It is okay to not be okay. I want to repeat that one more time: it is okay to not be okay. Too many times, we feel that we have to be so incredibly strong, that we have to be “invincible,” or rather appear as such, or that showing when we are hurting, sad or feeling down is a sign of weakness that we do not have the time to feel nor show. We have so many responsibilities in our respective lives and have people who depend on us, that make us feel that we cannot afford to let our “mighty” image show that we, too, are in pain, that we, too, feel like we are failing or not good enough in some way. However, we are not doing anyone any good, especially ourselves, by acting as if we are fine, when in fact, we are the complete opposite. We must learn that there is no shame nor weakness in acknowledging when we aren’t feeling so great and are going through something. Constantly hiding behind a mask of “strength” to avoid dealing with what is really going on within ourselves will only lead to detriment to our overall mental health.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook can play a major role in why we sometimes feel as if we have to act like we are okay, when we aren’t. Seeing a close friend or just someone we follow post about how “amazing” and “happy” they are in life can make us feel as if we have to follow suit; even though we were just bawling like a baby five minutes ago. Sure, there are some people who are completely transparent and tell their faults and shortcomings openly on social media, but most people always aim to project an image of themselves that shows that they are in “complete control,” and that they never let anything get to them. What we always fail to realize, as well, is that said people, and pretty much just about half of everything that is posted on social media, are pure fabrication. It is always easier and more “appealing” to post about your good days than your bad ones. Why show how much of a “mess” you are when you can receive so much more love for looking “strong” and “flawless?” Now, I’m not saying that you should, nor need, to post your “truth” for all to see and comment on; what I am saying is that posting what isn’t your truth—so you appear as some kind of indestructible being—is not beneficial to you and your personal growth at all.
I, myself, can be a major culprit in trying to project an image of always being “okay” when I’m not. I sometimes just want to fiercely protect my image of always being the one that is “so strong” for myself and for others. I feel my strongest when I bestow wisdom and positivity upon those that need it, so that they can feel better about themselves and their situation. Though I genuinely love being a “shoulder to lean on” and a “voice of inspiration and uplifting,” I am learning to accept and embrace the fact that I, too, am at times in need of a shoulder to lean on and a voice to inspire me and uplift my spirits. I am learning to see that there can be tremendous beauty in being transparent and owning the days when you just feel completely lost and hopeless. It’s a battle within myself that I am still fighting, but I try to make a conscious effort every day to be more open and honest with those that I trust about what I am feeling and dealing with.
In the end, none of us have it “all together.” We’re all struggling with something. We’re all on our own respective journeys to try to “find ourselves” and our place in this world. So, with being that said, there is never a need to act like we don’t have bad days, weeks or even months that make us want to throw in the towel. There’s no real purpose served in trying to act like we don’t sometimes cry uncontrollably from a deep hurt we’ve experienced or currently dealing with. We have to learn to process all of our feelings in healthy ways. Talking to God can be an incredibly refreshing experience, confiding in a close friend or family member that you know you can trust can be good, keeping a diary where you write out all that you keep bottled up can be extremely cathartic or talking to a professional therapist that gives you emotional exercises to practice can be great, too. These are all just a few options that can help you open up and be honest about what you are feeling and going through. I’m learning that you waste so much more energy in trying to pretend like you are okay than you do when you actually acknowledge that you aren’t, and you never know who you could help by expressing how you are truly feeling on the inside. So, never again say “I’m okay” when you are not. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay.
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