This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.
“How are you feeling?” turns out not to be just a throw-away neighborly question with the fill-in-the-blank socially acceptable answer of “Fine. You?” “How are the kids?” “How’s LAX?” “Great.” Acknowledging how are you feeling, really, is actually really important, reports The New York Times.
“Feelings, nothing more than feelings” is how I used to think (the version sung by Julio Iglesias and Barbra Streisand). The article has caused a profound pivot for me.
I’ve spent the last forty-plus years masking my true emotions, pushing them down into my spleen or some other frequently forgotten internal organ; my Gretchen Rubin personality tendency is “Obliger.” (It’s the modern Myers Briggs. FYI…I’m INFP.) I was raised to be bland and sweet, like well-cooked rice pudding, not to walk you through my emotional color wheel.
So when you ask me, “How are you, hon?” I’m going to say, “Out of practice.”
It reminded me of what my kids said when I took advantage of a Groupon for botox and had units of neurotoxin injected deep into the double hockey sticks between my eyes by a stranger in a white coat. A few days later, after the paralysis of the facial muscles had set in, they said, “Mom! There is a wild turkey outside eating the seeds you just planted that were not eaten by the groundhogs or deer! Come see it! Did you know Ben Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be our country’s national animal, not the eagle?” And I gazed out the window placidly. “Are you happy?” “Are you mad?” They asked. “We can’t tell.” And I was like, score, neurotoxin.
Loads of people must feel this way because #1 on the NYT’s Most Emailed list is, “How to Be Emotionally Intelligent.” We’re all a bunch of Neanderthals, apparently, and the business world couldn’t be happier.