Go ahead and cry if you must; it is okay not to be okay
Many times you have heard these question and comments.
“Why are you complaining?”
“You should be grateful for the life you have.”
“Don’t worry, everything will be okay.”
While they are intended to offer some sort of relief, they do not always serve that purpose. On the contrary, they may be more debilitating to the recipient because they trivialise the situation that they are experiencing.
More often, it is easier to communicate positive news. We are wired to celebrate good things and publicise this. We are encouraged to look at the brighter side of life and embrace ‘positive vibes’. Passing a test, getting a new job, winning a tournament, these are all momentous moments that signify growth. But is life all about wins?
Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba and one of the richest men in China with a net worth of close to $25 billion, knows quite a lot about failure and rejection. He failed to land a job after numerous applications and was rejected several times even for jobs where he superseded the qualifications. When asked what kept him going, he said, “Well, I think we have to get used to it, we are not that good.” Treating rejections as opportunities to learn and grow is what Jack Ma made of it. He saw these instances as an opportunity to revitalise.
We shun failure and make it appear as though there is something wrong with people who do not live up to societal expectation of the epitomised success scales. These moments of failure allow us to reflect, reset and readjust our goals. It is typical to get wrapped up in our emotions to the point where we are unable to have a different perspective. This can lead to making permanent decisions on temporary situations. Getting past that barrier of self-judgment and acknowledging that you need help is one of the bravest things you can do.
Toxic positivity has rendered us to assume that we need to always put up a brave face even when deep down we are falling apart. The influx of social medial accentuates this notion through the prevalence of the ‘idealised lifestyle’ when in actual sense the so-called ‘socialites’ may be having it rough behind the screens.
Do yourself a favour by not getting wrapped up in the romanticised life of social media celebrity wannabes. True celebrities will tell you about the many times they failed, sought guidance and rose. Perfection is overrated and no one has it all figured out. The ‘I can do it by myself’ tag and ‘self-made’ mentality is a fallacy. We need each other to thrive.
So, the next time you feel like the walls are closing in on you, and you want to cry, cry if you must. It is okay. Lie down for a bit, take a walk, listen to music, scream if you need to.
But, do not let that take away your ingenuity because when all is said and done, what makes our life meaningful is the ability to overcome challenging situations. There is always someone to talk to be it a friend, family or counsellor. Take a deep breath and be courageous enough to ask for help.
-Ms Endondo is a teacher of English, Literature and Drama at Crawford International School Kenya