Admitting my Problem to the World

Last year I developed a problem.  It was curable, and didn’t require prescription drugs or a doctors’ visit.  I shared my problem with a few people and then I started devising a strategy to overcome it. 

What was my problem?  It was the word ‘busy’.  When people asked me how I was, I would reply with "busy".  When I asked people “how are you today?” or "how is your day going?", I got the reply “Busy”.  I've also had the following question asked of me "How are you today? Busy?"  Now the word busy doesn’t really answer my question or theirs for that matter.  And if we really want to know why are we now putting the word busy, which is an answer, into the question?  Sigh.  Where are we heading that is so important that we don't have time for the pleasantries of life, like a good conversation and human connection.  

When I realised that I had the problem along with so many others, I made a commitment to start asking better quality questions.  However, I'm still receiving the same answer … “Busy”.  Hmmmmm … I really do have a problem with this word.  Is it that people are too ‘busy’ to have a conversation?  Do they think I’m not genuinely interested when I ask the question?  I also realised that I had better deliver better quality answers as well, regardless of the question.  Yes – I was time for me to change my habit.  

It took some effort to converse at a conscious level to provide an informed answer when people asked me how I was, rather than my stock-standard autopilot answer.  I started stretching my vocabulary and finding ways to describe how I was without using the word ‘busy’.  When I was asked “How is business?”  I replied, “I have a full diary this week which is great”.  When I was asked "How are you?" I replied that I was well - thank you.  When I initiate conversation and I receive the answer "busy", I now ask, "what sort of busy they you?  Work busy?  Kids busy?" and this usually gets a more detailed response from which we can have a lovely conversation and reconnect, if only for a brief minute or two.

So how is my problem since I changed my strategy?  Well, I’m always working on it.  Like any habit or pattern we create, conscious awareness is the key to change and consciously recognising the slip ups is a great way to start the change process. 

What sort of 'busy do you want to be this year?             

by Barbara Jaques 

9 january 2017