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It's Okay to Not Be Okay: Liberating Yourself from the Need to Always be "Okay" or "Fine"

Prioritizing Self-Care and Self-Compassion while liberating Yourself from Societal Pressures

Need to be okay / Why do I put my needs last?

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In today's fast-paced and demanding world, there is an expectation to always be "okay" or "fine." We're often told to put on a brave face, hide our struggles, and maintain an image of strength and happiness. But what if I told you that it's okay to not be okay? Embracing your vulnerabilities, acknowledging your emotions, and seeking support are essential steps towards genuine well-being and personal growth. In this article, we'll delve into the liberating concept of accepting our imperfections, breaking free from societal pressures, and learning to prioritize our mental and emotional health.

The Mask of Perfection:

Society often values and rewards individuals who appear confident, composed, and always "fine." We're conditioned to believe that admitting to struggles or displaying vulnerability is a sign of weakness. However, the truth is that no one is immune to challenges or difficult emotions. By perpetuating the myth of perfection, we deny ourselves the opportunity to authentically connect with others and seek the support we truly need.

A white full-faced drama mask against a grey background with a large black splatter on the backdrop.

To break free from the mask of perfection, it's crucial to start embracing the power of vulnerability and open communication. Recognize that being honest about your struggles doesn't make you weak; in fact, it demonstrates strength and courage. Begin by challenging the internalized beliefs that dictate you must always appear "okay" or "fine." Allow yourself to feel and express your true emotions, whether it's sadness, fear, or frustration. Opening up to trusted friends, family members, or even a therapist can provide a safe space to share your experiences without judgment. For myself, I found that the pressure to appear "okay" contributed to me hating my job, and having intense waves of panic or depression when i thought of going to work. It got to the point that I called in multiple times a week, and was often late. I left that job and found another, not realizing why I did those things, I blamed the job. Sure enough, shortly after starting this new job, the call-ins and lates started up again. For now I am trying to let myself not smile, and to decrease the times I go into "I'm fine and dandy" mode.

Embracing Authenticity:

It's time to break free from the confines of societal expectations and embrace our authentic selves. Recognize that it's perfectly normal to experience a wide range of emotions, including sadness, fear, anger, or anxiety. By allowing ourselves to acknowledge and express these emotions, we open the door to genuine self-acceptance and compassion. Embracing our imperfections can be liberating, empowering us to live a more authentic and fulfilling life.

The next step for me and others in this dilemma, will be to express when we're actually not okay. we don't have to go into a spiel about our troubles, but simply that we am not feeling well, and maybe a bit about the main or current cause. For example:

"Oh, my work life is really overwhelming right now." or, "things with my family are pretty rough, and it's taking a toll on my mental health." In this way, we are able to be honest and open without going into overdrive about our issues.

After becoming more comfortable with expressing your true feelings, we must take a hard look at those we have in our lives, and decide who is really there for you? Who is it safe to tell the deeper sides to? Do you have a friend who just likes talking about themselves? Or a family member that listens and sympathizes but then turns around and tells others all you've told them? These are not the people to go into a deeper level about your troubles to. Similarly, a coworker or a casual friend may seem sympathetic, but without a certain level of familiarity and trust, you likely wont get the reactions you want or need, and those things come with time and practice. With all things, use your best judgment when choosing who you let into your "inner circle."

Remember, true connections are built on authenticity, and by letting go of the need to always be "okay," you can forge deeper relationships and find the support and understanding you deserve.

Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world. - Adam Grant

The Power of Vulnerability:

Contrary to popular belief, vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we create genuine connections with others and foster empathy and understanding. By sharing our struggles, we invite others to do the same, creating a supportive and compassionate community. Embracing vulnerability requires courage, but the rewards in terms of personal growth and meaningful relationships are invaluable. A good book to check out on this topic is "Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead" by Brené Brown." This book explores the power of vulnerability and how it can lead to a more fulfilling and authentic life.

I go more into this topic here in my article about How Trauma Affects Your Relationships.

Seeking Support:

Recognizing that it's okay to not be okay also means acknowledging when we need support. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength and self-awareness. Whether it's talking to a trusted friend, family member, or seeking professional assistance, reaching out is a crucial step towards healing and personal well-being. There are various resources available, such as therapy, support groups, or online communities, where you can find the support and guidance you need.

There are so many things to consider when choosing a therapist, check out "Embracing the Journey: Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Therapist." But of course there are many who cannot afford a therapist, or do not want one for other reasons, here is, "Healing from Childhood Trauma: Practical Steps for Recovery."

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Self-Care and Self-Compassion:

Taking care of our mental and emotional health is vital. Practice self-care activities that nurture your well-being, such as engaging in hobbies, spending time in nature, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and prioritizing rest and relaxation. Cultivate self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and forgiveness. Remember, it's okay to prioritize your own needs and set healthy boundaries.

Self care is not only bubble baths and guilty pleasures, though of course those are fun and good ways to treat yourself and give yourself care. Self care and self compassion include listening to your body and mind's needs without judgment. Pay attention to the signals of exhaustion, overwhelm, or emotional distress, and respond with compassion. Give yourself permission to take breaks when necessary, whether it's a short pause during a busy day or a longer period of self-reflection and rejuvenation. Remember that self-care is not selfish; it is a vital investment in your overall well-being.

Along with that, it is important to recognize how you talk to yourself, and when you're letting yourself worry over things you have no control over. Its not so easy to just start talking to yourself with love. First acknowledge how you talk to yourself, how would you react if someone else talked to you like that? Start by accepting that maybe, just maybe, what you're saying isn't 100% true; it's a good start. Secondly, I know I worry and stress chronically over things I have no immediate control over. It feels bad worrying, but it feels better to worry and feel like I am doing something, rather than live in the moment knowing I cant do anything about it. Sometimes I get so stressed about something that I put off what I actually can do. If you relate to this, try some grounding techniques, meditation, or having a personal mantra to repeat to yourself to bring you back into the moment.

I recommend, "The Self-Love Workbook: A Life-Changing Guide to Boost Self-Esteem, Recognize Your Worth, and Find Genuine Happiness" - This interactive journal provides prompts and activities to promote self-reflection, self-compassion, and personal growth. Remember that by prioritizing self-care and self-compassion, you not only replenish your own energy but also empower yourself to show up fully and authentically in all areas of your life. Consider using fidget toys to help relieve stress and anxiety. These fidget toys for adults is discreet and quiet; Little Magic Block EDC Fidget Toy and, High Speed Metal Sensory Hand Fidget Spinner.

black dots with the largest in the middle and decreasing sizes as each dot moves outward from the middle.

In a world that constantly pressures us to always be "okay," it's essential to liberate ourselves from this expectation. Embracing the truth that it's okay to not be okay opens the door to self-acceptance, vulnerability, and genuine connections with others. By seeking support, practicing self-care, and cultivating self-compassion, we can prioritize our mental and emotional well-being and embark on a transformative journey towards personal growth. Remember, your struggles do not define you, but your courage to face them and seek help does. Embrace your imperfections, and let go of the need to always be "fine." You deserve a life of authenticity, self-care, and genuine well-being.

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Healing Hope


For as long as I can remember, I have been depressed and suicidal with self harm tendencies. I thought I was crazy. Why did I feel this way when I'd had a generally normal childhood, with good and loving parents? I had no idea that this was not the full story. As I gradually slipped into my twenties, I started unearthing the horrors of my childhood, and I still am. There are a lot of things I still cannot accept-  and if I am honest, I often loose hope. That's why I want to spread information and my experiences, to hopefully create a community that supports each other, and heals our broken hope. Together walking this treacherous journey of healing from childhood trauma and abuse; this climb to safety and a healthy mind.


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