Are You Tired of Hearing, “It Will Be Okay”?

“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.

Everything really will be okay.

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20 Responses

  1. This is an entry I wrote a couple of weeks back about the emotional turmoil I went through during my divorce. People kept saying things like “it’ll be ok” or “there’s light at the end of the tunnel” etc It used to frustrate me so much.
    https://120fingersandtoes.com/2016/05/09/divorce-the-time-i-nearly-lost-my-sanity-then-gained-strength-i-never-knew-i-had/

  2. tywood12 says:

    Reblogged this on My New Life and commented:
    This is great

  3. Beverly says:

    Way to rebrand OK. So smart. Thank you.

  4. divorceshoes says:

    I have to admit…I cringe when people say it to me. How do they know if I will be okay or not?!

    • They believe you will be okay. They see your strength. Your resilience. They trust in your ability to adapt and transform. Maybe they’re been where you are and now are okay and they know that you too can follow a similar path.

      I relate it to my experience as an 8th grade teacher. I often see my students’ potential at a developmental time when they cannot yet see it in themselves. My job is to help them see it and believe it.

      When people tell you that you’re going to be okay, they’re looking at the big picture. It’s hard to see that when you’re still facing an impossible brick wall. Try to find comfort in the fact that they believe in you while you find yourself again.

      You got this!

  5. Lori says:

    I was just thinking about this recently. I have a friend who has had a bad breakup and it clearly in a lot of pain. I know a lot of people told her “it will be okay.” But, I was telling her from experience. At the time everyone told me that it would be okay. I wanted to believe it, but my life just seemed so hopeless. Well, 4 and a half years later, I am okay. In fact, I’m better than okay. It just happens on a different timeline than what we want sometimes.

  6. It will be the pits, but you can get through it, learn from it, and life will be good again.

  7. Ren says:

    I’m looking forward to ok. Bring on OK!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just sold my marital family home because of divorce. Start my new life now.

  1. May 17, 2016

    […] ~ Thanks to Lisa Arends for her provocative post on her blog. […]

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