I have always been the type of person that likes to please everyone, make everyone feel good. Especially working on a college campus with young adults who are trapped in the in between of their parent’s doing everything for them and learning to take responsibility. They forget to turn something in on time, or break something and the first thing they always say is “I’m sorry.” My response back is always, “it’s okay,” even when it’s not and their lack of realizing their actions may affect someone else has now caused a lot more work for me to do, I still hear myself saying “it’s okay.”
After loosing our baby girl and being thrust into this world of grief my husband gave me some good advice. “You will learn real fast that while you are going through hell, you will spend more time making the people around you feel better then they will making you feel better.”
I didn’t quite get this at first but he was right. No one knew what to say to us or how to act. I wanted them to feel good so my first response was “it’s okay.” I felt so wrong saying it. It wasn’t okay, I wasn’t okay, what happened to us wasn’t okay. But I needed to please everyone, make them feel better for not knowing what to say to me.
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For weeks I walked around in a daze telling everyone it was okay, I was okay, until a colleague approached me. We don’t see each other often so she hadn’t even heard I was pregnant, but had just learned we lost the baby. After talking for a little bit she said “I am so sorry for what you are going through” and I told her “it’s okay.” While walking down the sidewalk she grabbed me and stopped me and looked into my eyes and she told me “no it’s not okay.”
To hear someone say it, especially someone I was not close with was so freeing. In the moment I told her she was right, it wasn’t okay but that I would eventually be okay and that was finally the truth. I knew even in my darkest days that I would be okay, we would be okay and it was okay to say that what happened to me was not okay.
Today, five months later, I still have to stop myself from just giving my old response.
I am learning new phrases to say to people. The phrase usually depends on the day and how I am feeling and my relationship to the person but I will not just tell people it is okay anymore and if that makes them feel uncomfortable, that isn’t my problem.
Guest Post by Heather Wright