It is OK not to be OK.
In our society of social media and filters, we often portray the image that, “My life is perfect,” and feel embarrassed when it is not.
Of course, no life is perfect. In my concierge coaching practice, I work with executives, celebrities and professional athletes who seem to “have it all.” And, even they are human. Even they struggle with anxiety, depressed moods, and difficulties moving past tribulations and traumas. It is part of life.
Being happy all the time is not really realistic. And yet, there is much that can be done to assist us when we are not feeling the way we want.
For some reason, many people have the belief they should be able to cope with difficult times themselves. “I just need to deal with it myself”; “I can’t change the past so there’s no sense in talking about it”; or “If I were stronger, I could handle this.” And when we can’t handle something on our own, many feel a sense of guilt, shame or helplessness: “There is something wrong with me, and there is nothing I can do.”
With complete love and respect in my heart, I have to call a big BS.
Dealing with difficult times is a skill, a way of thinking and acting.
And any skill is learned. You don’t come out of your momma’s womb being able to change a lightbulb or compute mathematical equations. These skills are learned. Effectively dealing with difficult and even traumatic experiences is also a learned skill.
We learn in two main ways: direct teaching (someone tells you, “here’s how you do it”) and modeling. In this latter approach, we watch other people doing something and assimilate the information so we can apply it ourselves.
To demonstrate, let’s look at another skill: speaking a language. If you grew up in the United States, then English is likely your primary language. You learned how to speak English from going to school and reading books (direct teaching). You also learned much from the people around you who modeled speech, that is, your parents or others in your childhood who spoke English.
Makes sense, right?
Now, if I asked you, “Can you speak Italian?”, and you cannot, then what would be your reaction? “What is wrong with me that I cannot speak this language?” or “I am a failure because I can’t”? No way!
My guess is your reaction would be something like, “No, I don’t speak Italian. I never learned it.”
No guilt. No shame. No helplessness.
In fact, if you decided you wanted to change that and start speaking Italian, you might take a class, download an app that teaches Italian, or go to Italy and spend three months immersing yourself in the language.
Makes sense, yes?
Well, the same thing can be said when it comes to the skill of dealing with the past or addressing anxiety or depressed moods.
Have you ever had a course on how to deal with distress? How to cope with trauma or other life challenges? I am guessing not.
And did you have stellar role models who had gone through the exact experiences you have and coping exquisitely? Probably not. Not because your parents and caregivers didn’t love you and want what’s best for you. Rather, they never learned these skills either.
So, please tell me WHY you think you should be able to deal with whatever happened to you or whatever is happening to you on your own?
Getting help is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it is an indication of strength.
It is easier to keep going the way you have been going.
Taking a stand and making a change takes courage, it takes vigor, and it takes energy.
Just as learning a new language or acquiring a new skill does.
And, please hear me say: YOU ARE WORTH IT.
You are worth putting in the time and energy to help heal yourself.
For some, this means working with a therapist or another healthcare provider.
For others, it means reading a self-help book and working through the exercises.
And some will benefit from a combination of these two, which you can find at the website Online-Therapy.
Still, for others, it means taking some time out to heal, to stop pushing yourself to do more and relax. Meditate, go for a walk, take a warm bath, spend some relaxing time with a loved one. Share what happened with someone close to you and let them support you.
Learn and apply new skills to cope with the past so you can flourish in the present and future.
So, remember, it is OK not to be OK. And then get the tools and support you need to help you be OK again, or even for the first time in your life.