woman in white bikini top standing on beach during sunset

13 Gentle Reminders For When Things Aren’t Okay

1. Change is okay—shift the Feng Shui

In Asian culture, there are two forms to unity:

1. The Feng Shui school of thought: Wealth, reputation, partnership, family, tai chi, children, knowledge, career, and helpful people

2. The five elements: Fire, earth, water, wood, and metal.

When merged, we create cohesive environments that invite positive flowing energies. Sometimes we shift our spaces and other times, we must remove ourselves from our environments. A shift in environment enables movement out of our usual norm, making room for new experiences. Through these processes, we invite fresh perspectives and inevitably growth outside of our comfort zones.

2. Happiness is okay—become entangled in the things that feel like sunlight

When we do what makes us happy, we fight depression and anxiety; we remain soft in a cold world without being labeled overly sensitive; we eliminate regret: We invite creativity and enhanced memory; we rewire and reset.

Work with a nonprofit that speaks to you. Have you tried Headspace? Nourish your body and get enough sleep. Work out. Make peace with and remove the things that no longer serve you, taking up space—not every space needs to be occupied with a shiny new fad or empty friendships. Foster environments that breed soul-nourishing relationships. Find ways to inject more self-love, self-care, and laughter into your day. Run through a field of sunflowers blooming in the fall. Not another day spent without light, because the glow-up is contagious.

3. Embracing emotional health is okay

Have you taken an emotional intelligence (EI) test? EI shows us how we handle our emotions and is sorted into 5 categories: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Maybe right now it is about learning about how we handle traumatic or triggering events. Maybe right now it is about learning our unconscious behaviors, what moves us, and what drives us to our breaking points. Maybe right now it is about learning how we show up in the world.

4. Embracing mental health is okay

We cannot show up for the world if we do not take care of ourselves first. We are dealing with what we have; the remedies are what we know. There is still so much work to be done—our communities are working on eliminating stigmas, including those on mental health, like seeing a therapist. If you cannot locate a professional, think about who is available in your circle. Invite someone who will lend a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and an open heart that is free from quick judgement. With human connection, we can help each other. There are always hotlines available—I will throw you a raft if you need a lifeline. Take time off, say no, create boundaries. You are the expert in knowing what is best for you.

5. Winning is okay

There is no doubt that we each carry weight differently. Sometimes our highest priority tasks become so enormous that they overpower opportunities for projected small wins. The question here is: What can we do to produce movement? Be easy on yourself and your workload.

Sometimes we focus on what others are doing and the speed of our growth. We become better when we remove comparisons, focus on watering our grass, and eliminate imposter syndrome. Add meaning into your work, to increase the reward. Maybe right now it is not about winning, but it is about small steps, like participating in the race. Small wins trigger increases in motivation, positive emotions, and hold the power to change perception for the entire day.

6. Moving at your selected pace is okay—the world is your oyster

Marketing and social media agencies have nailed their campaigns. Their assets send strong messages that warrant change in our outlooks and lifestyles. No matter how much you have packed into your schedule because of our “do more” culture, remember that this is your life; edits can be made at any time.

Henry Ford states, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Failure happens before winning.

Maybe right now it is about learning, trying something new, or asking for help. Maybe right now it is about falling a few times, showing us what we really want and is meant for us. Whenever you choose to show up, do it right by you.

7. Introspection is okay

We tell toddlers to take a timeout when they misbehave or become upset. When was the last time you took a timeout? This is not a punishment but the process of going inside and sitting in your skin. Introspection can tell a story we may or may not be conscious of; sometimes a tight-knit circle can provide growth by mirroring their strengths against our weakness and vice versa. Sometimes our journeys need to be had on our own. Introspection can start in the form of self-reflective journaling and choosing to begin again.

Too much introspection can create an environment for obsession and overanalyzing. Introspection hack: Try doing something with and for another. This can reduce loneliness that may happen when we get too entangled into our thoughts. This also provides us with purpose. When it comes down to it, wouldn’t you agree that the world needs more love? Inject more love by showing up as you and reminding the world why our weakness lies in another’s strength and vice versa. Whatever you do moving forward, move with purpose and allow yourself growth in vulnerability and transparency.

8. Channeling your resilience okay

Somewhere in between then and now, we got caught up in life, forgetting our song. Those lyrics were all of the experiences that were made for you. When we add them up, they always bring us home, reinforcing the strength in our individual identities. Through the highs and lows, we build thick skin—this is called resilience, the ability to persevere against each opening and closing.

Whoever it is that you look up to and aspire to be, become them. If you desire to deepen emotions, channel vulnerability and transparency by Brene Brown. Connection and communication? Channel Oprah. Innovation? How about Steve Jobs? Sometimes your champion is staring at you in the mirror—rewind the tapes.

9. Creation is okay because this is your gift

There is no one like you—do what YOU can only do. No rush. Pick up the brush, take paint to a white page. This can be unraveling the threads of a long day into the art of making love. No judgement—this is your masterpiece. Whatever you do, channel your imagination. Transport us to another time, where beauty flows, where time and space stand still. Remind me of what makes you beautiful. Brownie points if you can channel your inner child.

Pablo Picasso states, “Everything you can imagine is real.” Whenever you feel ready, maybe after all that practice, we can explore alternative doors. Rebel against everything that was said to be the “norm”; create your blueprint, awaken the universe with your magic, and unapologetically live your new norm.

10. Not all humans are good humans, but that is okay

Psychologist Carl Rogers said that humans are “naturally good.”

Without mistakes, there would be no magic. Without mistakes, we would not have built up the resilience to persevere. Think about all the emotions other vessels have made you feel. Once upon a time, we were also not so good humans, and someone came along, helping us work on it. Sometimes we adopt the principle that it is not our place to judge them, and sometimes it is not worth our time. Sometimes we cross paths with people who we are not meant to teach or mentor. Sometimes our role in crossing paths is to be a lesson or a blessing. No one person is perfect, and this is also not expected of you.

You were built to push all the buttons and explore this world. You are allowed mistakes; it means that you are trying. And because you keep trying, you are entitled to new beginnings after endings. You are worthy of love after heartbreak.

Stay close to that glimmer of hope: your tribe, these humans will always bring you back home. They illuminate you, making you someone’s light for a better future. Start by becoming a role model. Start internally, and be the change you wish to see. We become better for ourselves, and in turn this translates to each other.

11. Hydrating is okay, but take it easy on the alcohol

We are here for that occasional boozy Sunday brunch. We can even understand the first few bottles of wine after heartbreak. But let’s be real: Alcohol is a depressant, impairing our judgement, vision, and reaction time. Upon consumption, we become numb and suppress our emotional and mental health needs.

Tip: That hangover will leave you feeling beat up in bed and in life. Do not forget your circle that is already cheering you on. They want you to win. Try lemon water instead.

12. You are a whole universe

You were not created to be pushed around, to be a puppet. You were not created to live in fear or uncertainty, nor anything lesser than what is meant for you. You were not made to be numb, devoid of emotions and love. Have you ever thought about all the magic that has been put together to form your DNA?

We question how we can inject more into this world—more empathy, compassion, and love. Within you, you hold the key to someone’s weakness, and in another, someone holds your strength. You have the ability to grow, compliment, and love someone. The world needs your magic—disturb the universe.

13. Whatever you are going through, it is going to be okay

Trust that someone somewhere out there has been through this exact situation and has felt severe pain. Trust that right now, behind that single wall that separates you, your neighbor’s heart may be breaking, and they stay smiling through uncertainty. Trust that the answers lie within our individual strengths and weaknesses. This is why we have the capacities to deliver love, and on the other extreme, heartbreak. Trust that it is going to work out. Trust that the sun will shine and the rays will warm your body on cold and lonely days. Take what you need—we are holding space.

It is okay not to be okay, but you have everything you need to be okay.

About the author
More Love. More Love. More Love. Follow Azahm on Instagram or read more articles from Azahm on Thought Catalog.

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