Posted by: Terri Johnston Fraracci | March 27, 2011

I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK: Who is telling us that and why do we believe it?

Who says we are not OK? More important, why are we so willing to believe it? Watch one hour of television. Only this time, instead of muting or skipping the commercials, make them your focus. I guarantee that you will find that you need one or more of the following:

  • To lose weight
  • To look younger
  • To make more money
  • To take antidepressants
  • To go to school
  • To get healthy
  • To get in shape
  • To give more
  • To do better
  • To be better

……and so on. In other words, you’re not OK. Who you are, what you have, and what you do is not enough.

Just think about it. Whenever you are talking with friends, family, at a party, on the phone, on the internet, invariably the conversation will turn to what you lack and what you must do to make yourself better. When was the last time you heard someone say, “I’m OK. I am comfortable with who I am, what I have, and what I do, and I am excited about finding out what I am capable of.”?

I have been thinking about this a lot. I know that many adults feel like they are not OK due to how they were raised or through other childhood influences and bad experiences. Fortunately, as adults, they have the opportunity to resolve and heal heartbreaking childhood wounds, and it is always my prayer that they do. But that is not what this article is about. What I have recently come to realize is that there is an overwhelming number of people in today’s society who did not suffer abuse or emotional trauma growing up, but who still have that anxious feeling that they are not OK.

Let me clarify. I believe that we are all born with the desire to grow, change, get better at certain things, be better human beings. We have ideals and a sense of potential to reach for. That innate desire makes life’s journey interesting, challenging, fun, and exciting. There is a wonderful sense of well-being that comes with accomplishment. I believe this integral part of who we are is healthy.

But what I see all around me is an anxious push to change, be better, get better, based in a deep-seated feeling that who we are right now is not good enough, and that we must change to feel better, be accepted, measure up. That feeling is neither integral nor is it healthy, and it is sad to watch so many of us (myself included) struggle to meet the expectations out of fear, when we could be excitedly reaching for the stars while simultaneously enjoying who we are right now.

So back to those commercials, media, advertising. Who is telling you that you are not OK? Yup. You got it. People who don’t even know you, definitely do not have your best interest at heart, but do have their own interests (capital gain) prioritized are telling you what and who you are – or are not, and exactly what you need to become enough. And we are falling for it hook, line, and sinker. Just think about it for a minute. How often do you think that book, program, DVD, car, seminar, diet, workout, retreat, wardrobe, etc. is the answer to your prayers? “It” will help you become acceptable, lovable, OK. 

Not only do we believe it, but we happily share our angst with others. It’s not the same as when we encourage our children and loved ones to be the best they can be for their sake. Our motivation for that is love. When we engage in sharing trying to “be” better out of fear we are simply spreading the fallacies that have been fed to us. The foundation is fear that we won’t be good enough, not enthusiasm for positive growth.

Why do we believe it? Because we are bombarded with it day in and day out. TV, internet, newspapers, magazines, popular songs, talks shows, and our own thoughts and conversations deliver a steady stream of what’s wrong with us and what we need to do (spend) to make us OK.  We listen to it, worry about it, talk about it, and respond to it; essentially feeding the monster that is after us.

I’m simply not going to do it anymore. Yes I know. I would have to live under a rock to avoid it. But just because it is out there doesn’t mean I have to invite it into my life and my spirit. When I decide I want to change, challenge myself, improve my character, and/or my spirit, it will be out of my desire to grow in love, not someone else’s desire to capitalize on my fear.  We don’t have to do anything to become OK.  We are OK. Believe it.

Now go out there and have some fun finding out what you are capable of just for the sheer joy of the adventure!

*Please note that I do not believe that every person out there promoting “good things” is in it for the money. There are some really awesome people out there who only want to help others. But when they tell you that you “need” this product, diet, book, etc.  just to be OK, they too are perhaps unknowingly perpetuating the idea that we are not enough.



  1. It’s impossible to avoid completely. You have to mentally armour yourself against it.
    But you’re right. Usually, we are OK. And they’re not helping even if we’re not.


  2. I am all I need to be in Christ. Not an easy concept to grasp, but if I look to him for ALL my needs I will be satisfied and whole. This doesn’t mean I can live life like I see myself living it, but as HE would will me to live it. Again, not an easy concept, but a worthwhile one.


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