“It’s okay” is at the basis of all well-being.
It’s okay to not be okay.Naomi Osaka
Since I read of Naomi Osaka’s decision to put her well-being first, I’ve wanted to speak to the backlash that I knew would be there – really just our own inability to be with change (aka our evolution). I began writing this post awhile back. It was called, “Wanna Be Well?” It was focused on wellness and an ultra-simple self-care tool. I didn’t complete it then, but it seems relevant and appropriate to finish it now in the face of all that’s come up around this difficult-to-hear subject of putting ourselves first.
Putting ourselves first is like speaking a foreign language to the majority of this world; a foreign concept that must be translated in a myriad of ways.Monique McIntyre
So I am completing my love letter to you all and putting it out into the world. Hence, you’re reading it now. This is an opportunity for us all to heal. To put healing at the forefront of how we live our lives.
Heal. This word evokes so much, and sometimes so little because it is often displaced, in terms of its full utility.
Healing. The proposition of healing at the forefront of society is one of physicality. Physical healers… Western medicine – adapting pharmaceutical medicines to resolve symptoms, surgical processes to remove infection, et al; or Eastern healing modalities – acupuncture, acupressure, Reiki massage, herbs, Tai Chi, yoga, and the like, focused on alignment of our energetic fields via the physical body. Either way, when we think of healing, most of us automatically refer to our bodies. Except… for healing to be radically effective and productive, it must include that which is intangible – the heart and the mind. So where does this two-word phrase – “it’s okay” – fit into the basis of well-being? Well, let’s open up the inquiry.
Incredibly enough, saying “it’s okay” to yourself can be the single most transformative and healing act you can bring to your heart. Saying “it’s okay” to yourself allows you to be however you are in a moment that might be completely overwhelming. Saying “it’s okay” to yourself about an embarrassing situation can halt your bullying of yourself into submission. Saying “it’s okay” to yourself allows ease to find its way into your mind and body in a moment of utter tension and stress. Saying “it’s okay” to yourself can open a conversation with yourself that can lead to softness in a moment when you’re making yourself wrong and being rigid. Softness is always the beginning of well-being.
Consider it… In the everyday moment in which we stress, make ourselves wrong, discipline ourselves with harsh words, deride ourselves in front of others, feel humiliated in front of others and then begin our own berating monologue when the door closes, we can find. another. way. There is another way. However, to be effective, it must be practiced.
Let me ask you this… Is it okay for you to be human?
Seriously… You know, human? Not a robot… Not an automaton with the propensity for doing everything in some “right” way that does not exist.
Is it okay for you to be a human, aka an emotional being? Are you sure?
If it is, then show yourself it is. All the other actions you take, as described above, show “you” again and again that it’s not okay to be human. That you should be some kind of robot without any human qualities. That it’s not okay that you have emotions. That you should really have it all together. That it’s not okay that you don’t know what you’re doing. That you really should be better, or even the best, at always making the “right” play. That it’s not okay that you’re not strong enough, bold enough, brave enough… That it’s not okay that you are where you are right here, right now; and not somewhere else better, brighter, richer, cooler… That you should… That it’s not okay…
Notice a theme?
I’m not saying anything you haven’t heard before. I just hope I’m hitting the mark in a very different way.
Actions absolutely are richer than words when it comes to well-being.
So, practice. Yep, right now! But also in your future. Yes, make a reminder in your phone – I like to put a header in my calendar once a week (or every day, if I need some real help) that puts me on notice of the gift I plan to give myself. And whether it’s a sweet nothing, or an actionable directive, I find my phone is the one place where my reminders work best. Try it! Because this has to go beyond reading this here right now.
now for the practice…
Click the button below for the how-to of this simple self-care tool and a downloadable PDF.
It’s not the end of the world.Anyone who realized the world wasn’t ending even when it seemed like it was
Say, “it’s okay” to yourself when your day seems to be out of control. Say, “it’s okay” to yourself when you haven’t a clue about what to do next. Say, “it’s okay” to yourself when nothing is going right and all seems to be lost. Say, “it’s okay” to yourself when you’ve lost hope. Say, “it’s okay” to yourself when you’re out of inspiration. Say, “it’s okay” to yourself to confirm that no matter what’s happening, you’re okay right here, right now, just as you are.
Are you nervous? Say, “it’s okay” to yourself that you’re having a valid emotion. Are you angry? Say, “it’s okay” to yourself as you remember that your emotions are not who you are, but a part of who you are. Are you sad? Say, “it’s okay” to yourself when your heart is broken and you allow yourself to fall apart.
no lip service though…
Now you have to mean it. It can’t be just some empty platitude that you tell yourself. You have to put something behind it. Like willingness. Like your desire to have it work. Like an intention to assure yourself. Like meaning what you say when you say it. Like some love. You get to choose what you put behind it. This is your rodeo, cowperson. (Laugh track not included.)
Say, “it’s okay” to yourself when your day sucks. Say, “it’s okay” to yourself when your boss is riding you. Say, “it’s okay” to yourself when you break up with a friend you love deeply. Say, “it’s okay” to yourself when your pet is in the hospital. Okay, now, you may have started to say, “Whoa there, Nelly! These are not okay with me!” Yes, I understand. I get it. Then don’t be dishonest; say instead, “it’s okay that it’s not okay” to yourself.
Take the sting out of your resistance. Saying, “it’s okay that it’s not okay” to yourself is just as powerful as the first. Because it acknowledges that you’re dealing with some emotions that are not going to go quietly; that pull at you and want to be heard; that don’t want to dissipate in the moment; that don’t want to be overridden (not that this exercise is that, but sometimes your brain is like, “No! I’m not going there!).
And guess what? That’s okay.
this practice is now yours, grasshopper…
Will you make your well-being your priority? I mean a true priority. The kind of priority that supersedes what others think of you? The kind of priority that supersedes your own willingness to sweep it aside? Will you stop stepping over your well-being in order to “keep going,” to “keep at it,” to “plow through?” Will you heed the now faded and faint alarm bells that have been going off in your head for days, months, and in some cases, years?
If you’re interested in reading more about Naomi Osaka’s mental health journey, you can click here.
Life is constantly evolving. As are we. Now’s your time to be conscious of your own healing evolution. You can do it. We’re in this together.
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