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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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Fine, Good, Okay

Uploaded: Nov 11, 2014
Do you answer fine, good, or okay when asked how you are?

How are you? "Fine."
How are you? "Good."
How are you? "Okay."

Do you have any idea how your mate is when you get one of these replies?

When I ask couples to check in with each other about how they are feeling at the beginning of a session, and I hear these answers, my response is, "Those are vague, try to be more specific." I may even provide a handout of feelings.

" I am stressed getting over here, and distracted by what's going on at work, and glad/anxious to be here and hopeful about our marriage." Now that's an answer that is not vague. It gives your beloved a snapshot of your feelings in the moment, what I like to call a Personal Weather Report.

Feelings come and go. They are there to let us know we have something to attend to. Letting one another know how we are in the moment allows us to know if our mate might need anything from us.

In order to actually 'Have each others' back' (as part of secure, or anchor, attachment), we need to know how our spouse is actually feeling
.
It's likely that if no one taught you the language of feelings, you don't know how you feel. Feelings are learned from a primary caregiver, often Mom, responding to you when you were little. She might have said, "Oh, you're frustrated now trying to do this puzzle." Or, "This is confusing when you see one thing and hear another." Or, "Look how happy you are swinging up so high."

We have feelings in our body, too: a tight jaw, a knot in our stomach, shoulders heading to our ears, pain in a familiar location. I notice a lot of folks here in Silicon Valley that live very much in their heads; little awareness of their body ? that is until they slow down enough to find the rest of themselves. There is so much value placed on intellect and success, that the body and feelings may be left behind. And I guarantee you they are talking, whether or not we can hear it.

If our goal is to be known, seen, heard with empathy, have each other's back, connected, sexual, and comforted by our beloved, we need to know how each other is feeling, what's on her mind, and how he is physically.

I hope you will experiment with your Personal Weather Report at least once each day, as a way of connecting. I believe you will be able to avoid some disagreements since you are more attuned to one another.

So when you find yourself answering Fine, Good, or Okay when she asks how you are, stop, and take a moment to check in with yourself to find the accurate answers to how you're feeling and give her your Personal Weather Report.


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