Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Art of Learning "It's Okay"

It's okay.

Sometimes people just need to hear that it's okay. Not the "things will all turn out fine in the end" kind of okay, but the kind of okay that teaches you to relax a little bit. The one that allows you to feel a little bit less out-of-step with the world than you originally thought you were.

It's okay to make mistakes.
It's okay to fall apart.
It's okay to not live up to other people's expectations.
It's okay to not live up to your own expectations.
It's okay to put less into the things that drain you.
It's okay to fail at things.
It's okay to not get A's on every paper and exam. Or B's, C's or D's. It's okay to get an F. Really.

It's okay to give less.
It's okay to give up.
It's okay to stop pleasing people.
It's okay to take care of yourself. 

It's okay to close yourself off to the people and things that suck the good out of you.
It's okay to ignore people's comments.
It's okay to stop caring about what people think. They are not you. They do not live your life.
It's okay to not be perfect.
It's okay if you're not at your best right now.

It's okay to doubt.
It's okay to struggle.
It's okay to ask the questions that no one seems to ask.
It's okay to be frustrated.
It's okay to turn inwards.
It's okay to not care sometimes.
It's okay to let go.
It's okay to say goodbye.

For weeks, months, years I've been pushing myself to reach these completely unattainable expectations I've set for myself; expectations I thought others had for me. I've pushed myself to continue to take on situations that do nothing but drain the ever-loving life out of me. I've forced myself to believe that the world would end if I didn't give my all. I pushed myself too hard, I gave too much and eventually my world caved in.

People aren't meant to be able to do everything. People aren't meant to be the best at everything, all the time. The forcefulness of societal expectations has pushed us all into one neat box of normal: grow up, go to university, get a career, meet the perfect person, get married, have kids, grandkids and push up daisies. In that order.

Well, that order stinks.

Life is not a formula. Life is unexpected, chaotic, exhilarating, depressing - life is something so complex that how we function as a society should not dictate how each person should expect to live their lives. When we do, we force people to try to become things they're incapable of - of things that they are not - and when they can't meet those expectations they crumble. They become miserable at not having achieved the (not so) attainable goal of what life is supposed to look like.

I am one such person and today I needed someone to tell me that it's okay not to fit into all these neat little categories. That it's okay not to be perfect.

So, I'm telling you these things, because you need to hear that these are not weaknesses and they do not mean that you are failing. It means that you have discovered that you are the unique, complex, human being God made you to be. Heaven help us if we continually try to shove all that makes us beautifully human into a box.

So. For all those that need to hear it today, for all those that feel like giving in, giving up and finding the exit sign...

It's okay.

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