Entering ‘Why It’s OK’ into Google will bring up a seismic amount of results (over 94 million). The ones that have nudged their way to the top with their SEO skills are ‘Why it’s OK to be a quitter’, ‘6 reasons why it’s OK to fail’ and ‘Why it’s OK to be seen as a bad mother’. To me, these three titles scream justification. Not just for the reader who is hoping to make their totally normal but sometimes judged actions seem right to themselves but for the writer who wrote the piece in the hope that they would not be cowering on a pedestal alone in their thoughts.
A few weeks ago, after I became incensed with the amount of time’s I was being told that every aspect of my life was OK – I decided to stop clicking. I didn’t need to justify why something I was doing was made all right by somebody telling me it was. Every time I was reading ‘Why it’s OK’ I felt weak. I needed someone I’d never met to tell me why it was OK to quit, or fail, or be viewed as a certain stereotype by the world. So I stopped.
Every article under this name that I saw subsequently made my skin crawl. ‘I don’t need you’, I kept thinking, ‘I am strong without you’. In mere days I started to get a niggling sense of what felt like FOMO from going ‘Why it’s OK’ cold turkey and without the rationalisation of my flawed behaviour I began to feel a tad lonely – I missed being told that it was OK.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter who tells us or why but we need that reassurance, that justification. We not only need to know that everyone else goes through the doubt but that our thought processes are the same. It makes us feel human. These articles are guilty pleasures, new age self help books, steering us from the constant judgements we have in our head to ground us when we’re feeling lost or helpless.
We’re not trying to condone our behaviour or make excuses for ourselves, we’re just trying to feel less alone. Even for a bit, about a tiny aspect of our lives. Millennials, as a generation, are lonely so we have to turn to our search engines to make us feel that camaraderie in our instability. Although we’re increasingly making our squad aware when times get rough there are some things we like to keep hidden and so seek solace from strangers on Google.
Mental health awareness is as its peak and it’s plateauing because our understanding is getting better. Despite this, we’re still fragile. Holly, from The Kitty Luxe, bravely wrote about her struggles with mental illness here. She is one of many bloggers making speaking openly about their fragility in the hope of making one of their readers understand or say ‘me too’ OK. The misconceptions are being quashed because of this and admitting that it’s OK not to be OK is viewed less as a weakness and more as a ‘you did it, come join us’.
There’s so much pressure on what we should and shouldn’t be doing. The lines between right and wrong are being smeared. We’re speaking up, making waves and trampling on the taboos that have held us down and controlled how its thought we should behave for so long. Social acceptability is shifting in its meaning and these articles are perpetuating that.
So go on, keep reading, keeping standing together in virtual solidarity for our not so perfect lives, keep being caught by the net that is familiarisation in our foibles – We need it and that’s OK.