We often hold ourselves to unrealistic standards. And I’m not sure why.. The truth is no one is perfect and mistakes are common, but still, so many of us become our own worst critic. We can be our own worst enemy.
I suppose this is why there is comfort in the simple idea which says “it’s okay not to be okay.”
At least for the moment, the idea “It’s okay to not be okay” alleviates the pressure we put upon ourselves. This allows us the permission to stall the irrational ideas we have and unplug from the thoughts that punish us the most.
How have we become this way? How is it that we feel so dangerously alone if we make a mistake or have an emotional challenge that prevents us from our best possible potential?
How does this happen? And why?
I suppose part of the problem is our misperceptions about us and the mental or emotional challenges we have. Or perhaps we are all this way because of the commonality, which due to the misperceptions of the way we think others will perceive us.
This is why we have Stigma-Free campaigns and awareness movements. However, imagine this: Think about this for a second. We need awareness and stigma-free campaigns to advise us that it’s okay to not be okay.
Why is that?
Why do people have a fragile sense of self? Why is it more common for people to say they are their own worst enemy instead of their own best friend or hero?
Is it ego? Is it shame?
Or is this a result of a false perception of self? Either way, the fact remains that no one wants to be imperfect.
No one wants to have an issue. Certainly no one ever asks to struggle with panic or anxiety. No one ever asked to be hurt or abused or have a traumatic experience. And no one ever stood on a line one day and signed up to have depression. None of this is a choice. However, life’s menu does not always come with most attractive options.
The question I have is a question I have asked others in groups, in classes, and in presentations.
What can we do to normalize ourselves instead of living beneath the idea that there is something wrong with us? What can we do or what can we say that will somehow cancel the external pressures that we assume people are focused on us when we are at our worst.
I have grown into the opinion that the bravest thing anyone could ever be is themselves. And oppositely, the most cowardly thing anyone could ever do is knock someone down for being who they are.
There is this idea that people are thinking about us or talking about us. But the truth is, even if they are, then so what?
Who are they anyway? Who is anyone else in this world, other than another person with a list of their own imperfections and tragedies.
We all have “Something” going on in our lives. Everyone experiences a downfall or an emotional dilemma. We all have moments of stress and/or panic. And yes, everyone processes their lives differently. We learn at different speeds and retain information at different depths of understanding.
To each their own, yes, I agree.
But to each is their own talent. To each is their own individual ability to be loved exactly as they are. And there are those that see themselves as unlovable and/or unworthy.
Meanwhile, they assume others see them the same way. But yet the tragedy here is the truth becomes lost. The tragedy here is the personal blindness; it is the hysterical sense of self, when in fact, none of this is true. Personal ugliness is often an inaccurate reflection we see as a result of mishandled ideas, which have turned inward and against us.
This is due to an inaccurate perception of who we are. And until this can be untangled or straightened or at best, until we learn to disconnect from this pathway of thinking, we doom ourselves to this same belief that somehow, we are not worthy.
We have no redeeming value because, put simply, we have life going on. We have something “In us” that keeps us from being normal.
But what if we are normal?
What if regardless to our ability to see clearly, we were actually perfectly fine exactly the way we are?
What if we were to let go of our grip which holds onto our unrealistic standards? What if we sought to improve ourselves on a daily basis? What if we did this without the idea of right or wrong or win or lose?
Could you imagine the energy we would have left if we decided to let go of our stressors and just exhaled, like “Ah,” and gave ourselves the permission to just be us; could you imagine this?
Suddenly, there would be no more comparisons to other people. There would be no more better or worse. There would just be us being us without the worry of rejection or imperfection or the feeling as if someone is looking and seeing us as weak or sick. This means there would be no more fears of vulnerability, which, when we come down to it; fear is the machine that churns the emotional challenges.
Be advised, there are different types of abuse. There are different kinds of abusers. There are some that abuse others. Some have been abused. And some abuse themselves. Some abuse themselves and others as well.
There is physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, and the list goes on. Imagine how much energy we would have in our system if none of this was a factor anymore.
Imagine how efficient we would be if we were to let go of ourselves; and what I mean is imagine what we would have in our reserves if we were rid of fear, regret, shame, and guilt. Imagine if we learned to understand ourselves and the way we work. Imagine if we were able to step away from our own restrictions and move away from our concerns about other people or what they think.
The truth is it’s really okay to not be okay. Pain hurts. Life doesn’t always play well with others.
There are the unfortunate truths that come with life, which are unavoidable. It’s okay to be upset or hurt or to grieve or mourn. It is okay to be us, exactly as we are, no matter what.
It’s okay to improve and it’s okay to not understand how. More than anything, it’s okay to ask for help. This is our right. No one has the right to hurt us, abuse us, or keep us from reaching our personal best. Hence, it is important that we do not give our rights away.
This is why the campaigns are out there. This is why there are awareness events. This is not because the subjects are new.
We have awareness events because the more people we reach, the more chances we find to help someone to resolve their personal dilemmas.
And do you know what that’s called.
It’s called saving a life.
Suicide is a killer. Literally.
Mental Illness is a killer.
Addiction is a Killer.
Alcoholism is a killer.
Self-destructive behavior is a killer
Sometimes medication falls short. Sometimes services are not efficient. Sometimes, all you need is someone to come along and lend a spark because even in the darkest times; so long as there is a spark, then there is the light.
I remember when times were so dark that I could not see my own hand in front of my face. And then someone came along to lend me a spark. Someone helped me to see a glimpse. And it didn’t happen overnight, but in the end, almost heroically, I’m still here.
Mental illness and all, more than anything, I am me and able to see the light. This is the benefit of awareness.