I hope you’re having a good start to your week! But maybe you’re not, and it’s important to remember that that’s ok too. We live in a world that always wants us to “cheer up” and smile more, even when that might not be how we really feel on the inside. A fantastic Peer Educator, Hilaria has some words to share about the topic and her feelings when she encounters this in her own life.
OK NOT BEING OK
by Hilaria Barajas
I found this article after searching “self care” on a blog I’ve been following for some time. After reading it, I felt an incredible sense of validation and even relief. Although I can’t say I connect with everything in this article, many of the points the author brought up resonated with feelings I’ve carried for long periods of time. What I found especially validating was the idea of accepting the different aspects of yourself that don’t necessarily coexist. In my classes, we’ve been talking a lot about dialectics, defined as “reasoning which aims to understand things concretely in all their movement, change and interconnection, with their opposite and contradictory sides in unity” (definition taken from here). Basically, accepting and reasoning on something that is not coherently ONE thing, but MANY things: change, opposition, aggravation, fluidity and more.
We are more than one trait of our personalities or one part of ourselves. We are made up of many things and it’s not wrong to change: it helps us grow. This change is usually the root of immense amounts of sadness or distress, but what I have found helpful during these times is simply sitting in my feelings. Accepting my emotions, even if at times they’re confusing or in opposition. Feeling them to their full extent allows me to move on or to find a new part of myself that I get excited to explore.
In our fast paced, capitalistic, smiley-face, “everything is GREAT!” society, we are constantly told to “cheer up”, “be happy”, “smile!” or do other things that are quick to dismiss our feelings of sadness, uncertainty or anger. While usually well-intentioned gestures, the dismissal of our authentic emotions can be detrimental in the long term. Faking it isn’t always making it. Perhaps acknowledging our honest feelings can allow us to better understand ourselves, our potentials, and our unique needs. It’s OK to not to be OK with everything; it allows us to be real with each other, even if it’s not always nice or sunshine-y. Accepting and sitting alone in your own darkness can be incredibly liberating, and within the darkness lie endless potentials for growth.
Photo credit: FreeImages.com/Maja Lampe