“It’s okay not to be okay… just be true to who you are…”

Cheese alert. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it, but these were the words of an old favourite pop artist as I indulged in a) a bit of younger years nostalgia, and b) a good dose of self-pity.

Now, let’s face it. We all do it.

The question is, are you too ashamed to admit it, or is your sense of self-worth solid enough, that you can go out bare-faced, and say to the world, “Yeah, alright, things are a bit shit right now, but I’m going to indulge in it for a bit and then move on”?

The V word

There’s something about vulnerability that we all shy away from. But what is so wrong with being vulnerable? What is so wrong with being open about how you feel and who you see yourself to be?

Fair enough, if you spend all your days singing ‘Woe is me’ no one wants to listen to that, that’s for sure. But there is something inherently strong, about being able to express yourself truly and authentically, without giving a damn about any kind of judgement.

Because here’s the important bit – it’s what you do with that emotion that counts.

Own that shiz

In my case, I had some life ‘stuff’ going on, and in that moment I thought “Right, I’m going to allow myself to feel rubbish right now.” And that’s what I did. But I didn’t do it half-assed. Oh no. I put my full ass into that.

Feel the feelings, think the thoughts, indulge yo’self. It’s all good. Because the more you can indulge it in the short term, the quicker and easier you can release it in the longer term. That’s my theory. You just gotta know when to move on.

So if you’ve had some crappy stuff go on in your life recently, and let’s face it, we’re in the midst of a national health pandemic and a second lockdown – it’s not all a bed of roses right now – then make that decision.

Decide exactly how long you are going to give yourself to wallow in that beautiful (not so much) pit of crap, and then decide exactly when you will pick yourself back up and move forwards.

A guide…

So hereonin is your guide to processing that stuff and what you do with it next…

Go on… have a wallow

Wallowing wise – here’s the important bit. You gotta acknowledge that it is okay not to be okay. It’s no good wallowing if you’re resisting those feels. “Oh boo, poor me, I don’t want to feel like this.” No, no, no. You wanna tap into acceptance, and presence and all those lovely things to really experience those feelings, without becoming attached to them. It’s okay not to be okay. Yes?

Now, it can be very useful to ‘coach’ yourself through this. And yes, as weird as it sounds, that means talking to yourself. We all do it unconsciously anyway but most of the time it’s a case of telling yourself what an idiot you are (negative self-talk – ever heard of that?!).

So come on, stop the eye rolling and embrace the positive self-talk. It gets results and that’s all we care about here.

Tell yourself things like “I hear you” “Yeah, this IS shit, and you’re allowed to feel like this” or “You will be okay but right now, it’s okay to experience this” and so forth.

If you need more of a helping hand, meditation is a useful tool. Find a guided meditation on youtube, insight timer or spotify, or simply sit in those feelings. Become aware of what those feelings feel like and where they are in your body. And for good measure, practice showering them with love – in fact, forget the shower, imagine you are wrapping those feelings up in a big ball of love. Sounds mental but believe me, it’s a winner.

The other option you have, is a lovely little brain training exercise I personally call neurosnacking. “What does that involve I hear you ask?” Well, all it is, is simply thinking back to a time when you really were connected with these feelings of acceptance and presence, and then imagining you are taking them through this situation with you. Simple.

When the time comes…

When you’ve done your time, and you reach that point of moving forwards – here’s what you gotta do.

First of all, recognise yourself for how bloody awesome you are. A lot of the time when we are struggling with things, it’s easy to be hard on ourselves, and berate ourselves for saying the wrong things; making the wrong decisions and generally taking responsibility for the fact we feel so rubbish.

It’s very easy to go into thoughts like, “You should be stronger than this” or “Why are you so [insert insult of choice] right now?” etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.

Screw that. How would it be to take a step back and recognise how strong you are for dealing with the shit that life has thrown at you?

You gotta recognise a) how positive it is that you are allowing all the thoughts and emotions to surface, and b) how you are dealing with this situation in the best way you can, with what you have available to you.

Second of all. Get some perspective. This ain’t gonna last forever. One day, this will be one of those times in your life where you look back, and it was all just a distant memory. See it in the grand scheme of your lifespan and recognise that this is just a speck in the ocean. Yeah… everything starting to relax now?

Third of all. And this bit is important. Think about how you want to move forward in your life. Because the truth is, you have a choice. Hurrah. Excellent.

On the one hand, you can sit here and wallow in this shit. Don’t recommend that. The other option, is that you pick yourself up, brush yourself off and decide how you really want to be…

Food for thought

So here goes… Do you want trust that you have made the right decision perhaps? Do you want to feel confident in yourself and your ability to navigate any challenges that come up? Do you want to know that it is simply all going to be okay?

Or do you want to jump straight into the person you want to be? Rather than being sad, perhaps you want to feel happy? Rather than being resentful, perhaps you want to be at peace?

The world is your oyster as far as feelings and emotions go, and being a human, you will be a master at most of them, so they won’t be hard to access- given a little brain training along the way.

Concluding thoughts

So there we have it my friends. It’s okay not to be okay, it’s okay to be vulnerable. As long as you take action when the time is right. And as my old pal Jessie would say…

“Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising… just be true to who you are…”

Sorry… couldn’t resist.