S is for...Satisfactory
Updated: Jul 29
Satisfactory. As in, OK.
Listen, it’s not ok to not be ok; ultimately speaking.
Yeah, read that again. It’s NOT ok to not be ok. Yep, I’m not jumping on what is currently the mainstream bandwagon of ‘it’s ok to not be ok.’ Surprise, surprise.
But I’m not saying that just to be controversial. I’m saying that because it needs to be said. Because it makes sense. Because I genuinely care.
Given that I’m clearly a massive advocate of exploring psychology, language, linguistics, mental health, wellbeing, and performance this notion that has surfaced in recent years, that “It’s ok to not be ok” just doesn’t sit well with me, and I’ll tell you why.
Because it’s hypocritical and contradictory. It’s just stupid. That’s why.
The phrase as an attitude is just weak. “It’s ok to not be ok” has become a slogan for how to deal with mental health and wellbeing, and it’s just not good enough. It’s ok to be vulnerable, I’m not disputing that. I’m saying that as a long term focus. This mantra is not good.
The psychology behind it is SO BAD. It’s intentions are good. So very good. But it’s application and delivery are baaaaaad. It’s flawed at the core.
Now, before everyone shits the bed and thinks that I’m just on a ‘watch the world burn’ tirade, let me explain this. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for the use of ‘It’s ok to not be ok.’
But it’s use is temporary.
It’s supposed to be used as a temporary term of reassurance. NOT as the S is for...Standard. Because ultimately ‘It’s NOT ok to not be ok.’
So, if ‘it’s ok to not be ok’ is temporary, PLEASE don’t use it as a slogan; a slogan being something that is quite clearly intended to be more of a permanent fixture.
Just read the sentence again and look at the message. In fact, let me translate it into ‘S is for...’ language.
It’s satisfactory to not be satisfactory.
That is what we are saying. Which is why it’s stupid.
We are bastardising language(gotta love that opportunity to use the word bastardise ooooooooo!). Because does ok mean ok or not? Because it sounds like some people want ok to not mean ok? It sounds like some people want ok to mean the exact opposite of ok. In which case, we are definitely screwed.
Where exactly does ok sit on the ‘quality’ S is for...Spectrum? Is it a positive? A negative? Neutral? Because I’ll be honest, at this point I’m lost. Personally, I thought OK was a positive. A-OK! It’s a term of affirmation and agreement isn’t it? “Yeah, ok.”
But it seems like with this statement. It seems like we are saying it’s ok to not be ok?
Again, let me translate it.
It’s good to not be good? It’s positive not to be positive?
Or should it be, it’s bad to not be good? It’s good to not be bad? It’s bad to not be bad?
Oh, Chris, now you’re just being silly!
Am I? Am I, really?
Because, now I feel like we might actually be getting on the same page. See what I’m saying? When we criticise things at the semantic level, we can actually see what the message is. What is being portrayed, promoted, and expressed. What is actually going on.
Now, I’ll be the first to say we shouldn’t criticise and look at things in isolation. There is more than meets the eye. But even if we look at this in a wider picture it’s still a stupid message. Because scale it up or scale it down, the sentiment behind the statement is - ‘it’s ok to not be ok’, aka ‘it’s good to not be good.’ Which, we all know is a lie. Because it promotes settling, it says ‘meh, it’ll do.’ ‘I can live with that’, ‘being ‘not good’ is fine with me’.
That is the statement. That is the mantra. The belief. The promoted message. The principle. The attitude. The stance. The view point. The frame of mind. THE FOCUS.
Well I say, bullshit.
Remember, language, when we start using it, is understood by people of all ages and backgrounds; with varying degrees of knowledge and understanding. If we set one set of rules but then promote another message, start communicating in undertones, is it really any wonder that people get stressed, and confused? No, not really.
It’s not ok to not be ok.
But it is ok to think ok is more than you think it is. It’s ok change and broaden your definition, understanding, and perception of ok.
Marketers, initiative makers, and scheme creators spend way too much time trying to make things cool, trendy, and fashionable. So they come up with all this ‘edgy’, ‘cryptic’, and ‘faddy’ bollocks to try and make things more appealing. Like, ‘it’s ok to not be ok’. They do it to keep things fresh.
Well sometimes, perhaps sometimes, things are supposed to be stale and just stay the same? How about that?
Just be honest. Tell it like it is. And get on with it.
“Chances are at some point you are not going to feel ok. Because that’s life. BUT, we can get through it. You’ll get better at coping with things, and you’ll get over it. Being ok is a skill, you have to learn it. You have to establish it. If you don’t feel ok, then chances are you haven’t finished learning how to be OK yet. OH WAIT, looks like every day is a school day.”
That’s what the fucking shit tag line should be. Something like, “We can get through it.” Because that’s all encompassing. We as a collective, and the ‘royal we’ as individuals. That’s a positive progressive message. It even kind of acknowledges that we must be going through ‘something’ that at that moment in time we’d probably rather we didn’t have to go through. But there is hope.
You don’t become ‘ok’ just by changing your headspace and looking at things differently. It’s a start, but for example:
Oh, my house is in fire.
Oh, that’s ok.
No it’s fucking not ok!
Oh, that person just stole all my life savings. Oh, that’s ok.
Oh, this person just threw me under a bus.
Oh, that’s ok.
No. No, it’s not ok.
As soon as you settle. As soon as you think you’ve done enough. As soon as you think this will do. As soon as you think this is satisfactory. As soon as you think ‘this is ok’. Question yourself.
Is it really ok? Or are you just saying that?
Could it be better? How can it be better? How can you make it better? What do you need to do to make it better?
Or you know, we can all just treat language like this game with no rules and just grunt and fart out random noises and hope for the best.
How does that sound, OK?
No, didn’t think so.
Anyone that thinks they shouldn’t be a weak, feeble, squishy mess at some point in their lives needs to have a reality check. When you came into the world? That’s exactly what you were. But you grow, and develop, and get better. And sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days. And when you have a bad day, you figure out how to make it a better day. AND THAT IS OK!
But it’s not ok to not be ok.
It’s so very important to acknowledge an S is for...Spectrum of quality.
Or you know, just lie to yourself. Whatever suits.
Something someone supposedly said
“Being OK means you’re not sad, and you’re not incredibly happy. You’re content. You’re OK. And that is the ideal place to be, to be able to say ‘I’m OK.’” - Andrew WK
OK - James Blunt and Robin Schulz
OK(Anxiety Anthem) - Mabel
OK - Wallows
O.K. - Big Bruvas
OK - Kid Franklin
OK - Victorious
OK - INNA
Owen Beard from Unsplash