By Jo Howarth, The Happiness Club

woman sat on a chair in the middle of the room, anxierty, mental healthThere is a phrase that gets bandied around a lot in relation to mental health and that is “it’s ok not to be ok”.

The phrase is designed to reassure anyone that may be struggling with their mental wellbeing that it is okay to feel that way. There is no shame in it. There is no weakness in it. It is perfectly ok to feel whatever you are feeling in any given moment. And I completely agree with the phrase and the meaning behind it.

But nobody tells us why. Nobody actually explains WHY it’s ok.

I’d like you to imagine a pair of Wellington Boots, the rubber boots you wear to splash in puddles and walk across fields. Imagine that pair of boots when they are brand new, nice and clean and shiny. Then you go for a walk across a field and get some mud on them. The next day you do some gardening and get more mud and dirt on them. And the next day you tramp off across the field again and get more and more mud on them. By the end of the week those boots are sitting by your back door covered in dried on mud, you probably can’t even see what colour they are anymore or if they have stripes or a pattern on them. You can’t see how nice and clean and shiny they once were. The mud has covered all of that up.

Why am I talking to you about Wellington Boots? Because I believe we are similar. We come into this world as pure, positive, nice, clean, shiny energy. And as we walk through life, things happen to us. We are told things, we witness things, we hear things, we experience things, we observe things and some of those things put “mud” on us. We pick up beliefs about ourselves that are simply not true. We pick up beliefs about the world that are simply not true. We are conditioned into thinking and behaving in certain ways. We learn all of that by watching and interacting with the people around us. And all of that mud affects how we move through our lives, how we act, how we react, how we behave and how we feel.

The bit that breaks my heart the most is that we come to believe that we are actually that mud. That the mud is who we are. But it isn’t. We are still that pure, positive, nice, clean, shiny energy underneath all of that mud, just like those wellies.

When you start from that viewpoint, of realising who you really are, then you come to realise that everything you experience is just that, an experience. Every happening, every emotion, every high day and low day and everything in-between. All of it is here for us to experience and all of it is temporary. Everything changes, the days of the week, the weather, the seasons, and our emotions. Sometimes when we get embroiled in how we are feeling we believe that we will feel like that forever but things change, situations change, thoughts change and our feelings change.

So is it really ok not to be ok? Yes of course, because we are not the mud of our experiences, we are simply experiencing that mud in that moment and that moment will pass. There is no weakness in it because you have simply learned some beliefs and programmes that are causing you to react and respond in a certain way, and you can change those if you wish to. There is no shame in it because you are not the mud, you are the wellies underneath that mud.

It is perfectly ok to feel whatever you feel in any given moment, to allow yourself to experience that experience, it is absolutely ok not to be ok and now you know why.

About the author

Jo HowarthJo Howarth launched The Happiness Club five years ago to critical acclaim. With a focus on online support, she runs her six-figure business, helping to support and impact the lives of both school children and professionals. Having experienced a difficult childhood herself, it was only when she underwent counselling years later, she realised it was possible to unlearn everything she’d previously been told. Now trained as an Advanced Hypnotherapist and Qualified Mindfulness Practitioner, her aim is to spread a global happiness revolution.


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