Are You Ok?

Are You Ok?

You might find this hard to believe, but sometimes feeling better is apparently not acceptable. I know that seems off to some of you and when I’m at my best; it seems off to me, too. Yet, I do encounter people who are really struggling with when it’s ok to be ok and frankly, I’ve been on the other side of the equation myself.

Say, someone close to you passes away but not unexpectedly. You’ve been preparing as best you can, and though the passing really hurts, you find yourself feeling better in a couple weeks. There are others who were also close to your loved one, and they seem quite stuck in their pain and grief. Won’t they think it odd that you are not hanging on to your “sack cloth and ashes” for as long as they think you should? Will they start to question whether or not you cared for or were as close to your departed beloved as they imagined? In this thinking, being ok is not ok.

Another grief (after a loved one passes) version is even more gut-wrenching. I’ve had clients who felt that the notion of feeling better was “letting go” and letting go was wrong because letting go meant becoming disconnected and becoming disconnected was forgetting and forgetting was just not acceptable. So in this case, again, being ok is not ok.

A third and quite dysfunctional reason for not feeling better is the perceived loss of power. That is, if you get over some wrong that has been done to you, you lose your influence and the intensity of the perpetrator trying to make up for what they did. Worse yet, it might set them free to do it again. It’s not ok or even safe to be ok.

Each of these three storylines could fuel a larger individual discussion but for now I’ll respond briefly to each. In the first scenario, the course of grief is very specific to the individual and a myriad of factors around that individual and their relationship with the departed. There is no predetermined proper time to grieve. It takes as long as it takes and for others, their time is theirs. When you achieve it, being ok is ok.

The second is, as I said, gut wrenching and harder. I can only tell you this. Getting through your grief is in no way forgetting or dishonoring. You will always remember and will always care. Your connection will not wane because you have gone on living your own life. If you can get there, being ok is ok.

Finally, for those of you who wield your pain as a source of power, at some point, the cost will become greater than the reward. Frankly, do you really want to have to strong-arm trust? Is it worth the energy drain on you? And maybe, just maybe, the person who wronged you is really sorry and has done the work that they need to never do this terrible thing to you again. Being ok may be risky but at some point is ok.