There are few, if any, times in my life that I’m not actively working on my sh*t.
Getting it together, keeping it together, figuring it out. Maybe it’s the former therapist in me, or maybe it’s just because I lived for a long time ignoring all my sh*t and saw how that worked out.
Now I do a lot of processing. I try to be self-aware. I know about my issues, and I put time and attention into working on them. But it is hard as f*ck sometimes.
The last year or so has been about learning to lean in to the struggle and learning to let go.
I’ve even started thinking about forgiveness. I haven’t gotten as far as actually forgiving; right now, I’m just in the stages of meditating and journaling on it. I’ve also been working on how to handle a healthy relationship after a lifetime of unhealthy ones and the unhealthy responses that come with that. So, I’m learning—slowly.
But, sometimes I have to remind myself that “f*ck you” is not an actual mantra. There is no meditation, correct me if I’m wrong, that focuses on “f*ck this sh*t,” or the equivalent. But, sometimes—that’s what I’m feeling.
I get angry. I get disappointed. I get so sad that I feel like my heart is weeping inside my chest. I get really, scary quiet when I’m thinking too much and spiraling downward into an increasingly darker chain of thoughts. I don’t love these things, but this is real. This is my truth. I’m not depressed. Sometimes I feel angry or a whole lot of unpleasant emotions, and it can be very hard to switch back to the track of forgiveness, letting go, and addressing my (ahem) unhealthy responses.
This is when I have to remember to lean in.
How many times do we need to tell ourselves this before we get it? How many times do we need to say, “It’s okay to feel what you feel,” for us to believe it? Leaning in doesn’t feel productive sometimes, but it’s a part of this whole process I mentioned. If we want to get to the other side of sadness and anger and all of these mixed-up feelings that leave us wrecked, we have to feel them. We have to own up to where we’re at and forgive ourselves for not always being 100 percent.
We’re going to get past this. We’re going to start feeling better. But we may have to feel truly terrible first. I forget that sometimes when I just want to get all this “self” work done and finally be at peace. We have to remind ourselves that there will always be something we need to work on, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy and peaceful now. Yes, even when we’re angry or sad or confused or over-tired and overwrought. And, we need to learn to forgive ourselves for feeling this way. Because it really is okay, even when we don’t feel “alright.”
I can’t speak for anyone else, but sometimes I feel that I’ve done so much work on myself that I don’t feel like I should have to keep doing it. Isn’t that ridiculous? It’s like saying, “Well, I had that one well visit to my doctor back in ’97 so I’m good now.” Or, “I went to the dentist every year as a child, I should be done.” Or even, “But I changed the oil in my car a whole bunch of times. Why should I keep doing it?” Why do we treat our mental health, our emotional health, any differently than anything else that requires regular care, maintenance, and attention? Why do we think it’s less important?
It’s more important. We can replace our cars if they break down. Our bodies? Not so much. Our physical health is so tied into our mental health as to be inseparable, so shouldn’t we, in fact, take better care of it so we are healthier?
It’s strange to me that there’s so much of a stigma around going to see a therapist, or even using holistic healing treatments, but not one word is said when we mention going to a doctor or dentist. No one passes judgment on us because we call the plumber or electrician for a home repair. We don’t shake our heads or hand out sage advice when someone gets their oil changed. We accept all of these as natural, normal parts of life. Why don’t we do the same for taking care of our mental and emotional health?
I’m working to turn my attention to taking better care of myself—to resting more when I’m tired. To giving myself a pass on a chore if what I really need is a few minutes of quality time with my kids. To forgiving myself for not feeling well on a day that I’m just overwhelmed and need a break.
I’m reminding myself that “f*ck you” isn’t a mantra, but it’s okay to have days where I feel like that toward everyone and everything because I’m not super woman, even if sometimes I feel like I should be. I’m just an ordinary woman living this beautiful, extraordinary life.
Some days I don’t appreciate it enough—and that’s one more thing I have to forgive myself for.
But what I can do, what we all can do, is feel what we feel, give ourselves a break, lean into our truth, and know that whatever troubles we’re having—they are sure to pass.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Smabs Sputzer/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Callie Rushton