“You’re okay. It’s gonna be fine. It’ll be over soon. Don’t worry about it; it will work itself out. Just don’t think about it.”
I repeat these phrases to myself whenever I’m under stress or when I’m feeling sad. I try to push away my feelings and be okay, because that’s what we’re supposed to be. Right?
Well, that’s not necessarily true. I’ve learned something important over these past few months:
It’s okay to not be okay.
It is not a sin to be upset or stressed out or fed up.
It’s worse to brush off true feelings and try to put fake ones in their place until you can’t manufacture out any more false emotions, and end up losing your anger all at once somewhere down the road.
I’ve come to realize that my problems won’t go away or just stop stressing me out if I pretend to forget them. Too often, I tell myself that I just need to “chill” for a bit – read a book, or watch Netflix, or sing – and pretend like my worries don’t affect me. The truth is, I do feel better in the moment; but that doesn’t change the fact that after I’m finished trying to distract myself, reality snaps back in, and my problems are still there. I’ve come to see that this is really the devil’s way of loosening my grasp on God and prayer: what I really need in order to make it through.
You can’t distract yourself forever. Telling yourself that the more you distance yourself from stress or sadness will help it go away is not true. You have to work through your problems. You have to face them – face yourself – and acknowledge that you’re sad and the reason for it. Sometimes that’s all it takes to feel better: Just allowing yourself to say that you’re not happy. Other times, you might need to figure out a way to work through a problem you’re having.
Never just try to forget about what’s hurting you, or pretend like it’s not. It’s not going to go away like that; you might forget about it for a while, but it will come back and affect you later. Instead, acknowledge your troubles and take them to prayer. The Lord is there for you not just in the good times but in the rough times as well.
Madeline Elyse – Column: Encouragement & Motivation