We all struggle with moments and experiences that challenge us. That make us scared. Times when we feel frozen, stuck, and hopeless. We feel lost and confused.
Think about a time when you felt this way. What was going on in your head? What emotions were you feeling?
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt this way before. A few days ago, I was feeling sick of everything. There was too much to do. I felt like I was running from one thing to the next — and not just physically, but mentally as well. I felt angry at the circumstances I was in, and I desperately wanted it all to just STOP. I needed quiet, peace, and comfort. But in the hustle and bustle of life, I found none.
I felt anxious. Tired. Scared. Angry. Confused. At one point, I even felt that there was simply no point of doing anything at all. Sleep? No. Eat? No. Play? No. Work? No. On the outside, I am sure I looked okay. I can hold things together quite well in times of stress, you see. And so can many of us. We have trained ourselves to appear well and ‘put together’ in these moments because we know that despite feeling frustrated and tired, life still moves on. And so, we ‘suck it up’ and try to carry on.
But inside, I felt awful. I wanted to scream. To tell someone that I was TIRED. I was SAD. I felt so confused at the way I was feeling — I did not want to study or go to work, and yet, I loved these things dearly. I did not want to play or talk to my loved ones or friends, although I knew that these people cared for me. I did not want to sleep, because doing so made me feel like I was running away from my challenges. So, what could I do?
At that moment, I burst. I cried and cried and cried. And you know what? I felt better afterwards. I realized that for so long, I had been holding this pain and stress inside. I was trying so much to show that I was strong, to not let anyone feel my pain. I did not want to hurt my loved ones around me and make them feel sad or worried about me. But crying was immensely therapeutic. Idiscovered that though I am strong, I am also capable of feeling emotions. I am allowed to release my anger, sadness, and frustrations by crying — and that doesn’t make me weak or vulnerable. I am entitled to tell myself when things are tough now, I can still feel worried and scared — and that is normal.
I am learning to let myself feel emotions and express them. This is a big change for me. For so long, I have huddled these feelings inside of me, worried that I will make my family and friends sad. I told myself that I could not cry or be sad because that meant I was weak. But I am learning that all emotions are healthy, as long as I express them in positive and meaningful ways.
And so after I cried, I felt relieved. Did my problems magically disappear? No. But I felt honest with myself. I realized that I am a strong individual who is not afraid to express sadness, frustration, and fatigue. I am human and I am capable of feeling a range of emotions. That is what makes me in touch with my brain, body, and soul. It is not shameful to cry, just like it is appropriate to laugh. There is a season for all emotions, and expressed appropriately, this can be therapeutic and healthy. And although crying may seem like a ‘depressing’ activity, it is actually very therapeutic to let yourself feel these emotions and take the time to acknowledge that things are tough right now. One day they will get better — and inside, you know that this is true. Your prior experiences have shown you that you are able to defeat these tribulations, and that you are strong enough to pass through your obstacles.
You are okay, just the way you are. Positive emotions, and difficult emotions. Moments of sadness and frustration, and moments of happiness and laughter. You are human — and you are allowed to feel this way. It is okay to not be okay.
But just remember, after you are not ‘okay’, think about what makes you OKAY. Think about how strong, beautiful, capable, and amazing you are. Think about the things that make you proud of yourself. Think about the blessings you have, and the talents you own. Think about the beauties you have experienced, the treasures that make you smile, and the warmth that fills your heart.
Things will be okay. You will be okay. Keep fighting, dear warrior. Because the battle may be tough, but you are tougher.