OPINION: The stigma against “not being okay” needs to end

Julia Elbert  

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     Humans. The complexity of our nature is the driving force behind our reactions and emotional responses. How we see the world and how we feel about life is like a snowflake; each part works in unison to create something beautiful and personal. Our interactions with ourselves and other people should be the same.  

     We cannot all feel the same and be okay during stressful situations, so why have we created this lie of a life for ourselves? Why have we made this fake reality that we all think we are living in, where we pretend everything is okay when it really isn’t? This lie and the pressure to be okay all the time come from social media and the wall we have built up. 

     There is not one person to blame, as we have all created this world of trying to perfect, but the idea that we cannot struggle because we will be seen as weak needs to come to a halt. Perfectionism not only causes poor mental health, but it also creates a society that looks down upon anything less than perfection.  

     Average is seen as low and low is seen as practically nothing. We are striving for this reality that simply does not exist and when we cannot reach it, we are not allowed to feel upset because perfection, according to social media, does not sprout from failure. It sprouts from thin air.  

     When we are not allowed to feel upset or down, and we are forced to “fake it till we make it,” the anxiety rises, and the blood pressure goes wild. The dark looming clouds roll in and there we are smiling while our stomachs are in knots.   

     Depression and anxiety are tied to social media and oversharing for personal gain. The search for perfection is now measured by reaching a certain number of likes or followers. The concept that no one can know that we are crying as we post a photo that says “best night ever” has ruined the way we view ourselves and how we view each other.  

     Not being okay should be allowed to be seen. Posting raw, real emotions and photos of ourselves should not be stigmatized and looked down upon. We should feel comfortable being human and experiencing those emotions. To see other people around you not be perfect 24/7 is not only helpful for you, but for them as well.  

     Knowing that we are not alone, and we are not experiencing life in this twilight zone is something that we should all strive for. Not being okay should be seen as normal. 

     I am not saying that we should live in our struggles all the time, but we should recognize that we all have them and stop putting on a front because society has made us think we have to. Accepting the reality of where we are will not only help us but will save humanity at its core.