Look forward, move on, get over it, think positively… these messages cloud our systems. Don’t look weak, don’t let it get you down, you get the picture.
All of these adages have some credibility and in general they can be helpful, but oftentimes they have the potential to also be harmful. I think that in our society we are so focused on being the happiest, the most fulfilled, the strongest, that we forget the most basic and simple truth: We are HUMAN. Sometimes before we tell someone to just be happy, think positively, or to move on, maybe we should let them know it’s okay to not be okay.
For so much of my life I have thought, wow, I am so good at getting through things! I was unbothered. Life was good, I was good, it was all good! Don’t get me wrong, life has been good to me, but the times when it wasn’t, I thought that strength meant not letting it get me down. So I buried it. I didn’t get through it, I didn’t move on from it, I just covered it up and sat on top of it and kept on smiling. But a facade will always crack. It’s not solid, it does not hold up. Years of repressed negativity came creeping up and it made me feel anything but strong. Broken, weak, lost. How could I continue to smile, or flourish, or uplift others when I couldn’t even figure out how to keep myself together? I needed to not be okay. Desperate, I continued trying to replace the parts, patch up the facade, plaster a smile over the pain. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, leave the house, look in the mirror. Guilt and misery crept in because I could see the things in my current life I had to be thankful for and to be happy about, but I was poisoned by the things left inside of me I had not dealt with. Move forward, smile, be happy… I wanted those things and struggling with my toxic insides made me feel like I would never have them again. I was broken, defeated.
It’s never too late. I thought that if something happened 20 years, or even 5 years ago I should be able to just toss it aside and move on, I didn’t have the right to let it affect me so. This was just another unrealistic and unfair burden I had placed upon myself. One by one I began to face up to the darknesses that lived inside of me. Sounds easy, but it wasn’t, believe me. But I did what I should have done from the very beginning, I let myself process and handle those darknesses, I was not okay and it was okay. And as I processed, I finally began to heal. Then, and only then was I able to begin to manifest light again, to smile again,to move forward and think positively. Before I could move on, I needed to not be okay and I needed to know that it was okay.
Maybe you need to not be okay, and that’s okay. Don’t live with your darkness longer than you have to because the world wants you to think positively and move on. Because trust me, there is only so far you can go when you’re dragging a boulder with you.