring for the well-being of those we encounter.
Here's why I believe this question holds such significance:
Connection and Empathy: When you ask someone if they're okay, you signal that you care. It's an invitation for them to open up, share their thoughts, and feel heard and understood.
Mental Health Matters: In today's world, mental health issues affect people from all walks of life. By asking this question, you may provide a lifeline to someone struggling in silence, letting them know they're not alone.
Building Trust: A genuine inquiry fosters trust and strengthens relationships. It shows you're approachable and willing to support others through life's ups and downs.
Leading by Example: When you ask this question sincerely, you inspire others to do the same. It's a small action that can have a ripple effect, making our relationships in whatever context more caring and compassionate environments.
So, let's remember the power of asking, "Are you okay?" It's not just a question; it's an expression of empathy. In a world that often feels disconnected, a simple inquiry can be a bridge that brings us closer together.