Life is full of ups and downs. And sometimes you won’t realize you are in an “up” until suddenly you are very far down. Some days you will feel as though you are flying on cloud nine, and life is good. Other days you will have trouble parting with your warm comforter when your alarm goes off, and you will so badly want to pull your blankets up over your head and go back to sleep to avoid facing the world. Some days life will feel a little bit easier, a little bit lighter, and other days life will be tiring and oh-so draining. Hopefully, most of the time your days will be somewhere in the middle. Hopefully they will be full of magic and mysteries and little ups and downs that add to the wonder of life.
But sometimes life is very hard. Sometimes life stays hard for longer than you had anticipated, longer than you could have imagined. Sometimes the world is much heavier, and your heart feels like it’s sinking, and you so badly want to crawl back into your shell and hide away from the world. Yet somehow you are still supposed to make it through. You are still supposed to go through all of your usual motions with a smile on your face and a sparkle in your eye. You are supposed to show up and be yourself and not let anyone else know that you are having a heavy day. You think you need to hide the fact that it feels like the world is pressing down on your shoulders.
But the truth is, some days, you may not be able to show up in the way that you hope. Some days you may not be able to fake it, no matter how hard you try. Some days you may not be able to smile a genuine smile that reaches your eyes. Some days your laugh may be a little quieter, and a little less warm and familiar. Some days your eyes will look worn out and your cheeks will be less rosy. And some days you might not have anything to say to anyone because your soul is so quiet and your mind is so tired. And on these days, rather than pushing yourself to the breaking point, rather than trying to force the smile or fake the laugh, I want you to know that it’s okay to just be you. The you that is feeling down. The you that is tired. The you that feels unsure of yourself. The you that feels unfamiliar. I want you to know that it’s okay if you can’t show up fully. I want you to know that it’s okay if you’re not ready to have a heartfelt conversation with your best friend simply because your heart is too tired. It’s okay if you have to cancel plans because you can’t fathom up the energy to show up and have a good time. It’s okay if you’re just simply worn out, and having a day. It’s okay.
You don’t have to feel guilty for having a hard day. You don’t have to feel ashamed of the fact that your mind hurts and your body is tired. You don’t have to hide the fact that sometimes life is hard, and sometimes being a human is painful. You don’t have to get angry at yourself for feeling indecisive or unsure because of the gray cloud filling up your mind. You owe it to yourself to feel your feelings and to give yourself permission to not be okay for a day. You owe it to yourself to be compassionate and caring, and to be respectful of your own feelings. You owe it to yourself to accept that this is who you are today, and that in time, things will be lighter again.
The trick to making it through all of this is just being a little gentler with yourself. Allowing yourself to make mistakes and allowing yourself to feel all of the feelings, no matter what feelings they may be, and knowing that you are still a good person deep down. And remember that even when you are struggling, even when you are having a hard time, you are still a good person. You are still worthy of all of the love and laughter in the universe.
The dots may not all connect right away, and your path may look a lot more like a spider web than a line, but you are still growing and you are still moving forward even when life is hard. On the hard days, it’s okay if you can’t show up. It’s okay if you can’t fully share your heart with the world. Some days are for looking inward and for coping. Some days are survival days. And this is okay.
So please, be a little bit gentler with yourself. Forgive yourself more. Practice self-compassion. And remember that you don’t have to put on a brave face all of the time. You don’t have to be any certain way for you to be loved. Just do what you can with where you are. That is enough.