Is You O.K.?

November 24, 2019 |
Image taken by MJ

Our personalities have been and continue to be affected by the circumstances of our lives. Having a difficult relationship with family can affect one’s self-view. Growing up without friends can make someone feel that they will be a loner forever. Being laughed at or booed off stage can cause a person to never want to speak in front of others again. Being around violence can give the belief that being violent with people is normal. These scenarios can lead to a life crippled with anxiety, depression, anger, and self-doubt. When we get into conflicts with people, it is difficult to think of the person lashing out as suffering from those symptoms. It is also difficult to recognize when we are suffering. Reflection has made me realize that my anxiety, depression, anger, and self-doubt were caused by my past. Within the past three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to therapists. Seeing a professional therapist has helped me not be consumed by negative feelings. When they do surface, I am better equipped to acknowledge them and let them go. This was made possible by a professional without biases helping me navigate my thoughts. I have spoken to many people who go through something similar and have not seen a therapist. Unfortunately, low funds plays a big role in why people may not be able to have that opportunity. Other reasons for people not seeing therapists include the belief that religion is all they need and that therapy is pointless. For those that don’t have the money or have inadequate insurance coverage, this article from U.S. News offers advice on self-care such as physical exercise, mindfulness exercise, and dietary changes and also ways to get cost-effective medical treatment.…. For those that believe prayer is all that’s needed, going to a place of worship where we are being spoken to about the lessons in the bible is in fact counseling. In Christianity, Sunday service is used to discuss those lessons with the masses. The ability to have one on one counseling to discuss matters that directly affect you is equally if not more important. If your place of worship doesn’t offer counseling, search for therapists in your area that will be a good match for you. This is extra work but you will be rewarded with much needed support once a good fit is identified. It is important to realize that money and fame does not take away the pain of the past. One of my favorite artists, Jay-Z speaks openly about his experience with therapy. In his 2017 New York Times Style Magazine interview, Jay-Z states “I think the most important thing I got is that everything is connected. Every emotion is connected and it comes from somewhere. And just being aware of it. Being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such a ... you're at such an advantage. You know, you realize that if someone's racist toward you, it ain't about you. It's about their upbringing and what happened to them, and how that led them to this point. You know, most bullies bully. It just happen. Oh, you got bullied as a kid so you trying to bully me. I understand. And once I understand that, instead of reacting to that with anger, I can provide a softer landing and maybe, ‘Aw, man, is you O.K.?’”. As someone who once thought that therapy was pointless, I’ve come to realize the positive effects it has had on my life. Being able to control my anger, forgive and not hold grudges, and being a bit more patient has given me a sense of lightness. Therapy has also given me a similar mindset to Jay’s. Realizing that we are all a culmination of past trauma has made me more compassionate. Instead of responding to people in anger, we can respond by asking if they’re ok. This week when dealing with friends, family, coworkers or complete strangers who show signs of anger, don’t be afraid to ask “Aw man, is you O.K.?”.