BY Providence Muzanenhamo
It is no secret that in these tough times that we are living in, the list of problems being faced by people is endless. Everyone is fighting their own battle. Battles that they don’t discuss. Battles that no one knows about. Everyone is just so desperate to prove to themselves and to people around them that they can do it, that they are strong and happy when deep down they are hurting. However, it is not written anywhere that you should always be OK. Showing sadness is not a sign of weakness. Having emotions and feelings makes you human. It’s ok not to be ok.
We all have good and bad days. Today you feel happy, the next day you are down. That’s all part of life. Somehow, people are always faced with this pressure to seem happy, to put on a happy face, to keep up appearances to the world and so they put on a mask to hide the struggles that lie behind their smile. Which I believe is not healthy at all, because as much as staying strong and looking happy may be the only option we think we have in some circumstances, it is also necessary to acknowledge when you are not feeling okay whether physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally because it’s also perfectly ok not to be okay.
I believe that the strongest people are those who are able to show their pain and emotions and sometimes not being able to do that is actually a weakness. Rather than ignoring your emotions, pressing them down, hiding them and then acting strong after that is bad practice because one day when you are least expecting it, the emotions you were hiding will hit you like a tsunami. You may not be able to cope with that in a healthy way because you are so used to telling yourself that you are strong and happy when in fact deep down you have been hurting and under pressure. And that pressure needs to be released and dealt with accordingly, in a healthy manner whilst you are still in the right mind-set, that is you have not kept your mask on for too long.
Showing pain or acknowledging when you are feeling down or having a hard time is good practise because it shows your ability to realise when you are struggling, when you need to seek help and the ability to deal with yourself and coping in order to move forward. Greatest of all is your ability to pick yourself up after you fall and keep going. It means that you have survived, can survive and that you are a survivor. Unlike someone who is constantly in denial of their state of mind, that they can’t cope with the idea of them not being okay. So what am I saying here? I am saying that it’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, frustrated, scared or anxious. Having feelings does not make you a negative person, it makes you human.
It’s okay to fall apart even after you thought you had it under control. It’s okay if you thought you were over that grief or heartbreak but it hits you all over again. You are not weak. You are just being human. I advise that when you are going through a certain low in your life, have some time to deal with it especially when you have been trying to keep strong and hiding it for a while, then it’s perfectly okay to reveal those feelings at some point.
How do you deal with yourself when you are feeling down, hopeless, depressed and it’s just a bad day for you? You share your feelings with people whom you trust. It’s okay to show someone that you are not okay. It’s okay to acknowledge that sometimes you get sad, you have bad days and cannot cope sometimes. It’s okay to express yourself when you are not happy and when situations are getting tough on you. Allow yourself to be vulnerable sometimes, you may have people or a family who look up to you as a breadwinner, or you are struggling with school but would still want to make your parents proud and not disappoint them. You are struggling to find a job in these hard times but your friends and schoolmates have already landed one and you can’t stop thinking that you are a failure, all your age mates have gotten married and you are still single and it gets to you but you still pretend like you don’t care, so now you don’t show it you just hide it behind your smiling mask. These are real issues that people are facing and its leading them into depressed minds. Well stop. Give yourself a break. Find someone who you really trust and share some of those feelings, tell them your fears and why it’s affecting you. The load does get lighter when you share your problems after all, so never be ashamed to feel vulnerable.
I’m not saying show it to the whole world but at least let the ones close to you know when you are not feeling ok. They are the people who are closest to you, who love you and sometimes they do not even know what you will be going through because you act like everything is okay. So reach out to someone when you are having a hard time, it’s ok not to be okay.
Please know that no one expects you to be happy all the time. You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s ok to feel negative emotions because they balance out our positive ones. Never be ashamed of not feeling ok. Also when you are going through stuff that you can’t tell someone, always remember to count your blessings. Always know that amidst all those battles and struggles you will be facing, that there are many blessings within and around you, that you are blessed more than you can realize. You just have to start acknowledging and appreciating their existence more often and you will certainly feel better about yourself afterwards.