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Why I’m ok, with not being ok

Can it be possible that so many of us are ‘fine’ when statistically 45% of adults in England would, at times, describe themselves as lonely? [1]. Come to think of it, when was the last time you told the truth, in answer to the question ‘how are you?’.

While we shouldn’t feel obliged to openly spill the beans to anyone who asks, being truer to ourselves in the way we express how we are, has enormous benefits for us.

For a start it’s the only way we can make a connection.

Keeping up appearances on social media, apart from being exhausting, might have also got us out of practice with true self expression. Supporting this is the fact many influencers admit their profiles and feeds bare little resemblance to their true lives.

This is why on Wangie, the app for talking, we decided to remove the profiles of people using the site to chat. It removes any pressure to say “I’m great thanks!” and no profile to perpetuate that visual greatness, leaving you the space to be, just you. It also helps that Wangie is anonymous and without judgement, so a truly safe space to be ok, or not ok. However, expressing ourselves and telling our story in an authentic way, still presents an emotional hurdle for the majority of us.

According to Researcher and Author Brene’ Brown, connection is why we’re here; it gives purpose and meaning to our lives and neurobiologically it’s how we’re wired. Her research led her to conclude the following:

In order for connection to happen we have to allow ourselves to be ‘seen’. People who have a strong sense of love and belonging are people who believe they are worthy of love and belonging. The thing that keeps us out of connection is the belief we’re not worthy of connection. [2]

It’s painful, yet familiar to recognise that the times in my life when I’ve needed a chat have been the times when I’ve found it hardest to say so. Being our authentic selves can be scary and it takes courage, (not to be confused with bravery).

To speak with courage is to ask someone for help and risk hearing “too busy”, or to invest in a relationship that may not go the distance or to have the presence of mind to say “I want to talk about something”.

Being authentic may not be something we achieve overnight. But practicing could lead to the kind of talking, where the subject being discussed is at least real. We all have a certain script aspect to our personal narrative, but by sticking to our own truth, we might be reducing our ability to think beyond it and make that connection.

The reason I’m ok, with not being ok is because whatever I’m feeling is probably transient anyway. But by noting it without judgement and maybe talking to someone, I’m clearing out any residual feeling, that could come up again for me; and perhaps at a time when I’m not in a mood to so easily deal with it.

Expressing how you are authentically feels good. Dig deep for your courage and if you’re not feeling fine, say so. What’s the worst that can happen?

[1] [Campaign To End Loneliness 2020]

[2] [Brene Brown TEDxHOUSTON 2010]

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