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Dr. Lalitaa

It is Okay Not to be Okay

Life has a way of handing you some really sour lemons every once in a while. Although many motivational speakers respond to this by encouraging you to make lemonade when life throws lemons your way, sometimes you just don’t have the strength to even do that. There do come certain times in your life when you just want to stay submerged in your sadness. Those are the days when you don’t feel like being chirpy or answering with ‘I am fine’ when someone asks you how you feel. Those days can be hard and can really take a toll on your well-being making you feel all chaotic deep within. As upsetting as those days are, remember one thing – it is okay to not feel okay.

From a very young age, we have somehow or the other been conditioned to just feel good and happy. If you ask anyone how they’d like to feel, around 90% chances are they would reply with ‘happy’ or ‘content’.

That’s because we are conditioned to put labels on even our emotions. Emotions such as happiness, joy, peace and excitement are considered good and positive, and the only ones we dare experience. Sadness, envy, fear and similar emotions are mostly labeled as negative or unhealthy emotions and those we should refrain from experiencing. But why is that? Why is it a bad thing to feel sad? Why do we try to shun gloominess? Why do we have to bottle up our fears and grief? Why can’t we openly talk about our depression? Why is that?

There do come certain times in your life when you just want to stay submerged in your sadness.

From all my findings, the research I have done and the people I have closely worked with, I have discovered that emotions and feelings such as anxiety, depression, agitation, embarrassment, guilt, shame, jealousy and hatred are still a big taboo in the society. They aren’t accepted as much as happiness is and it is not considered appropriate to talk about them. It may also be because just as we are conditioned not to speak about such emotions, we therefore do not know how to manage them when someone speaks to us about them.

Experiencing such emotions for really long periods of time can harm our well-being. These emotions in themselves aren’t good or bad, but it is the way we hold on to them that blows things out of proportion. So if you are sad, there is nothing wrong with that, but if you keep hugging that sadness tightly for way too long, it can sabotage your psychological and emotional development. Feeling an emotion and going through it is okay and I repeat it is okay to feel depressed, stress, anxious, guilty, afraid and disappointed. Your emotions are a part of your existence and it is important that you embrace and accept them.

From a very young age, we are told to quickly wipe off our tears and smile or that good girls or strong boys don’t cry or that it is important to be strong and weak people have no place in the world. It is all of these beliefs that are shoved down our throats that then influence our thought process, beliefs and mindset. So we too start believing that crying or feeling sad isn’t right and the moment we experience these emotions, a siren starts hooting crazily in our system compelling us to discard that emotion out of our mind and body for good. Sadly, it is this very reason why we feel unstable and chaotic, and why we don’t live the life we truly yearn to live. We are trained to believe how wrong it is to not feel okay and how important it is to quickly replace your sadness with forced happiness.

Your emotions are a part of your existence and it is important that you embrace and accept them.

Depression, anxiety, chronic stress, anger issues and other emotional disorders are not an indication of you being crazy. They are just issues like flu, fever or a heart condition that you need to deal with to live better. Instead of disowning them, be there for yourself by acknowledging what you are going through, embracing it and then understanding it deeply to deal with it the right way. The next time you go through a bout of depression, remember it is ok not to be ok. There is so much support for you to access.

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