How to learn to let it be okay

What gibberish is this? I recall thinking.

One of those impractical, implausible Zen monk deals that make me barf in my mouth? FOH.

Let it be okay. You can let go.

As a grown up, I can admit when I’m wrong. This thing about letting it be okay isn’t the typical made-up nonsense self-help wannabes spout.

Once mastered, this is an important life skill.

One I wish I had learned before I actually needed to use it.

It’s all about manipulating that mean soundtrack of self-talk into the shut-up position. Momentarily I’ll give you the exercise that dramatically changed my inner monologue in a week.

For now, as I am terribly vain- but also judge myself by how much I tried to help people each day?

Let me share a little of my spoonie-transition story.

Hopefully this real life account helps you or someone you know.

I wasn’t born chronically ill.

At least not in the way that it interfered with my daily life. I’ve been both asthmatic and anemic since birth. But I grew out of the asthma for a while as a child, and I don’t remember ever having an inhaler. My mother told me I was anemic at some point, but I don’t remember it ever mattering.

Although it explains why I was tired before the CLL probably began to lay dormant in my 20s.

When transforming from a person who has a few down days of illness a month to being a perpetually invisibly ill person. I began to lose things that I didn’t even know I was using to define myself.

That first day I couldn’t bound out of bed was a face slap.

I felt like an idiot laying there, bursting to use the bathroom, waiting and hoping that my body would cooperate in a few more minutes.

Or a few minutes more.

Or in five more minutes.

As an isolated incident, it was a physical issue. In my mind it was like having a sprained ankle. An unexpected inconvenience that would change life, but for a finite period.

But once that became a daily issue?

It felt like I was losing something tangible that I could not name. I started feeling loss, mourning what I thought of as my better days. I had taken for granted having both the energy and the physical ability to just bounce out of bed, stand up, go to the rest room and brush my teeth.

It never occurred to me to ask for help.

When it was suggested to me, I didn’t believe I deserved it, or any of the mobility aids that might help me get started in the morning.

Even worse than not being able to get up quickly?

The guilt over sleeping in.

For years – almost a decade – I went through the same cycle. On a bad day I slip back into this routine.

Unless I have to help with the kids in the morning, I wake up between 9 am and 11 am.

The first thought I have would be “This is terrible. I’m so behind. Why can’t I get myself up on time? I wonder what I’ve missed already.”

For years I started the day with this negative, blaming script in my head. No wonder over the years I began feeling like a failure, despite having two successful businesses, and being an influential personality in my field.

Then one day I ran across this concept when a friend said “I’m going to let that be okay.” I can’t recall the context of the conversation, but I remember watching her face go from stressed to peaceful.

So I started scouring the internet. It took a while but I got the general gist: acceptance. Unconditional acceptance of circumstances that can’t be changed, coupled with the realization that perhaps everything was as it should be anyway.

I applied this revelation to my sleep issues.

In the past nearly 10 years that I was beating myself up, did anything ever catch fire or become destroyed when I got up late?

There was no place for me to be at any particular time.

I was the boss so there wasn’t anyone to impress.

I’d never missed a meeting.

It had never cost me money.

If I ever had a client who preferred to meet in the morning, that day of the week I went to bed early and got up early.

I was usually a day ahead of my work, so there was no interference there. Especially since I made up my own schedule.

I couldn’t be lazy – if I didn’t work hard I didn’t get paid.

And I wasn’t oversleeping.

I didn’t usually get to be until 1 am at the earliest. So sleeping until 9 am Eastern – the time that the rest of the East coast was arriving at work- wasn’t costing me anything.

So why did I think it was wrong to get enough sleep?

Best I could come up with was a combination of articles telling me things like I was more likely to become a millionaire if I got up at the crack of dawn. I’d heard that the time Trump, believed to be a billionaire, only slept 4 hours a night.

(How’s that working out for us?)

But then i saw other evidence that conflicted. Some people are night owls. it appears to be a genetic disposition, according to science.

It’s even possible that we’re at the leading edge of evolution.

We tend to be more creative and smarter, something that was really important for my line of work, which was a blend of science and art.

Then I looked at my life in my version normal vs when I tried to force it to be like the world.

I got more done, made more money, and still had more time with my family and social life when I surrendered to my own schedule.

And my epiphany started with letting it be okay.

There’s probably something in your everyday life that is causing you guilt or making you feel shame that really shouldn’t. Something about you that you wish was “normal”. But think about it.

  1. Does the way things are now serve you, truly?
  2. Is the quality of your life better the way you are now?
  3. Is your major reason for changing just the desire to be “normal?”

If you answered yes to all three questions, here’s how to let it be okay.

First, just try being accepting of yourself the way you are for a week.

I find it helps dramatically if I ask a friend.

Some prompts to help you get started:

  • “why is the way I’m doing okay?”
  • “how does this benefit me?”
  • “what can I do with the time I spend not stressing about this?”

Affirmations can also help. I like to say things like:

  • I’m doing my best. Its the world’s turn to adjust.
  • This is good for me.
  • I’m fine the way I am.
  • I can still feel worth of love, no matter how this turns out.

I also like to look up facts to support my argument – to make sure I’m not fooling myself, I look at the arguments against changing as well. Then I debate both pro and con, looking for logic holes and fallacies.

Second, write them down or record them as a voice memo in your phone.

Third, listen to them or read them whenever you feel negatively about the item you’ve decided not to change.

The idea is to get your brain back on your side, believing what the facts support, not just your emotion.

After that week, if life is better – just continue to reinforce to yourself that you can let it be okay.

If life is worse as a result of not changing, you can adjust – but instead of beating yourself up, keep the affirmations.

Otherwise,you can always feel free to go fix something that’s actually wrong with the way you live your life.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *