“You’ve got to pick yourself up and keep moving forward,” I often hear after a catastrophic fail. “Don’t wallow in self-pity! Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Get up and try again. Winners never quit, and quitters never win! It’s not over until you give up!”
But here’s the thing…sometimes the race is actually over…sometimes there is an actual finish line, and sometimes you don’t win, and sometimes that knocks the wind out of you, because you reeeeaaaally wanted to win. Sometimes you don’t want to get up and try again because now you know for sure that that is not your thing, and you just want to sit here and feel your disappointment.
A time to mourn.
Sometimes a relationship that you thought would last forever is over. Sometimes that hurts even if the relationship was a toxic one. And sometimes when that happens, you don’t want to go out and mingle and see what exciting prospects the single life has to offer you! Sometimes you want to stay home and cry, listen to love songs, watch romantic comedies, and miss the good times.
A time to mourn.
The worst and most confusing thing is, sometimes you can feel sad for no reason. Sometimes everything is going well in your life, but for some reason…or for no reason…you’re full of despair, your soul feels lonely and heavy and there’s no way out of the darkness. And because it makes no sense, you refer to paragraph one above. “Keep moving forward. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Snap out of it!!”
Sometimes you will get over it in two days with the help of too much Ben & Jerry’s. Other times, you might need to talk to a trained professional to help you understand your pain and move on. But do you know how to NOT get over it? TELLING YOURSELF TO GET OVER IT!!!
When did it become a sign of weakness to feel disappointment when things go wrong? Is it wrong to feel bad when you fail? Is it childish to cry when you’re sad? Is it healthier to smile for everyone and then stain your pillow with your secret tears every night? Is it better that after someone has given up trying, God forbid, and decides to end it all, that we are left with questions and statements like, “But she always seemed so happy…”?
Please note, I am not encouraging anyone to just live indefinitely in an unhealthy mental state or just dwell in sadness and/or depression because it’s part of our human journey. But when I cut myself, I cannot make myself stop bleeding by just saying so. When I break my leg, it won’t get fixed by pretending that it’s not broken. Getting up to try again when you’re not yet ready might get you disappointed again, or you could hurt yourself. Not because you’re unworthy, not because you’re useless, not because you’re unable, but because you just weren’t ready!
It’s okay to feel sad sometimes. It’s okay to not always feel brave and strong. Feel the pain, it lets you know that you’re still alive. But when it’s too heavy and it won’t go away, get some help, Sis. That’s not weakness. That’s not childish. And slapping a fake smile on your face every morning is as effective as putting on a mask to hide your tears.