How many times have you felt like you wanted to reach out to your surroundings but couldn’t? How many times have you tried to convince yourself you were okay when you knew you were deeply falling apart from the inside? I used to do that- answer the typical and expected “I am good and you?” when all I wanted was actually to cry for help and let my tears free. I used to pretend I was okay out of fear to be judged and rejected. But pretending can become exhausting… so exhausting that one day you cannot pretend anymore and your persona eventually gets broken and replaced by your true self.
And it’s too late to maintain your happy apparence. Your secret has been revealed. You are not okay and it is fine.
We live in a society where being and featuring yourself at your best is expected. You are not supposed to appear sad or lonely- the current norms are focused on being seen laughing and surrounded by friends. After all, aren’t all social media accounts nowadays featuring the same perfectly happy profiles? I know mine doesn’t. I am not always happy.
I was raised and taught to face and understand my emotions. When I was not okay at home, my parents would confront me and make me talk until I was able to get to the roots of my feelings. But there is a point where you have to start flying on your own- and when I did, I had no one to openly speak to about my emotions. And I got lost into the social stigma of always appearing to be happy and fulfilled. Even when I was at my toughest moments emotionally, I was still called a sunshine. Painfully wrong.
Suffering from a bullied past, I tried to repress my pain, my sadness, my angst and my loneliness until it made of me a sick persona I didn’t recognize. I tried to force my reason upon my feelings. I tried to impose meaning to what I was feeling and transform the nature of my emotions. But eventually, my true feelings betrayed my game and I had to let go.
Being able to repress emotions without being scarred from it is a myth. You will not be able to move on and feel better until you are able to recognize what is at the source of your feelings. And until you do so, you will gradually start losing yourself into a persona you do not relate to in any way- an inauthentically fine version of you.
I learned it the hard way but grew stronger from my experience. I let myself drift until it was too late. And eventually, from one day to the next, I traded my happy sunshine profile for a dark tearful one. I realized that, like everybody else in this world, I am human- and that being human implies feeling emotions.
And once I was able to understand that the only thing that kept me from remaining my authentic self in public was the fear to appear unconventional and weak, I made myself the promise to never hide my emotions nor pretend to be someone I am not.
Feelings do not make you weak. They make you human.
Admitting that you are not okay is a first step towards your recovery. Facing your emotions- whatever their nature and meaning- is the key to feeling better and not losing yourself. But being able to acknowledge it to the extent you can openly be yourself to others is another bigger step towards personal growth, fulfillment and happiness.