“It will be okay” is sometimes a platitude, uttered in ignorance by people who have not ever tried on your shoes, much less walked in them. And that pat phrase, along with its twin, “You’re never given more than you can handle,” can spark ire in the one who is in the midst of the very-much-not-okay and there-is-no-way-I’ll-be-able-to-handle-this. It those cases, “It will be okay” feels dismissive, empty, hollow. A brush off followed by a watering down.
But those speaking in ignorance aren’t the only ones to share that phrase. Others come from a place of experience. They’ve been on the floor amongst the ruins of their life. They’ve lost everything and felt that overwhelming ache of the unfilled void. As they listen to your cries, they are transportated back to their own fresh pain (when nothing ever felt like it would be okay again) and they contrast it with where they are today (okay or even better).
And when they tell you, “It will be okay,” they’re speaking from experience. Not ignorance.
Sometimes we think of “okay” as “the same as it was.” And that will obviously never happen. In my mind, “okay” means adaptation to the change, accepting what is and building upon that base. “Okay” doesn’t mean that there isn’t loss, that there isn’t pain. It means that the loss is no longer all-consuming and the pain is no longer your identity. “Okay” doesn’t undo what was done, it doesn’t erase the past. “Okay” is a place of hope, a whisper that tells you one more breath, one more step. “Okay” means that the way you feel right now is not the way you will always feel because everything changes, even pain. “Okay” says that no matter what has happened, you can still find happiness and peace.