Did the song come to mind when you saw that title? It sure did for me when I picked it.

Have you ever been asked “how are you?” and you immediately replied with “I’m fine”? We all do this without putting any thought at all into it. When asked this very popular question, have you actually thought deeply about your state of mind, body and soul before giving a reply? Maybe not even for their sake but for yours, just so that you know your state at that moment and how to deal with it. I understand that it’s not everyone we can tell what’s really going on with us and to be honest, not everyone cares, but I feel everybody needs a support system. It can be made up of at least one person. Have someone or people that you can be real with and talk to about what is going on with you.
I’m here to tell you that it’s okay not to be okay. I’ve noticed that some people refuse to admit their feelings to themselves and deal with them. Others have recognized it but will rather not talk about it. We’re all entitled to our feelings and no one should judge us for what we feel or things we are going through and neither should we judge ourselves. Life won’t always be colourful, with our face carrying constant smiles and our hearts feeling very light. Life gets hard and can be painful. Here’s what to do when things aren’t going the way they should and you’re definitely not okay.

1. Stop trying to ignore the feeling.

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We have feelings for a reason; if we aren’t meant to feel things, we won’t. When you notice you are down, don’t just push the emotions away to the deepest darkest parts of yourself where they can be hidden but not forgotten. Do not be angry with yourself, thinking you should be stronger than this and things like this shouldn’t move you. The truth is that it has moved you now; deal with it. 

2. Rant

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The truth is whatever you are going through, someone understands or is going through that very thing. Sometimes they might not have a concrete solution to the issue or a way to get it off your mind but there’s a lovely feeling when someone gets how you feel and understands the exact same emotions bubbling up within you. They’re describing it in ways you couldn’t have described it better and you’re in awe at how synced you seem to be. At that moment, you do not feel alone. Instead, you feel that someone finally gets you and you’re not weak or weird for feeling the way you do, and that is a beautiful feeling.

3. Do something that makes you happy. 

In times when I am sad and lack the motivation to do certain things that I need to do, I choose to do what I want to do just for that period of time to bring myself back to a fresh state of mind that is willing and able to face the issue at hand. Of course, this isn’t an escape from the problem, you don’t do it for a very long time that you push away other important things and you have to play catch up later. This is a short period of recuperation for your mind. For me, I sleep, listen to my favourite songs, lie down and try to clear my mind, or play my favourite game. It’s just a period of respite from the real world. I don’t know the things that make you happy but discover them. Do them for a while and come back with a mind that’s calmer and ready to look at the problem with a new perspective. 

4. Look for a solution for the problem.

Now that your mind is clearer, you will be able to find a solution to what is bringing you down. A strategy to tackle the problem begins to form in your mind, or you’re more open to trying different methods that may work -things you never thought would.

5. Ask for help if you can’t fix it yourself.

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Sometimes you don’t have any idea what to do, it’s okay to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it just shows you’re willing to admit you cannot do it by yourself and you are therefore looking for someone who can. Try to save time you would have used struggling and find someone who you feel can help. You’re not obligated to take their advice; if you feel it won’t work for you, try something else or find someone else.

6. Apply your solution to that problem 

When you get your solution, apply it and solve the problem. Don’t be sluggish or lazy about it. Why have an antidote and not use it to neutralize the poison but watch the poison spread? Quickly implement the solution so that you feel so much better.

7. Commend yourself for successfully jumping that hurdle 

Yay!!! Hopefully, you’ve sorted out the issue and you’re feeling so much better. Yes, it’s nice to get commendations from other people but most times we forget to commend ourselves. We forget to remind ourselves that we have proven that we are stronger than we seem and that we can do so much more than we gave ourselves credit for. Do something for yourself that you think would be a suitable reward and go forth and live your beautiful life ready for the next thing that may come your way.

I understand that most of us have grown up in environments that did not encourage sharing burdens or expressing our hidden worries or desires. I’m here to tell you that sometimes it’s worth it to just be vulnerable with ourselves, to freely feel the things that we feel with no judgement from ourselves and to know that there are people out there that aren’t judging us either. There are people who actually want to help and share your burdens with you, they also want to help get rid of them entirely. They want to be a shoulder for you to cry on or a ranting partner. Funnily enough, they also want people they can talk to and you can find comfort in each other’s company. Remember it’s okay not to be okay.

Omoyemen Aisuodionoe-Shadrach