BY REBECCA THOMPSON
I never used to be okay with not being okay. My life was busy, constantly happening, and if I wasn’t doing something I’d be trying to because I’d feel guilty if I didn’t do anything. I never stopped.
It was only when my mental health began to spiral, and fear of the unknown overtook, I realised I couldn’t continue like this. Everything started happening all at once, so instead of feeling like it was me who was running my life, it’s like when the treadmill goes too fast and you start to trip with the speed.
Since then I’ve spent some time slowing things down.
Taking more time, more moments, and being by myself more. Though not entirely by my own choice — having recently gone long distance with my boyfriend and having only a couple of close friends in my area. But it’s allowed me to spend more time alone. The quiet moments as you walk around town and just watch the sky. When no one else seems to look up.
It’s taken me some months of work and practice. Watching my thoughts, changing my narrative, and taking little moments to just live.
Jim Fortin has started a podcast called “Changing Your Life From The Inside Out” and it’s all about changing the narrative you tell yourself. And the stories you tell yourself about different things. The human brain can’t store memories without them becoming a story — and we have control over the story we’re telling ourselves.
If I tell myself every day, “I am not okay. I feel sad and I feel alone,” the law of attraction dictates that I will bring myself more feelings of depression and loneliness. Even if you tell yourself off and be like, “THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS!” it won’t bring you happiness.
If I tell myself, “Right now, I feel alone. And I feel sad. And that’s okay right now. You are allowed to feel that. It will pass,” it starts to slowly change. That acceptance with being okay with not being okay starts to make a real difference. It allows you to feel all that you’ve restricted feeling, and permits them to pass.
There is a bit in the BBC series ‘Fleabag’ by Phoebe Waller-Bridge where the main character and her dad talk about being born sad. And having sadness built in. I don’t think anyone is born sad. When you were three years old you weren’t sad. You were running around being excited at colours and food. You learn what’s right and wrong, what hurts, what heals.
I think I’ve got a lot yet to learn. Grief and loss, but also more about happiness. And what makes me happy.
But starting to slowly change your story, and being comfortable in being uncomfortable is a skill. With practice, it gets easier. And anyone can learn it.
Rebecca Thompson is an 18-year-old writer. She started writing about her struggles with her bisexuality in the hopes of helping others, and wrote a book about her experiences called “Swinging Both Ways (And Almost Falling Off).” Two years on, she’s still writing to help people achieve their best selves. She has written for Medium, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, Thrive Global, and UCAS.
Mantra: In all my life, I’ve never met someone who wasn’t important.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.
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