I can't believe it's nearly April and I am writing my first blog post of 2021! Well, what a year it's been so far. I hope 2021 has been good to you?
Just so you know I am not going mad and I haven't made an error in the title. How often do we see the phrase "it's OK to not be OK" or now "it's OK to feel S.H.I.T". I have to be honest, as a professional, I struggle with this concept. All of my clients know I don't use this phrase as I don't necessarily believe it to be true. I understand the reasoning why it's being used but aren't we missing the point with this phrase?
As an REBT therapist, one of the main cognitive principles I discuss with my clients is building emotional resilience, that is the ability to deal with any difficulties that they may face. We may not be responsible for everything that happens to us, but we can control how we respond to it. By working on this, it allows clients to feel more emotionally prepared for anything that may happen to them and that they can deal with it. Just to be clear, I am certainly not saying that you have to be OK all of the time, that's unrealistic, but why is it OK for us to feel bad?
One of the techniques I use with clients to build emotional resilience is to create a hierarchy of exposure. Clients can think of a particular situation or emotion and negotiate how they can gently expose themselves to specific aspects of it. I'd only recommend using this technique with an experienced therapist, however, I wanted to demonstrate that clients can allow themselves to experience the things that they don't necessarily feel OK about. There are many other techniques that therapists can use with their clients to help them build emotional resilience or acceptance of certain situations, which can help them move forward. Always seek the help of a professional therapist if you're struggling with this but we don't need to accept that "it's OK to not be OK".
What do you feel like when you don't feel OK? Personally I show emotion by crying and switching off from Social Media. This allows me to express my emotions and spend some time by myself to regroup before seeing others again. I also have many techniques, that I use in my own practice, to cognitively and emotionally process and accept what's happening in my life.
There's no right answer to know how to respond to anything that happens to us, what we feel is what we feel and that's valid. However, that doesn't mean we need to accept that feeling bad is OK. I always try and rephrase this phrase to "it's not OK to not be OK, but I can deal with it". Alright I know it's not as catchy but to me it feels more realistic and emotionally healthy. What do you think? Feel free to get in touch with me if you can come up with anything catchier!
If you feel that therapy may help you build emotional resilience then get in touch with a licensed therapist to find out how this may help you. Being OK isn't always possible, but we don't need to like it either, just accept it.
Till next month