It’s okay to not be okay

It’s really okay.

If you google “most common lie told” you get a bunch of pretty similar results. Perhaps the top lie ever told is “I’m good.” “I’m fine.” That everything is okay. When asked “how are you?” or “how has everything been so far?” Lots of people will respond with “Good!” or “It’s been great!” Perhaps because it’s the shortest response, or maybe because ya’ll have something else more important to discuss in the meantime. 

In my experiences, however, most of the time I find that people say “I’m okay” simply because they don’t want to burden the other person with their problems. A lot of people have a hard time being open with others, even with friends or siblings. Maybe it’s to do with trust, or because they think other people won’t “get it” or that the other person will be annoyed if they share too much, and then it’ll just become awkward.

The type 2 in me likes digging deep and knowing the real state of the people around me. One of my favorite questions to ask my friends is “What is one high and one low of your day?” I find this helpful for me to understand people better because it gives them an opportunity to be truthful about one good thing and one icky thing about their day. 

Where am I going with this? 

Story Time.

This past semester, I was printing out papers at my dorm lobby when -out of sheer coincidence – (or one might say it was God-ordained, you know? ¯\_◉‿◉_/¯ ) one of my best friends at BU popped out of nowhere, scurrying past me. She was being quiet, reserved, and didn’t say anything. Right away I knew something was off, because we always overreact our greetings when we see each other. I didn’t have to ask what one high and one low of her day was. She’s a smart bean studying one of the toughest science majors out there, and had just come out of seemingly the exam of one’s life. What happened next was a blur. We ended up back in the dorm room, where she revealed that she received a less than desirable grade on the exam, the professor was not being the most reasonable, and that this exam’s grade was i m p e r a t i v e to a lot of things coming in the future, and would influence her shot at medical school.  

Now, if you’re on a pre-med track or studying something similar/equally demanding with the hope of landing in one of the top industries in the world, you might have an inkling of what my friend here was going through. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone more distraught, void of all hope. I felt awful, because I didn’t know how to tell her what she should do given

  1. I study film, television & entertainment
  2. I’m someone who vowed chemistry in the 11th grade was going to be the last science class I’d ever take

so no matter how good of a friend I was I really just didn’t understand how the medical tracks worked. What I did know was that she wasn’t okay. At that moment in time, it was probably the worst thing to be happening. Not knowing what to do, or what direction to take. Nothing that I did or said could have made it better, so I just silently sat with her and offered to pray for her. 

About a week or two later, after having time to reflect, she told me what happened in that moment was crucial and that she was grateful for whatever ended up happening. She didn’t know how else she could have tackled that moment, and she realized she didn’t need/want to have someone telling her what she should do next. What she needed in that moment was just someone to tell her it was okay, and that she didn’t need to figure it all out in the moment. She couldn’t have asked anything else from me – nothing anyone said or done could have improved the state of her mind, so all she needed was the time to grieve, be sad, and fall asleep crying. Which brings me to my next point:

Being sad is totally valid.

Sad feelings are valid, just as much as the “I’m good” lies we tell. Often in life we go through not seasons, but moments of happiness and depression. Think of it like a sound wave, up and down and up and down. The tackle of 9-5’s, school, extracurriculars, break-ups, frustrating coworkers, that annoying 89 in Stats class that won’t go up to a 90 (🙄), or overwhelming personal situations can knock the life out of us until we’re forced to combat the stress for the sake of our sanity. What happened here with my friend taught me that it’s okay to not be okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a negative nellie, or that you’re not emotionally strong, or that you’re a failure and won’t succeed later in life. It just means you’ve exhausted yourself from something, and you have every reason to grieve about it. You are allowed to cancel a planned hangout because you don’t feel 100%. 

You’re gonna be okay.

So friend, grieve. Be sad – just don’t let the sadness take over for too long. Time really does heal wounds, and once the wounds don’t feel as fresh anymore, I challenge you to share that period of not okay-ness with someone. You’d be surprised to see how willing people are to listen. 

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” – Galatians 6:2”

– Galatians 6:2

Until next time,

Grace

Question of the Day: How are you doing today? Let me know in the comments below!! 🙂

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