Someone says to you - how are you doing? The standard response without hesitation is usually - I’m doing OK, how are you?
Let's be honest. When we are struggling, it doesn’t feel natural to answer truthfully. We automatically reply, usually on autopilot, and say we are OK. But the truth is that we may not be OK. Nonetheless, we respond with that canned response to fit in, fly under the radar, and not open the door to an uncomfortable conversation.
I mean, I get it. It would be weird to start dumping your troubles on someone who casually asked how you are doing. And the truth of the matter is that some people simply ask out of habit, and they just expect to hear that standard response. But isn’t it weird when you feel one way and respond in another?
If we are lucky, we have at least one person with whom we feel comfortable letting our guard down. But sometimes, we don’t want to burden that person. We tend to carry a lot on our shoulders, and we don’t necessarily want our loved ones worrying that we can’t handle our load. We know we will get back to being OK, but at this moment, we are not.
Isn’t it exhausting to wear the mask we call “I'm OK"?
So what is OK? By definition, it means we are satisfactory. Let’s break that down. Satisfactory means you are fulfilling your expectations or needs. How are you doing with that? Do you feel like your cup is full at the moment? Or do you feel like life is weighing you down?
From an early age, we learned that the ultimate goal in life is to be happy. So we embarked on a journey to find happiness. As we entered adulthood and started our own families, things got more complex. And while there are lots of happy times, there are also challenging times. And the truth is it's hard being a mom. It’s certainly rewarding, but it’s not always easy. And our decisions not only impact us but our whole family. So many different thoughts fill our minds. Do I become a stay-at-home mom or a working mom? Do I need to feed my family all organic foods, or is the discussion around pesticides overhyped? Is fluoride good or bad? What kind of parenting style is best? Am I letting my kids have too much screen time? Am I being selfish when I try and focus on myself? The list of worries goes on and on.
Then the world felt like it shifted. We entered this pandemic and now live in this complex political environment. Life is even more complicated. We are in the middle of a virus outbreak with even more challenging questions. Mask or no mask? Vaccine or no vaccine? In-person school or home school? Work from home or work in the office? Hang out with groups of people or stay home alone? Travel or don’t travel? Democrat or Republican?…it is EXHAUSTING. We are living in unprecedented times, with so much added stress. Sometimes it feels like the weight of the world is LITERALLY on our shoulders.
Ladies, we are dealing with so much $hit right now.
So I ask you sincerely. How are you doing? Are you OK? Like really OK? It’s on my heart to tell you that it’s OK if you are NOT OK. I think a lot of us are doing everything in our power to hold it all together, and we feel like we are crumbling under the pressure.
I’m not going to tell you to push through it with toxic positivity. Allow yourself to be human and feel it. It’s ok NOT to be ok sometimes. Maybe you need to cry it out, or scream or just have a little pity party for yourself. Experts say that we move through an emotion in 90 seconds, as long as we don’t let our mind jump in and start with the stories. Let it pass through you like a wave. It will not fix everything, but you will feel better after the release.
And if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it, whether that's from your family, friends, or professional services. This is a time when you really need to take care of yourself. Don’t forget that this too shall pass, and you will come out stronger on the other side. And if someone close to you asks if you are OK, it’s OK to tell them the truth. It’s OK, not be ok. Sending much love.