by Deborah Schiefer
It’s okay to not be okay.
You’ve got to be familiar with that phrase. It’s all over Pinterest and Instagram. I imagine it hits Facebook and TikTok and other social media platforms regularly, but what exactly does that mean and do any of us really feel okay not being okay?
One of you out there is reading this, thinking, “Yes! I’m at peace with my brokenness. I’m doing the hard work of healing and I’m embracing where I am in every step of the journey.”
Maybe it’s more than one of you, you magical unicorns and mermaids of the mental health world.
And then I realize how unfair it is to say that. The breaking it must take to get to the point where you can embrace every step of your healing journey. The hard and painful work of self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-improvement.
You’re not magical and you’re not mythical. You’re doing the work and I respect you so very much.
Last week, my therapist challenged me to explore the pride involved in trying to control every aspect of my own life and refusing to give myself the space to not be okay. I’ve tumbled this around in my mind for days, now. Pride… there is pride, yes. I *know* this. It’s been uncomfortable to feel – there’s been this concept dancing along the edges of my consciousness, my awareness maybe not quite ready to touch it or not quite able to access it.
It just hit me. The pride.
Oh, I preach it. It’s okay to not be okay. But I don’t live it. Do you relate to me? If yes, this next part might hit your heart like it’s blazing through mine right now.
What makes me think I’m too good to not be okay?
And, ouch. That one hurts.
Because I’m not. I need these moments and seasons of brokenness to be able to recognize my own humanity, my frailty, and fragility. My need for other humans.
The hard work of healing.
When we have trauma histories, we typically don’t want to let others in. We build walls and moats. We construct tall towers and fill them with our internal snipers, ready to shut down any threat to our psyche. We close ourselves off.
But in these seasons of not being okay, that’s not sustainable. We need others and isn’t there so much beauty in allowing someone else to step into your life, create community, and share their strength?
Tearing those walls down, clearing the towers, draining the moats… it’s all terrifying. It’s a painful process. It’s recognizing what saved us once is ending us now. It’s being able to see our flaws and persevering in working against the instincts we created when we weren’t safe. It’s being willing to see that we’re not at fault for what was done to us but we are responsible for our health and healing now.
I am not Super Woman. I don’t have superhuman strength. I cannot be an island. In our world, there are no magical candles bestowing supernatural gifts of self-preservation or living houses that protect us from the bad guys. I cannot save myself from the ugliness in the world, I can only allow myself the space to meet others and be met in those painful places.
I think I’ve just realized why it’s so very much okay to not be okay.
When we truly believe we can control it all, be it all, manage it all, and carry it all, we cut ourselves off from a world of relationships. Some will hurt but the beautiful ones? They’re the cracks of gold running through the splintered and shattered places.
Maybe… just maybe…
The gold is where we find the peace to not be okay.
Find your fight – D.S.