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  • Writer's pictureStephen Hart

It Is Okay To Not Be Okay

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

When I sat down to write my article last week, I grew increasingly angry. I couldn’t tap in, I couldn’t find my voice, it felt forced and inauthentic. I deleted the article, and that perfectionist part of me that needed to post every week on schedule reared up with some negativity. I was not okay, and I needed another week to learn to be okay with that, to find myself again, and get back on track.


The last few weeks were very hard. After months of progress, I felt like I was slipping backward. It was frustrating. I wanted so badly to feel okay. I had done so much work over the past 7 months that I felt I deserved to be happy.

I felt fragile, like a glass of water filled to the brim, where the tiniest drop would cause me to spill over. For example, I was driving down to Mexico for a surf trip with some friends, and it should have been such a joyous moment. Windows down, waves in our future, good friends, beautiful weather. What better music to match the mood than the feel-good music of Jack Johnson?

Well, the last time I listened to Jack Johnson was the time I first drove Karina home from the hospital in January, one of the happiest moments of my life. After 40 days in the hospital and things moving in the right direction, our first real moment together in over a month was just her and I in the car listening to “Better Together” from good ol’ Jack J.

On this drive to Mexico, hearing that music brought me back to that moment and the memory of how short-lived that happiness was, how quickly we were back in the hospital, and how fleeting that optimism was.

And it got to me. In a moment when I could have been totally at peace and in joy, I was sobbing and anxious. To add fuel to the fire, I was frustrated that I was not feeling okay when I could have been feeling great. Opposite of the message from my article last week on Expectations, I expected to feel good on this trip to Mexico, and when I didn’t meet that expectation, I felt even worse.

I was in a rut, and I needed a reset.

I brought this issue into therapy, where I saw that I was fully in a state of resistance to how I was feeling. I had been feeling good for a while, so my grief work slipped down my priority list, allowing the grief to accumulate. It was beginning to manifest in my life and lead me to feel heavy and disconnected, which led me to feel frustrated and confused. At this moment, I learned an important lesson.

It is okay to not be okay.

I’m not perfect, sometimes I get distracted, sometimes I run from the pain, and sometimes I trick myself into thinking I’m somewhere I’m not. And that is all okay. My therapist held up a mirror for me to see that I was not being compassionate with myself. I held too many expectations for how I should feel based on how I wanted to feel.

I’m working on learning to be imperfect and being content with imperfection. I’m working on being more accepting of feeling sad, or angry, or anxious. It turns out, I learned, that these emotions are crucial to a happy and healthy life. Getting upset because I feel upset is unnecessary.

Abraham Hicks speaks of a concept she describes as ‘contrast.’ Contrast is all of those negative feelings which are out of alignment with your Highest Self. Contrast is necessary in life because it gives you a reference point of where you are and where you can go. Just like there is no light without the dark, there is no happy without the sad, Love without the fear. This is contrast, and it is vital information.

So, not only is it okay to not be okay, it is good not to be okay sometimes. That is what this human experience is all about. Have a bad moment. Have a bad day. Have a bad week even. That is okay. Of course, we don’t want to stay here for too long and let the darkness take over our life. The contrast is a message that we have some work to do to get into alignment, so eventually, we have to do that work if we want to find happiness again.

Since coming back from Mexico and having my therapy session, I repositioned that work at the top of my priority list. I felt a lot last week, I grieved, I meditated, I journaled, I walked, I read my books, listened to my teachers, and I found appreciation for all of the good in my life. I feel good again, and my voice has come back.

This experience with contrast was important for me because it was a wake-up call. As I continue my journey forwards from the tragedy of this year, I can be more compassionate with myself. I can be more firm with my boundaries, stay present with the grief as it comes up, and be okay if I misstep and get distracted for a bit.

Life is a constant ebb and flow, falling in and out of alignment. All of it is great, the good and the bad. Letting go of the resistance and riding the wave of life is the key, but being okay with wiping out from time to time is just as important. This isn’t easy, but that’s life. We fall and we get back up and try again. And so we go, onwards and upwards.


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