‘I’m OK’. We’ve trained ourselves to utter these words to ourselves and to anyone who asks us how we are like a mantra. But are you really OK? If you stop and actually think about it for more than a nanosecond… what’s the answer? Sure you may be clothed, fed and with a roof over your head but do you have your emotional ducks in a row? I don’t. Not all of them. Not all the time. And I’m happy to admit it. I think this might scare some people. I put forward that it is okay not to be okay.
Life is hard at the best of times. We are always trying to reach multiple goals via different avenues, facing numerous challenges and surmounting hurdle after hurdle while we try and enjoy each passing moment as we strive to reach some greater happiness. Even describing this makes me want to lie down with cucumber slices on my eyes for half an hour. No matter how much we enjoy ourselves… life is tiring and can be very stressful. So no wonder one or more of those little emotional ducks can wander off once in a while and leave us feeling discombobulated, distressed, sad, angry or just plain ambivalent. Not okay.
We’ve been brought up with a mentality of ‘just get on with it’, ‘keep it to yourself’, ‘someone else has it worse than you do’, shhhhhh’!!!!!!!!!! So as we stuff down our feelings of inadequacy, fear, self-doubt, worry or whatever might come up for us on a particular day we stretch the emotional pit in our stomach and feel it tighten, or lurch or perhaps experience a wave of nausea wash over us. And then someone asks ‘how are you?’… ‘I’m OK’, we answer, with an empty smile on our face. No further explanation given (because really we’re not). And then we start to believe it’s true. Definitely not okay.
A wise woman once told me that the people who are really not okay are the ones who constantly insist that they really are. This is called denial. They often claim to know themselves very well. I believe anyone who knows themselves very well would know that they have flaws, issues and feelings to work through. I’ve never come close to enlightenment nor met anyone reaching its sphere. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in happiness – dancing on the table, making goofy faces and singing at the top of your voice kind of happiness. I just don’t equate it with encompassing your entire being. People are so much more complex. And to ignore or deny any part of yourself… not okay.
It can be hard to look inside yourself and admit what is really going on – especially when it may not be all too wonderful all the time. But it’s important to identify in order to challenge these aspects, nurture them and evolve. I’m not advocating that we all hang from the rooftops, shouting out our problems, more that we learn to look inwards and speak our truth to at least ourselves. Sharing beyond that is a very personal and difficult step, but can be freeing, liberating and invoke the support we need to move forward.
I’m not afraid to admit that I am rife with not okayness. But I have oodles of wonderful happy lovely bits too. If I stare in my thoughts and feelings looking glass I see a woman who gets hurt easily, wants people to like and appreciate her, can get a bit jealous, is terrified of being alone, is a bit too dependent on her husband and scared to death about the future of her health and ongoing happiness of her family. She is a bit controlling, a bit weird about food and once she decides she doesn’t like her outfit for the day goes into a tailspin. So in many ways… not okay.
But you know what… I am completely okay because I acknowledge the parts that aren’t.