Sometimes it feels like society says you should always be happy, and that showing your sadness is a sign of weakness. We are busy ”living our lives and minding our business’‘ that we forget to care about one another. Lately I have been thinking about how people walk around us smiling just for the sake of it but deep down they are struggling with one thing or the other. For example, have you ever been in a bad mood and someone cheery and smiley tells you “everything will be okay”? Am I the only one that sometimes wants to scream at this person?
I’ve found that there are times in our lives-and hopefully it’s only for short periods of time-that we are simply not doing okay. Its either we are going through a rough patch, a bad day or a major setback. Sometimes, it seems like one thing goes wrong after another. And another, and another. And at this point we feel like we are not ready for someone to tell us that everything will work out, because we don’t believe it in that moment. Looking back to earlier this year when I lost a dear friend of mine, all I could hear were people telling me ”everything will be OK”, ”Just be strong Penny”, etc I honestly had no clue what that meant, all I kept thinking is how will it be OK knowing very well he will never come back!
Sometimes an unexpected challenge or an obstacle might come your way, and you find yourself stressing out, worrying and not knowing what to do. And, some days, you just have nothing. Zero motivation, no creativity. All of the sudden, you’re being plagued with self-doubt.
You think you have to be strong all the time.
You think you’re not allowed to cry, to admit that you’re not okay.
Well guess what? IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK!!.
Most of us have experienced some difficulties in our lives, and it’s never a good idea to compare your pain to others’. Whether you are experiencing pain now, or are reflecting on challenges in the past, it’s okay to not be okay. Don’t resist feeling “bad” just because it seems like you’re the only one who feels lonely, or lost or unmotivated- you’re not. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing and remember that we all know what it’s like to “not be okay” even if most of us don’t talk about it .All those feelings are normal, we all go through this sometimes. Is it a fun place to be? Fuck no!!. But it doesn’t last forever.
Here are some tips to be okay with not being okay, and how you can help someone who is currently struggling.
- You need to completely acknowledge and feel the emotions that are coming up. If you are sad, you need to feel your sadness. If there is pain, recognise it. We tend to want to push away bad feelings, but the more we push something away, the stronger it will get. Be able to sit with the emotion you are feeling; where do you feel it in your body? Are there any physical pains associated with this emotion? Any beliefs? The more honest we can be with what we are feeling, the sooner we can get through it.
- You are not weak or wrong for what you are feeling. Have you ever been told that you just need to get over it? That’s not exactly what you want to hear when you’re feeling an emotion that feels strong and hold power over you. You are where you are in that moment for a reason. Don’t blame yourself, but also acknowledge whether you are placing blame where it doesn’t belong. We cannot control what other’s do, but we can control how we react to our emotions. We have the power to move past something when we are ready to do so, but it doesn’t make you weak if you need to sit with your emotions for a while.
- Recognise when you are complaining and stop. We can all identify with having someone in our lives that seems to complain every time you see them…none of us want to be that person. Be aware of what is coming out of your mouth when you are on the phone with a friend, or even talking with your co-workers. If you catch yourself complaining, change your internal dialogue. If you aren’t looking for a solution, you are part of the problem. Surround yourself with people who don’t complain on a regular basis, and if you do find yourself in a situation where someone is complaining, put a positive spin on the conversation and don’t feed into the complaining.
- Know that everything you are feeling is a lesson to be learned. Every single experience, encounter with another person, and relationship we have in our lives teaches us something new. When we are feeling something bad and feel out of sorts, ask yourself how you can grow from the experience.
I know we all have times when life smacks us in the face, and in the moment it’s difficult to realise that the painful experience won’t last forever. Remember that we have the ability to write our life story; the bad times teach us so many valuable lessons about ourselves and what we are made of. If you know someone who is struggling with something, allow him or her to feel it, and give them the space to know that it’s okay to not be okay in this moment.
My Two-Cents- You’re allowed to change your mind, to take a break or leave a situation you don’t feel comfortable in. There’s no need to blame yourself for any of those things just like there’s no need to feel bad about… feeling bad. We should all be allowed to fall apart sometimes so that we can find ourselves all over again.