This week I had a mini revelation.
It’s ok to say you’re not ok.
During the healing of my marriage break-up I worked hard to turn around my perspective on life; focus on the good stuff in order to bring in more good (the law of attraction); learn to love myself and my flaws, and see the opportunity for growth in all situations. Living this way healed me from my crisis, it brought me new love and a happier life.
But I got myself into a bit of a fix. Being positive, a survivor of hardship and strong under pressure became who I was. At times I felt amazingly strong, but I forgot about the part of me that was just human, not superhuman. I began to put higher expectations on myself to achieve personal goals. I hoped that I could fit everything I wanted and needed to do into a mere 24 hours a day, and still be happy and serene. I realised I was trying to juggle three children as a single parent, run a household alone, write a book and a blog, find quality time for me, find quality time with my partner, work a job, train on a course and care for my elderly mother who is in declining health.
Wow. Just saying all that sounds a lot. But because I had defined myself as a ‘coper’ and a positive person, I wasn’t fully acknowledging when I was sad, struggling and things became stressful.
This week as part of my amazing counselling training, I finally got the awakening I needed that this ‘mask’ was not helping me or other people. I love to write about healing and turning your life around after a relationship ends. Everything I write I believe with my whole heart and soul. But when my positivity and strength are not the whole truth, then I’m not fully sharing who I am. So now I’m sharing that it’s ok for things to not be ok. The goal in life is not perfection, it’s self-awareness.
It’s impossible to really help yourself when you tell people “it’s ok, I’m fine”. When you admit you’re struggling, either practically or emotionally, it’s not admitting defeat; it’s recognising that you need something. The next step is to ask yourself, what do I need?
During my two days of crying and admitting things were stressful this week, I got to the root of what I needed. As part of the course homework, my tutor had asked us to do something for ourselves in order to become more congruent with who we are. I decided that I needed to let my friends become aware of how I was feeling. Not because I needed anything from them especially, but because I love them and by being honest with them it allows us to have more meaningful relationships. I am truly blessed; just by talking about what’s really going on for me I have received such love and support this week.
I am actually deeply grateful for my life. The irony is that I was afraid that by complaining about my difficulties, I was risking becoming negative about life and losing sight of the opportunities for growth in my stressful experiences. In fact the opposite is true. By showing how I authentically feel, I have brought relief, a sense of peace (after the tears!) and a stronger desire to make things better. Because I am not judging myself for being upset or stressed, those feelings pass away much more quickly.
Nothing on the outside has changed in the last four days; my life is full to bursting. My house is still a never-ending tidying project; I haven’t organised anything exciting for my daughter’s birthday this weekend; I’ve a dozen things to organise for my mum; I’m late making the kids’ dinner by writing this post, yet I haven’t worked on my book for months; I’m tired, and craving a week lying on a beach with a book to read (of which there is little prospect). But I am happier because the people I love now know this, and their moral support lifts my spirits.
And by sharing this today I hope to show you that because you’ve started to shine after break-up, it doesn’t mean that life stops being incredibly draining sometimes; don’t assume you’re doing something wrong or not moving forward. Finding things tough doesn’t mean you aren’t being positive and taking control of your life. It just means you’re human. The breakthrough comes when you admit it to yourself and the people you love, because then can you start to focus on what you need.