I won’t lie to you. I have to just tell myself that I’m okay at least a few times a week.
If I don’t, I’ll struggle to continue to build toward better.
‘Okay’ is okay
I’m not sure if it’s the decade in journalism or my anxiety disorder, but I always feel like there’s something to do.
When I’m alone, most of the time I’m actually pacing around whatever space I’m in, thinking over the things I have yet to do. I also work through problems I haven’t figured out solutions to quite yet.
In other words, my mind is always processing things and trying to get to “good”.
However, in the last few years, I’ve realized that pushing too hard for “good” can burn you out fast. In fact, it’s better to push hard to “okay” and then take the time to carefully build the steps in the ladder to “good”.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Personally, my overactive mind makes it extremely difficult to be “okay”. Relaxing is actually a really uncomfortable feeling for me, because I’m always acutely aware that there’s more to do before I’m at the point I want to be.
However, you’re never going to make it to a destination 30 hours away on time if you only give yourself 24 hours to get there.
Sometimes “good” can be so enticing that we forget to set up the base it needs to last. And that comes in the “okay” period.
So how can I just be okay?
Being okay is far more simple than you’d think.
I’ll give you three simple things I do to feel okay, or feel like my life is on track to “good”:
- I commit wholeheartedly to my obligations. I wake every morning between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., and I have until 7:15 a.m. to make it to the school for my first tutoring session. And every day I do that, I’m building solid ground towards consistency in how I treat my responsibilities.
- I commit to my better self. I commit to improving myself through reading different pieces of folklore and history to understand different cultures (and my own). I exercise four times a week to make sure my physical health is improving. And I make it a point to eat and sleep enough – only staying up late if I’m doing something that will produce a good memory.
- I commit to understanding myself and others. It’s no secret that it has become increasingly hard to understand people of different walks of life in recent years. Things are very heated and divisive in America and elsewhere currently. And I believe a lot of that comes from simply not understanding or knowing each other anymore. Therefore, I commit to asking questions instead of arguing. I commit to trying to see another side instead of trying to drag someone over to mine. I commit to seeing where people are coming from ⏤ regardless of whether it’s a place I agree with or like.
Those three things have kept me on, what I believe is, the right path for me. And following those has greatly changed how I interact with my world for the better.
In fact, seeking understanding instead of looking at discussions as verbal fights has greatly decreased my social anxiety. And I find that ⏤ more often than not ⏤ I can find common ground with people I previously would have bet I couldn’t find it with.
But that all started with deciding to reach “okay” and then slowly build towards “good”.
Because changing internally takes a lot more effort than changing your outside appearance. It takes repeated action. It takes time for things to become automatic. It takes great effort to actively correct yourself when you find you’re falling into old behaviors.
However, if you learn to be “okay”, to build from “okay”, you’ll wind up feeling much closer to “good” in a shorter time than you ever thought you would.
There is Help
Vivent Health offers fentanyl test strips, so that users can determine the presence of fentanyl in other substances. For more information, call 262-657-6644.
Kenosha County Public Health also offers free training and supplies of Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/KCNarcan or call 262-605-6741.
The Kenosha County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Resource Center may be reached from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 262-764-8555.
The Kenosha County Crisis Hotline operated is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at 262-657-7188. Kenosha Human Development Services operates the hotline.
EP 14: Do what you can – Inside the Mind of Daniel Thompson
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