“Don’t worry, you will be fine. You’ll get over it!”
Here’s something we’ve all experienced: You tell someone about a situation in your life or a problem you’re having and they respond by dismissing your concerns in a way that only makes you feel worse. What if you don’t just magically “get over it”?
Acknowledging your feelings
If you’re a first-generation Canadian, these words may ring particularly true. As a child of immigrants, “feelings” were not something we talked about in my family. Whether we were sad or downright angry, we were taught to “suck it up” and move on with our day. We were told to “put on a brave face.”
Many immigrant parents around us were forced to take lower-paying jobs due to the language barrier and had to work incredibly hard to give their families a better life. They couldn’t afford to prioritize their feelings, which, for some, led to resentment, anger, depression and anxiety.
Thankfully, times are changing as more and more people are talking about the importance of the mind-body connection and confronting mental health issues. Still, we need to remember that many people out there continue to stigmatize mental health issues. Eliminating the stigma of mental health is the first step towards enabling positive change, so use your voice and spread the word.
Talk about the importance of mental health with your friends, neighbours and older relatives. If they need help or additional support, tell them that it’s okay to not be okay! Encourage them to consult a healthcare professional, seek therapeutic help or join a support group.
Getting over it
Let’s go back to our original question: So what if you can’t get over it? Obviously, the answer may vary depending on what “it” is, but here are a few strategies you can try.
Decide to let go. If you find yourself constantly going over the details of the same story in your head without ever reaching a new conclusion, it’s time to try a different approach. One thing you can try is making a firm commitment to let go, which can be empowering and revelatory.
Express your pain. Write a diary entry or a letter to someone that you won’t send that unpacks your pain so that you can get it out of your system. Doing so can help you understand your pain better and gain a new perspective on it.
Focus on the now. You can’t undo the past. All you can do is focus on the now and try to make today a little better than yesterday. If you crowd your brain with negative feelings that relate to past experiences, there’s less room for positive feelings. Focusing on the here and now leaves less time to think about the past. If your mind is clinging to a past event or experience, gently bring your attention back to the present moment.
Practice forgiveness. Sometimes we get so stuck in our stubbornness and our pain that we can’t even imagine forgiveness. We should remember that forgiveness can be a gift to both ourselves and another person. If you can’t forgive yourself, you won’t be able to move forward in your life and welcome joy back into it, at least not fully.
If you’d like to talk to a healthcare professional, check our Locations page to find a clinic near you or book online to schedule an appointment.