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Updated: Jun 21, 2021


“Shake it off.”

“Man up.”

“Don’t you let them see you cry.”

“Never let them see you sweat.’

I’m sure all of us have heard these statements at some point in our lives. These are a few things society has been implying on us for ages now. These are the “standards” or “norms” set by the society that we have been functioning in accordance with. But the society does not tell us what should actually be told, that “it’s okay to not be okay.” And it’s even better if you go get help. This is something that everyone wants to hear but nobody wants to say.

Everybody needs to be told, “It’s okay.” It’s okay that you failed your tests. It’s okay that you’re nervous on your first day at work. It’s okay that you didn’t get promoted. It’s okay that you’re not yet where you want to be. It’s okay that you’ve been hurting. It’s okay to feel scared, to feel uncertain. It’s okay to not be okay. Because that’s what makes you human.

Actively processing and allowing ourselves to acknowledge and accept our emotions is what heals all wounds. Is this comfortable? Absolutely not. Is it vital for emotional growth? Without a doubt.

When I started realising that this emotion that I couldn’t make sense of up until now, is ‘anxiety’, I read about it. It was scary to find out that this emotion has now been labelled. That it’s real. I couldn’t accept it. I couldn’t accept the fact that I was scared and anxious. I couldn’t accept that I was ‘not okay’. But the more I read about it, the more it started to appear normal, more so, common. I realised that it’s okay to let it out, to speak about your feelings, to cry, to go get help, to care for yourself, to believe that it always gets better. It’s okay to not be okay because just like you can get sick and catch a cold, your brain can also get sick. And just like you can break a leg or break an arm, your brain can sustain an injury. And that’s completely okay. Why do we neglect the one organ that runs the show?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. It’s so strange that we talk least about the things we think about the most.

Don’t you think are we all terrified to think about our emotions and how we feel? We keep pushing them away. We are constantly trying to pretend to be okay because once we stop pretending, it becomes real. The moment we admit to ourselves that we are not fine, that something is bothering us, it becomes real and that scares us. Its socially unacceptable to “not be okay.” But the more you deny it, the more you try to escape it, the more it creeps in on you. So, just for a moment, close your eyes and take a deep breath - let it all come to you. Allow yourself to feel what you're feeling. It will hurt, but that’s okay. It always gets better.

Appreciate yourself, accept yourself and love yourself no matter what. Whatever it is that you’re feeling is not permanent. And you can honor your emotional experience by being present for it, not by distracting yourself or avoiding it with every fibre of your being. Start familiarizing yourself with the process of accepting your emotions and working on them to create a better mental space and physical environment for yourself. Break out of the norms of society and speak for yourself.

Mental health is important and how do you start taking care of your mental wellbeing? I say start by telling yourself, “IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY”.

Amisha Lakhani

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