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Most of us have responded to the question, “How are you doing” with a flippant, “I’m OK”.
We don’t find it necessary to open up to the grocery store clerk or a co-worker with, “Actually I’m having a pretty shitty day”. It’s just easier to be polite and respond with, “I’m OK.”
But here is some food for thought, maybe your answer of, “I’m OK”, is the truth!
Let’s look at some synonyms for “OK”
Now if you were to answer their question with a, “Oh, I’m just hunky-dory”. Most likely it would come across as a passive aggressive, “Not doing so great Bob, shove it up your ass”.
“It’s Ok To Not Be Ok” has become a popular tag line on social media. But I question, doesn’t that indicate that OK = Happy and any other emotion = Not OK which is bad?
Maybe OK is actually a response of a passive aggressive middle finger.
Personally, I think when you are dealing with a divorce, job loss, the effects of COVID-19, or any difficult transition in life; it’s perfectly acceptable and necessary to be pissed, to cry, to feel all of your emotions.
But why are those emotions construed as “not OK”?
Stating that “It’s OK to NOT be OK” is insinuating; feeling the emotions that are involved in grief are not OK feelings to feel.
Let’s break down the stages of grief:
When you are going through stages of grief, denial helps you survive. In this stage of grief things don’t make sense. You go a little numb and it’s as if what is happening isn’t reality. Denial helps you to pace your feelings of grief. It is nature’s way of letting in only bits and pieces of the hurt. Slowly preparing you for the upcoming stages.
Anger is an emotion we experience from the time we are babies. There is something sort of cute about an angry baby. On the other hand, not so much an angry adult. We are told that as adults we need to control our anger. Making us as a society fear anger and look at it in a negative light; however, anger is a necessary state in the healing process.
Underneath ager is pain, and feeling anger is a hell of a lot more invigorating than feeling pain. We are often told to suppress anger rather than feel it. But the more you allow yourself to feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate. And the more you will heal.
“What if” statements are our way of trying to bargain with God, a higher being or whatever you believe is out there that can take you back to the life that you had so you will stop feeling your pain.
We bombard ourselves with “What if” statements.
- “What if I was a better wife?”
- “What if I would have left my job a year ago?”
- “What if we would have gone to the doctor sooner to find the cancer?”
Guilt creeps in during this stage; blaming yourself for failing to do something you think you should have done so you aren’t in the situation you are in.
After bargaining we move directly into the present. Empty feelings sneak in and grief enters our lives on a deeper level. Depression feels like it will last forever. This is a stage that many support systems sometimes struggle with, wondering when you will “snap out of it”.
Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all right” with what has happened. This is not the case; most people don’t ever feel “all right” about a loss. This stage is more about accepting the reality that “this” is your new reality and you can’t change the past.
Learning to adjust to the new life is hard. Which is why it can take a long time to get to this stage. All the while you are bouncing back and forth with the other stages of grief. Finding acceptance at first may be just about having more good days than bad. And eventually your life adjusts. You keep pressing forward with your new reality.
All of these steps, all of these emotions, all of these feelings…are not only “OK”, they are necessary emotions for healing.
Perhaps the next time someone says to you, “It’s OK to not be OK”. Don’t be afraid to respond with, “Oh I’m OK, I might be crying…but that my friend is OK!”
It’s perfectly OK and normal to feel all of the feels. Yell when you must, get upset, and go through all the stages. Because, if you don’t and you put on a happy face; even through tragedy, you are never going to get through it.
Cry it out girl! That is a part of it, that is normal, and that is OK!
This is a guest post written by Jasmine Rice.
Jasmine is a certified Transformation Coach working with women navigating challenging life transitions. Her own divorce and personal life challenges have inspired her passion to support women in transforming themselves. She believes there is no one-size-fits all approach to healing and she helps women create their own life recipe!
You can find Jasmine through any of the below links…
Please share this post to help others in your life who may not be “OK”.