The Simplest Question You May Never Want to be Asked

Michelle Koch, founder of One Grateful Girl is just that - a grateful girl.  She is a talented and kind, hometown girl who truly wants you to be happy too.  We are grateful ourselves to have Michelle join us for her take on happiness.

The Simplest Question You May Never Want to be Asked

I live in the neighborhood I grew up in.  It is nice enough, safe, and familiar.  The older I get, the stronger the pull to live out a bit more.  While I dream of quiet acreage, I also appreciate my proximity to Target.  For the time being we are here and my roots are pretty deep.  

There is something neat about living in the community you grew up in.  It seems a lot of people I went to school with, remained in or returned to, the area to raise their own kids.  This is great, except for those times when you run to the grocery store in mismatched clothes, no make-up, and less than clean hair and run into multiple people…then it leaves a little to be desired.

Last week we went to our local high school hockey game.  The three of us enjoy watching hockey and it feels good to cheer on the home team.  As I climbed the bleacher stairs I saw one of my favorite teachers from a million years back.  I honestly don’t remember what grade it was, but I knew her bright eyes and mischievous laugh instantly.  Her warm smile let me know that she remembered me as well.  I walked over and we chatted and laughed.  It was so good to see her.  She hadn’t changed a bit.

Then as we parted, she asked me a shockingly simple question...
“Are you happy?”

It immediately struck me that no one asks this.  The answer is "yes, I am happy".  We shared a hug and I returned to my guys, but in my head I kept replaying the question.  I couldn’t remember the last time anyone had asked me that.

  • We ask how the kids are.  
  • We ask if the parents are healthy.  
  • We ask where you work.
  • We ask how work is going.
  • We ask where you live.
  • We ask where you got that.

Rarely do we ask the one question that really matters... "are you happy"?

It made me wonder why we don’t ask.  Are we afraid the answer might be "no"?
What if we asked and there was an awkward pause.  What if we asked and were then forced to listen to all the reasons the answer was no?  Maybe we’re not ready for that. 

We can ask about the weather and escape without a second thought.  We can ask about the cute purse and keep it light.  We can ask about work and not feel a thing.  

But what if we ALL started asking…"are you happy"?

What if we were prepared to listen when the answer was "no"?  What if the long pause of silence was met with an encouraging word?  What if we put a little effort into making someone happy?  My former teacher may have asked because she was pretty sure the answer would be yes, but her tone told me otherwise.

She asked because she really wanted to know. It had the same authenticity as the day in health class she pulled a tampon out of her purse and made everyone squirm and blush.  Real life can be uncomfortable like that.  As we all sunk into our desks wanting to disappear, she was letting us know this is reality.  It isn’t always pretty.  

So when she put her hand on my arm and looked me in the eye and asked, she really wanted to know the answer.  And somehow I felt valued in being asked.

I wish the same feeling for you, so I ask...
"are YOU happy?"

Michelle Koch's Bio:


Michelle’s favorite roles are that of believer, wife, mom, and writer. She truly believes that our lives are meant to be amazing adventures and that those adventures can keep us close to home or take us around the world. She dreams of living in the country, but within close proximity to a Target. Sunsets, water views, and time to be creative are her soul foods. She is married to a guy she has loved nearly 27 years and doesn’t feel old enough for that to possible. Her son has her wrapped around his dirty little fingers. At her best when she remembers the importance of showing grace, celebrating beauty, and intentionally living with gratitude.

Check out her site One Grateful Girl.