fb pixel

How Ok Do You Feel About “It’s Ok to Not Be Ok”?

From A-OK to “not,” Mental readers got lots of feels about this classic mental health phrase. Your thoughts? Do tell.
A young woman standing in a city street, holding one hands up in an A-ok position
Alina Nichepurenko/Unsplash

“Sometimes I feel like ‘it’s ok not to be ok’ doesn’t make sense. How is that supposed to make me feel better? By letting me know it’s normal to feel sad/bad things? How about ‘it may not feel ok, but it will be ok’ instead. Have I lost my mind? Or are ya with me?”

When Mental posed the above comment and question on Instagram (check us out!), asking followers what “it’s ok not to be ok” means to them and whether we should toss, keep, or refresh it, you had lots of thoughts. You guys = smart.

Throw It Out

You Said: “I prefer: ‘Extreme/unhealthy responses to extreme/unhealthy circumstances are healthy.”
Mental Note: Feels like a different statement, but an important one for people to hear.

You Said: “I do hate when people tell me ‘it will be ok’ when I’m dealing with something. It may never be ok.”
Mental Note: Touché. V v important point. That’s the pandering nature of something that wraps up into a nice quick Instagram slogan. How do we get around that? Suggestions, anyone?

You Said: “Yes, def needs a refresh. I prefer ‘this, too, shall pass.'”
Mental Note: That one pretty much can’t be beat. It just says it in four words.

You Said: “When you’re really low you don’t think the bad things will pass. So hearing it’ll pass makes me feel even worse because that feels impossible. Prefer to feel not alone instead.”
Mental Note: We hear you. It’s can feel more like a statement of fact than a statement of “we’re with you.”

GOTTA READ: 2022 Mental Health Awards

Give It Some Lipstick

You Said: “Yes! I like your updated way better. More optimistic/hopeful but also realistic.”
Mental Note: Why thank you. And yes, add a little hope in there! 

You Said: “It should be worded differently, or maybe something added after it.”
Mental Note: Yeah, needs a little extra. It’s normal, and you will be ok (not just it’s ok). Maybe that’s the distinction.

You Said: “Depends on who it’s coming from…”
Mental Note: Ahh yes. Critical distinction. From a chirpy Insta account with zero context, I find it…unhelpful.

You Said: “That it can’t be rainbows and unicorns all the time. But it needs a refresh. Everything is temporary.”
Mental Note: “Everything is temporary” isn’t bad! It feels like maybe it needs a bit more…heart, though? (The editor in me.)

GOTTA READ: How to Look Great When You Don’t Feel Great

Don’t Touch a Thing!

You Said: “Surface level, I think it can come across as it’s ok to own your mood and not have to feel the need to pretend to be ok when you aren’t.”
Mental Note: I like that interpretation.

You Said: “I think it’s saying it’s ok to have a bad day. It’s ok to be down about something.”
Mental Note: Yes. That makes sense. My Q is: Is this the message people most need, or do they need to hear/know that the bad feelings will pass?

You Said: “You’re not alone. It’s ok to go through your feelings, good or bad, but it’s normal.”
Mental Note: The “it’s normal” part is so key.

You Said: “It’s ok to be honest when you’re not ok. You don’t need to hide your mental illness with a mask.”
Mental Note: Yes, not hiding behind a mask. That’s powerful.

You Said: “Not to beat myself up over emotional ebbs and flows.”
Mental Note: That’s an empowering interpretation.

You Said: “To me it means feeling down/sad/bad does not make me ‘less than’ anybody else.”
Mental Note: That’s nice. Feels right.

You Said: “As a people pleaser, that assures me I am not a burden.”
Mental Note: FYI: You are not a burden. You’re a human being worthy of love.

You Said: “My mantra. I can live with all my faults.”
Mental Note: We all have faults, certainly. And knowing that’s universal does help.

You Said: “It gives me permission to feel and EXPERIENCE rather than showing pain. It’s the way through it.”
Mental Note: That is so clutch, to experience the feels, not ignore them.

You Said: “I feel it’s two messages. The first is: It’s ok to own it; you don’t have to pretend to be a superhero. The next part is the ‘this, too, shall pass.’ When I am going through something, I need both.”
Mental Note: I just don’t get the “this, too, shall pass” from “it’s ok not to be ok”—but I’m glad many others do!

You Said: “I think it means don’t be ashamed/embarrassed for feeling not happy.”
Mental Note: Which is a good thing. Helping to end stigma.

You Said: “That I shouldn’t judge myself for how I feel.”
Mental Note: That’s an important thing to hear when you’re feeling crappy.

You Said: “It’s important to know that there is a way through it, though. This is a start. ✌️
Mental Note: I guess my issue is, I don’t see the implication that there’s a way through it from “it’s ok to not be ok.” One might say it encourages you to dwell too long in the darkness. All so complex. Good discussion!

Who Writes This Stuff?

Talk Mental To Us

Trending Stories

Let’s Go Bananas!

Get the best of Mental in your inbox.

Mental Health Tips You Can Trust

Sign up for our FREE newsletter today.

By completing this form you are signing up to receive our emails and can unsubscribe anytime.

Hi, StyleCaster babe! Welcome to Mental.

Get fresh self-care tips, relationship advice, and the best calming products delivered to your inbox.

By completing this form you are signing up to receive our emails and can unsubscribe anytime.