I am going to tell you a secret. No one’s life is perfect. Not even the most perfect people. They don’t have perfect lives.
How do I know?
Well I am not much of a celebrity watcher. But I still see the headlines. Bad things happen to them. They do stupid things. They get divorced (well, celebrities get divorced a whole lot).
And you know what else I know that tells me that no one is perfect?
They tell me! In my line of work I am lucky to work with a lot of successful people. They don’t tell me they aren’t OK right away. But once I know them long enough they’ll start telling me about not perfect things in their lives. Almost without fail they eventually expose some issue to me. And it’s not a big deal in the end, we are all human. But it’s real.
And if that doesn’t convince you that not everyone has a perfect life I notice one other thing happening that convinces me. Sometimes people think that my life is perfect!
As imperfect as my life is somehow people on the outside think it’s perfect. Sometimes I wonder why people would think that my life is so great. I do get to do a lot of great things. But I also work hard and have a lot of challenges and set-backs.
But I have some clues which I will reveal in this article why we all may be mistaken about others and their lives.
So not everyone is perfect. And we are all in bad places from time-to-time. Some of us more often than others.
Let’s take a look at where we are today in society, why it’s OK to be not OK, and get some perspective.
Social Media Biases Us
It’s been well covered that social media biases us. Many studies point to social media having more positive posts than negative.
And it makes perfect sense. Most of our friends are posting happy pictures of dinners, vacations and pool parties. Meanwhile we all have that one random friend that is always in a bad mood and everything is wrong in their life. They tend to get unfollowed by others, less comments and the algorithm does the dirty work for us and filters a lot of their posts from us.
What are we left with? More and more positive impressions of good things happening to others and less and less focus on other realities in life such as work, day-to-day, and bad events.
I promise you that the people taking the trips, eating the meals and laying on the beach have problems too. They may be different than our problems but they are there.
They have times of being not OK too. And they probably hurt even more about them because they have to work so hard to hide them.
Some People Can’t Deal With Imperfection
One of the great things about my career as a business strategist is that it leads to a lot of speaking and a lot of conversations which means I get to know a lot of people. Over time I’ve learned many personality types.
And there is a certain group of people that can’t deal with imperfection or trouble in life. Their answer to not OK things happening is to ignore them, abandon people or cover them up.
You’ll start spotting these people because when you talk to these people everything is right in their life. They often aren’t striving for growth. They are stuck in one place and that’s because they can’t feel the pain to shift to a higher plane.
I once dated a girl long-distance and we got to be very close. She was one of those people where everything was right in her life. Which, I tell you, is very attractive. At least initially.
I remember one time as we got closer we started talking about our future together and what would happen as her parents aged. Her answer was simple: “My parents won’t get sick and die.”
OK. That’s one way to deal with the future. Rather than deal with the stress and think about the impending changes that will likely come in life she just denied it and moved on to the next subject.
We all do this to some degree. Just some people do this to a very unhealthy degree.
And if you are watching others you might think it’s not OK to be not OK. But remember their journey is not your journey.
Sometimes We Are Too Tough On Ourselves
Often because other people show us perfection and we live with some people who deny imperfect we start getting tough on ourselves. We start to feel incomplete because we too aren’t perfect. In this article Vanessa Torre examines being tough on yourself and excuses.
We have to deal with reality in life, which means a lot of crap. We are going to be tired, we are going to have deadlines and stresses, and we are going to have bad things happen.
And if we are pushing ourselves we will often fall short of our goals. That’s OK. It’s not a bad thing to fail once in a while. Stop beating yourself up.
What’s more is that the truth is the successful people you are grading yourself against – they’ve failed a lot. And those “normal” people that you encounter where everything is perfect? They are giving you a false front. If they aren’t growing future failure surely awaits them.
Life Has Ups And Downs
All of our lives are going to have good moments and bad moments. Ups and downs are natural. And if you are on a down it’s OK to be not OK.
Earlier this year my father died of cancer. That caused a lot of not OK in my world. Not only did I lose one of my biggest influencers in life and a best friend I also lost a lot of normal.
For a long time I was not OK. I remember thinking about the fact that I didn’t feel like myself. I was at a loss.
You’ll have ups and downs. Life is not just up and when it’s down feel OK to suffer along with it.
It’s OK to Suffer
And it’s OK to suffer. Depending on the trauma or change you are going through you’ll suffer. That’s part of the process of changing and growing.
A lot of people want you to get that happy face back on and keep moving. But it doesn’t work like that. Sometimes you need to suffer a bit for yourself and take the lessons. While you don’t want to dwell forever suffering can point to healing that is needed.
Don’t allow yourself to be on other people’s timelines and don’t feel the need to be perfect. Often when they want you to be perfect it is because they want the easy and convenience of not dealing with your issues – not because it’s the best for you.
It Takes Time For Us To Learn and Process
Going hand-in-hand with allowing yourself to suffer is the fact that we need to learn and process. When something happens we need to understand it, accept the change, and move to a higher level of knowledge.
It’s often the suffering that makes us learn and deal with the core issues. If we deny the process of being not OK we won’t work through the learning and growth we need for our future.
One of my friends, Amy Fulmer, deals with Angel Moms. That’s moms that have lost their children. Talk about a painful process.
And while Amy makes the process better for the moms she knows that suffering, grief and processing is part of the process. You can’t deny the need for understanding and growth.
What To Remember
Remember what you are seeing isn’t always real. Everyone is dealing with issues. You. Me. Everyone.
Don’t hold yourself to an unrealistic standard and be OK being OK.
Growth is on the other side. And you’ll get back to OK.
What do you think? What are your tips for dealing with not OK?
Join me in the comments below with your thoughts on this topic.
By: The Our Shawn McBride, a speaker, trainer and consultant on The Future of Business, the host of The Future Done Right(TM) Show and long-time business attorney. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here.
Check out some of my other articles on Medium.com:
NOTE: This article may have affiliate links where we get a small commission if you purchase an item mentioned.
Do you really want to make plans that work?
Future Done Right™ YouTube Channel – Check out this YouTube Channel for interviews and discussions about the future of business.
FREE preview copy of Business Blunders! – This is my first book and it looks at common business mistakes that I’ve seen in my years of working with business owners. This will allow you to avoid those issues in your business!
And a Little Thank You?
If you like this article can you leave a clap for it on Medium.com?