At least 12 times a week, I have to ask my best friend, HelloGiggles contributor and amateur model Erin Foster, if I’m going to be okay. She is very well trained in the art of managing my feelings and is prepared to deliver with assurance and warmth what I need to hear, time and time again. “I’m not worried about you,” she will say, and instantly I will feel a sense of relief (until the next time I have to ask her).
This sort of co-dependency is what I live off. I need to know that everyone else thinks I will be okay and then I will think I’m okay. I might not think it, but it will get me by. Recently, this has started to frustrate me. What if I can’t get Erin on the phone the instant I need this reassurance (she loves going to long yoga classes)? What if one time she doesn’t deliver the message the way I want to hear it?? You know what happens then? I go into a complete spiral and start to believe I won’t be Okay. Now, I realize how petty this sounds and I have enough guilt for all the judgments you could throw at me. I know I’m healthy; I know how grateful I am and should be. But you know what? We have all read enough articles and case studies about our generation’s insecurities and all these emotions of anxiety really feel real to me. I decided that this was the year that I would try to tear myself away from this sort of co-dependency.
Here are some tips from an expert (I’m an expert in myself and all the emotions I proudly possess).
1. As quick as a Twitter trend passes, so will these feelings.
I will immediately tell myself that the feelings I feel now will not be the same in exactly three hours and you know what? They never are. Even if it gets 1% better, it still gets better. Or at least feels differently.
2. Distract, don’t react.
The minute I feel upset, I feel the need to react or worse, send a crazy text I will regret instantly. Instead, I distract myself by listening to music (probs some DRAKE or read one of the many Sweet Valley High books I have on hand for emotional safety).
3. Get over yourself and take care of someone else.
Sometimes I feel like I need to get away from thinking about me. Listen, I do love trying to figure out every single thing about myself and how I can improve or tear myself down. But sometimes it’s time to take a break from worrying about me and do what I do best and worry about others. This is the part where I call my mom and decide to really engage in a conversation about my 12-year-old brother’s social life.
4. Do something good.
I don’t mean thinking about doing well. I mean doing some GOOD. Go volunteer your actual time and thoughts to helping others. If you can’t find a local food bank, hospital or charity to get involved in (which is CRAZY to say because they are everywhere, you don’t need a link for me to tell you). Then even think of calling one of your friends with kids and offer to babysit so they can leave their compound and feel human.
5. Be okay with not being okay.
Whenever I feel a wave of sadness coming on, I will almost insistently think that I have the power to stop it or cure it and if I don’t, I get super hard on myself. And it just all spirals from there. NEW APPROACH, GUYS: I’m totally okay with feeling not okay with things. Maybe we can’t feel okay all the time and maybe we can. WHO KNOWS? I’M NOT AN EXPERT! But I know that me berating myself to feel one way or the other never helped anyone, so I’m practicing being comfortable being comfortably sad.
But also, please let me know if you think I’m going to be okay. I’m not even sure what “being okay” means or feels like. But I need you let me know I will be that.
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