Stop Smiling Through Your Pain, It's OK To Not Be OK

At some point in your life, you are going to smile when you do not want to. You are going to pretend to be happy and put on a cheerful face for the people around you when on the inside you are screaming and crying and want to sleep.

I promise you are not alone and you do not have to pretend to be OK.

This is especially true if you are in high school, college or a young adult trying to get a job. I am very involved in at my university and the overwhelming sense of sadness that hits the students around me every year breaks my heart. As a generation of students, I see all of us trying to "fake it until you make it" like all those TedTalks tell us to, but at some point, you have to stop faking it.

I am here to tell you, it is OK to not be happy. It is OK not to smile. I am in the last week of classes about to start finals and I have resting sad face right now, and you know what? It's OK! I have given myself permission to not have a cheerful demeanor right now because I know my limits, I know that if I keep pretending to be OK when I am not, it is going to lead to a lot of mental health issues in the future.

Now, I am not saying it's OK to be mean to people just because you are having a bad day, but I am saying it's OK to not feel OK. Sometimes you wake up and simply feel off, let yourself feel off. If you have a terrible day, let yourself cry.

I guarantee giving yourself permission to have a bad day will make the good days even sweeter.

I can personally say I do not always take my own advice. I strive to be happy all the time, to help the people around me have the best day possible and to not let people know when I struggle. There are times when I do not allow myself to have a bad day because I do not want to seem weak or like I can't handle the burdens God has put on me. I can attest to the fact that those are the days I feel the worst. Those are the days I cry myself to sleep. Those are the days I pray selfishly instead of in a manner of serving.

Take my advice here and refocus yourself. Let yourself be sad for a day and then try to have a good day tomorrow. While you should pursue help with your mental health if you have lasting bouts of sadness or specific triggers, sometimes you just need to have a bad day so do not force yourself to smile and be happy. Having one bad day will lead to a lot more good days.

You will get through this, I promise.

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