This is a post that I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but one that I couldn’t quite find the words for until now. In my 21 Things I’ve Learned at 21 post, I mentioned this concept of “it’s OK to not be OK.” It was a lesson thrown in without much proper explanation, but I really think it’s something that deserves its own post and a good bit more elaboration.
In the era of social media, there’s this constant pressure to show off the very best versions of ourselves. And I don’t think that’s all bad. Being able to look at a highlight reel of your life is fun, and honestly can put you in a better mood on a bad day. (Am I admitting to scrolling through my own Instagram feed for fun? Yes.)
But this sort of behavior also creates this mindset that everything we do should be a highlight. The kind of mindset that tells us we shouldn’t have bad days, we shouldn’t feel bad about things, and we shouldn’t les ourselves experience negative emotions. And that’s where the problem lies.
You can’t experience the peaks without the valleys. “Rough” times in life are inevitable, and as much as they suck, they exist for a reason. Success wouldn’t be as sweet without failure, love wouldn’t be as amazing without heartbreak, and happiness wouldn’t be as wonderful without a struggle to get there.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that it’s perfectly OK to go through periods of your life where you just don’t feel like you’re in the right place. Don’t feel like you have to put on a happy face at all times, because life just isn’t like that. It’s OK to work through negative emotions in whatever ways you can, and you can choose to do that in as public or as private a place as possible.
We live in a world where you have a massive amount of control over what other people know and don’t know about you. While I may want the whole world to know about my travels and my fitness journey, I keep other things – like my family and my relationships – much more private. That’s a personal choice, whereas I know plenty of people who post some of the most intimate details of their family life on Facebook, because they want the people around them to know what they’re going through. That’s a choice that each person is totally entitled to make.
Just don’t feel like you need to match your real life to someone else’s highlight reel. Accept that there are parts of your life that will hurt, that will be uncomfortable, and that will challenge you in unexpected ways. Grow through what you go through. Use those negative experiences to come out on the other end ten thousand times stronger.
It’s OK to not be OK in the moment, because it’ll be OK in the end.