“I’m not okay, you’re not okay, and that’s okay.”
Do you ever notice how everyone is always “okay?” I find it a little sickening, and irritating, and unhealthy that no one ever admits to being not okay. Sometimes you can tell that people are struggling or having difficulty with something; yet when you ask them about it, they insist that they are okay.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to other people? I feel that by pretending that we are always coping well with our lives and not facing any challenges, we are perpetuating the idea that it is abnormal to struggle with life’s challenges. We all struggle with life sometimes. Some people have more struggles and some people have less. Regardless, when we constantly feel that the people around us are coping well all the time, it only makes us feel bad about ourselves for not coping well. And you know what’s worse? When we feel like we are the only people struggling, we become isolated and we don’t reach out for help. Similarly, when we know people are struggling and they don’t reach out to us for help (even when we offer), we feel isolated from them in just the same way.
I tried working on this for a while – while I was reading Brené Brown’s books on Shame and Vulnerability. As Dr. Brown alludes to in her books, we don’t admit to being “not okay” because it feels shameful and we are afraid of being vulnerable. I tried overcoming my own shame and allowing myself to be vulnerable. However, there is an overwhelming majority of people who are not ready for this. We have all been hiding our shame and vulnerability for such a long time that when someone reveals it, we are unsure of how to deal with it – so we push it away like we do with everything else that makes us uncomfortable. Brené Brown is ahead of her time – and trying out her advice can sometimes make life a little more isolating.
You have to pick the right people with which to be vulnerable. There aren’t many people I will open up to and admit that I’m not okay. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of them here with me now. I need to go back and revisit the world of Shame and Vulnerability, I think. In the meantime, I just hope that more people will read Brené Brown’s books and realize that there is a whole world of human connection that is waiting for us if we would all just admit that sometimes we are “not okay.”