I like to hope I’m sensitive to others’ emotions, but I think the truth is that it’s surprisingly difficult to know what’s going on inside somebody else when you only have what you see on the outside to help you make this judgement.
I know this to be true from my own experience. For instance I vividly recall coming clean with old friends about my struggles with depression, only for them to say they’d no idea I’d ever been anything but well adjusted. I thought it must have been blindingly obvious to the outer world that the lights were well and truly off inside, but the simple fact is that it wasn’t.
This in part is why Alex and I have spent the past few months developing a brand new way to measure our wellbeing each day so we can share our progress with someone else (each other in our case).
We’re so excited about our new tool – it’s called WellBee – that starting today we’re offering a strictly limited number of sets for sale, so you can experiment with it as we are. More of this in a minute, but first let’s simply focus on the value of finding ways of opening up to others.
It’s not always easy.
I think it helps if you can be reasonably objective when doing so. “I’m not feeling great” isn’t really that helpful.
But “I was anxious about going to the Doctor today so I didn’t sleep well, and being tired is making me grouchy” is more useful. It puts things in context.
This could be a useful tip when someone asks how you are. If you think they really do want to know (and sadly not everyone does, nor is there always time to tell the whole story) I think it’s nearly always better to add a little detail to your reply. Not too much, though. You don’t want to drown someone else in your own sorrow.
Of course providing context means you must first make sense of things yourself, and that’s where WellBee is making a huge difference for Alex and I. WellBee isn’t an app or a website, but a set of hexagonal playing cards enabling you to rate youself in twelve different dimensions that make up your overall wellbeing, under the main themes of Emotional Health (mood), Physical Health, and “Social Health” (how close you feel to other people). The individual cards ask you for example how Loved, Energetic and Cheerful you are, and also how Anxious, Neglected, and In Pain you feel. The cards allow you to rate both your positives and negatives.
Our WellBee cards have been invaluable for helping us better understand our own ups and downs, so now we’ll be delighted if they enable you to do just this yourself.
Unfortunately we can’t yet make an enormous number of WellBee cards available, as each set is hand-crafted to order in our California garage, so if you’d like to get WellBee yourself, we strongly encourage you to find out more immediately, and place your order before supplies run out.
But whether or not you wish to have your own set, the next time you’re in low-spirits why not try to help people understand what you’re going through in a little more detail?