When’s the last time someone asked if you’re happy?



I am getting ready to get a new phone. My phone alerted me to the fact that as of next weekend, I need not continue to have to lease it. How nice of my phone to remind me of its obsolescence.  Well, a fake obsolescence as my phone works perfectly fine.   But the phone manufacturers need to keep their profits up and thus we are all being conditioned to get new phones every year even when the current one works perfectly fine.   But I have started down a rant path that I do not wish to stay on. It wasn’t my goal to even get this far down the path.  All this caffeine has got me revved up. Did I mention that it has been a long few weeks.   Anyway, my phone would like for me to trade it in for a new one. It would be nice if we took this framework for trading people in and out of our lives. I kid. Unless that was what you were thinking as well.




As I prepare to get a new phone (yes, I am falling for the gimmick) I decided to start going through all my photographs saved on the phone. I have over 30,000 photos. But these include screenshots and downloaded memes that I saved for one reason or another. I often save them so that I can then write about them at some later point.  And, hence today’s bit. Only took me 250 words to get to this point.


I came across a screenshot of someone’s Facebook post quoting the actor Heath Ledger. I apparently saved it back in 2017.


And, I remember having had this exact conversation with a mentor.   She was talking about her efforts in helping others who had come to her for help. And she was imparting advice on how to help others. Because, sometimes, you just cannot help others. Sometimes there have to be boundaries to that assistance. That was her take-home message. I listened attentively and nodded. Then I looked at her and asked her how she was doing. Was she ok?   She looked at me and teared up a little. She noted that not often does anyone bother to ask her about her state of being. She put her hand over mine and I in turn lifted my other to place over hers. I asked her if she was ok and whether she had moments of happiness as she had gone through much sadness. She thanked me and told me a story that I will not repeat here. But I knew she was seeking happiness. It was an active search for her and yet she was mired in a bog of sadness. But she seemed to brighten up at the chance at being able to talk openly about it. It was a lesson for me to pass on. One slightly different question can open up new pathways for people to express themselves and possibly move on.  Give it a try or two.

29 replies »

  1. I don’t know you, but when you write about your mentor I feel like you’re talking a little about yourself. Maybe I’m wrong.. I know that this year you are looking for joy, which is not the same thing as happiness, but sometimes reading your posts I wonder: are you happy?…


      • Thanks. I think it is a good question indeed, but not one with an always easy and short answer. I’m glad you feel happiness at the base, it’s a good point to start. I could give you the same honest answer. Sometimes I feel like life could be better, but then It could be worst and in the end I know I’m really lucky. Enjoy your life.


  2. That’s true! Few people ask you the question of how are you. And fewer people ask you this question with the intention of doing active listening. That is a powerful reason for us to start doing more regularly.


  3. Just as we’ve been conditioned to upgrade a still-functioning phone, so to do we go through the automatic greetings. We say “how are you” not really expecting a complete answer. Imagine if we did? Wouldn’t it be nice to know when someone posed that question, they could really stop and listen. Then, just maybe, we wouldn’t give our automatic answer–Fine, and you?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Are you happy is a BIG question. If I ask someone that question I had better be ready to take the time to listen to the answer if that answer is truthful and the person’s unhappy. Interesting to pursue this. I am going to ask this question when I see an opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Do people tend to assume that happiness is something you achieve with a checklist? Perhaps. Do they assume you are happy and don’t really want to know the truth? Definitely. I do know it is better to be a happy garbage collector than a miserable CEO.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t remember when, if, or ever anyone asked me that question. so I’ll ask it of myself.
    Me1: Are you happy?
    Me2: I’d say moderately so.
    Me1: Why only moderately?
    Me2: Things that I consider important are missing from my life.
    Me1: What makes them important?
    Me2: I don’t know. I guess it’s because I don’t have them.
    Me1: Are those things obtainable?
    Me2: I don’t know.
    Me1: Have you ever tried?
    Me2: No.
    Me1: Why not?
    Me2: I didn’t think I really deserved them.
    Me1: Why not? Is there anything in your life that makes you undeserving?
    Me2: None that I can think of.
    Me1: Then for Heaven’s sake why are you not happy?
    Me2: You’re right. I am deserving. I can be happy. I am happy. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Other than the man I am married to, my very best friend, there is one person who asks genuinely on a daily basis. She is a coworker but is the only one. Most people seek me out as a sounding board, which I find great comfort in being. Now and then, however, I feel quite alone with my own sorrows. A lot of it is my trying to not acknowledge those things which might overwhelm me, but they always catch up and must be allowed their recognition. I hope you love your new phone. 😊


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