Why it’s ok to not be ok

Have you ever beat yourself up for feeling a certain way?

Tell me if this looks familiar…

“I shouldn’t be feeling this way. I should be over this by now. I should be more grateful. I should feel more motivated. I should….”

Despite how you “should” feel, you still somehow feel…shitty?

Instagram tells you life needs to be a happy go lucky hi-definition beer commercial every Friday and Saturday. Facebook wants you to know that one person you know won an award today, and that girl you went to high school with is getting engaged!!!

Here’s the magic thing we all know, but seem to forget: it’s a highlight reel.

Try to imagine posting a photo of yourself when you’re deathly sick surrounded by Kleenex, or you’ve been up all night crying. You don’t go on social media to share your low moments, which is why it seems silly when you think about it.

After posting over 10 mind-blowing vacation photos, you’re not supposed to be sad. 

So sometimes we push these feelings down. Numb them. Get mad at ourselves. Deny their existence. Throw them in a volcano and hope someone asks us how we’re doing.

Post more goddam vacation photos.

Until you’re crying in your yogurt parfait, your credit card is maxed out and your friends hate you for acting like an asshole. That’s over the top (really, when am I not?), but you get the picture.

Here’s something I’ve been experimenting with lately: letting the feelings run their course. Especially if they are negative.

No additional guilt or shame. Just accepting that it is what is it. The feelings are gonna stick around until you deal with them, and they start to move along, so you may as well stop trying to fight them.

Open the doors and welcome them in with kindness.

Wait, what?

But….what about the beer commercial? It’s Saturday night?

I HAVE A F*CKING FOAM PARTY TO GO TO. GLITTER TO ROLL AROUND IN. PICTURES TO POST!!!!!!

OR

I just don’t want to feel this way anymore.

 

Instead of sitting with our feelings, here’s what we are often tempted to do to make ourselves temporarily feel better: go online shopping, do drugs, drink until you can’t feel feelings (or your face), eat until you’re uncomfortable, binge watch Netflix (until you forget that your life also has a plotline) and a whole pile of other stuff.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. These behaviours aren’t bad in moderation, but they can definitely turn destructive when used for the purpose of numbing our feelings.

I am not judging. In fact, there are a few that I have definitely struggled with myself.

Why do we avoid our feelings? Well, first off, because it’s painful. Second, please refer to the paragraph above about social media being a place where everyone is basically screaming in your face to be positive and live your best life. All. The. Time.

I’m still new to this whole idea of accepting my not-so-positive feelings instead of burning them to death with a blowtorch, so I can’t offer much in the way of advice, BUT what I can say is that feeling down and out does suck, but it doesn’t last forever.

Like a bad tiertiary character in your favourite Netflix show, it won’t be long till they get replaced with someone way better who really helps the narrative arc.

In the mean time, I’m being kind to myself, crying when I need to, going to a lot of fitness classes, taking long breaks from social media and going for a lot of walks. It’s not exactly a beer commercial, but I’m cool with it.


I really can’t take credit for this, my friend Talula told me about this whole letting your feelings run their course thing in highschool and it took me until now to be emotionally “woke” enough to listen.

— RJH

p.s. to all people battling mental illness, you shouldn’t be stigmatized. You are allowed to feel your feelings, live your life, do your best (whatever that looks like). Be proud of who you are.

 

 

 

 

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