Most of us lie to ourselves all the time.
If you doubt this, just count the number of times today you’ve heard someone answer the question, “How are you?”
The answer is almost always, “Fine. Great. Doing well.”
Statistically, we all know this is impossible. In a world that has so much that’s not OK, the chances that everyone we talk to is OK is pretty much zero.
But we all do it. It’s just easier to tell a pretty lie than to tell the messy truth.
Enter feelings. Feelings are the truth serum for how we’re really doing. We can say we’re fine all we want. Our emotions will show that we’re down or embarrassed or anxious or pissy.
The great news for an astute listener is that most of us are horrible actors. We mouth the words, but our faces and our bodies tell a different story. They largely tell the truth. Pro listeners train themselves to pay attention to those emotional signals as much as – maybe even more than – the words others say.
So next time someone rolls their eyes at a discussion of emotions, smile and remind yourself that while feelings are lousy masters, they’re great servants to the pro listener. They tell the truth even when most of the words are lies.