By: Devin Riggs, Regular Contributor
I’m not okay.
There I said it. I am not okay.
I’m stressed. I’m worried. I’m sad. I’m confused. I’m a little lost. I’m angry. And I’m exhausted from pretending that I’m not.
I’m not okay.
And you know what. That’s okay.
Because I know I won’t always feel this way.
This too shall pass.
I will figure things out. I will discover my purpose in life. I will be okay. I won’t be sad forever. I won’t be stressed forever. I won’t always be lost. I will be okay, even if I’m not right now.
I know society isn’t too keen on showing weakness. It’s highly discouraged, at least on a subconscious level. We are expected to be the picture of health and beauty and knowledge. We must be strong and determined. We have to be perfect. All. The. Time.
It’s exhausting trying to live up to that expectation.
I don’t know why I keep trying.
I have always been self-critical. I beat myself up over tiny things, the smallest mistakes. (Not to mention the big mistakes). I’ll over analyze five-minute conversations, wondering if I said the wrong thing and what the other person thinks of me now. I lose sleep over decisions I made years ago, wondering what I could have done differently.
I get wrapped up in trying to be perfect, in trying to please everyone around me. Because it’s difficult to remember that it’s a fruitless cause. Perfection doesn’t exist. You can’t make everyone happy all the time.
And I’m learning that that’s okay.
I am learning to forgive myself for not being perfect. And I’m learning to forgive myself for not always being okay. Because right now, I’m not. But I also have the ability to change that.
It’s important to acknowledge how you’re feeling. It’s important to not only identify, but also validate your feelings. Be honest about how you feel even if you don’t think people will understand or relate or care. I can’t count the number of times someone has asked me how I am and I respond with “I’m good” or “I’m fine” when I’m really not. It’s a little white lie, an automatic response to a small-talk question. And it doesn’t do me any good. It doesn’t make me feel better, sometimes I feel worse for not being honest.
Acknowledge the negative feelings. Say “hi, hello, I see you there.” Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re having a bad day or a rough week, or a hard month. Don’t feel like you have to apologize for it either. It’s okay. We all have them at some point.
What I’m still learning to do though, is not sink into the feeling. That’s when it becomes difficult for me to get out of the funk.
I remind myself that I will feel better at some point. A good night sleep usually does the trick. Or going for a walk. Or completely reorganizing my entire room. Sometimes I call my friend and ask him to tell me jokes. Find something that works for you so you don’t get stuck in the “not okayness” for too long.
It’s okay to not be okay, just remember that you will be okay eventually. You can do this.
Do you find yourself airbrushing your feelings? Maybe there's a better way.
- Give Devin's advice a try and the next time you are really, really NOT okay, OWN it. Whether that is out loud to a friend or in the pages of your journal, let yourself feel your feelings. That's healthy and good and the best way to promote compassion and healing!
Devin has a degree in education with a focus in English. She is working to publish her first collection of poetry while also learning the art of patience. Her passions include Doctor Who, penguins, hats and scarves, potatoes, dancing, photography, and making people happy. She believes in the healing powers of music, spending time in the great outdoors, and a good night sleep.
image via quote-pictures.blogspot.com