It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Sad Woman

“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia

In 2009 I traveled to Perth, Western Australia, to further my education. Little did I know how much my life would change.

I befriended lots of people and met a tall, gorgeous man from South Asia. He was not the type of guy I normally dated, but I fell for him anyway.

It was our happy fun time in 2010. Then, in early 2011, I sensed a change.

It’s funny when you’re in a relationship with someone; you can feel when something just isn’t right. 

I had that feeling.

You see, ever since we became a couple, we could talk about anything without feeling judged or embarrassed. We were happy, so when suddenly he changed and became very private, it raised an alarm in me.

It turned out he was having an affair—not just with one, but with two women at the same time. The pain, the hurt, the humiliation, and the numbness that came afterward were unbearable.

I literally forced the truth out of him. I knew it would hurt, but I had to know his reasons. How could someone with a kind heart cheat on a person and create a new relationship based on a lie? Questions bounced around in my head for months.

Eventually I forgave him, and so did the others. But unfortunately for me, I let myself stay in this drama.

I latched myself to him—and lost myself—while feeling confused by his conflicted feelings toward me, between “I want you” and “I don’t.”

It’s a strange thing, but sometimes it can feel safer to stay with a pain we know than embrace the pain of walking away.

That was when I found out I was six weeks pregnant.

Under stress and feeling mentally and physically tired, not to mention scared, I decided to keep the pregnancy as a single mother. Then I miscarried in the first week of December. It completely broke my heart.

Honestly, I was already feeling numb and I thought, “This is it. This is the limit.”

Unfortunately it wasn’t, because five days after my miscarriage, during a follow-up at the hospital, a doctor asked me, “Did the other doctors say anything about your left ovary?”

He then referred me to the radiology department, and they supported my doctor’s diagnosis—an eight centimeter tumor on my left ovary that had to be removed immediately. Since there are cancer genes on my mother’s side of the family, this was an even greater cause for concern.

I left the hospital feeling numb. Numbness turned into anger.

My sister and best friend called and said it was okay for me to get angry, releasing all the pain inside.

By the end of the day, I didn’t have any energy left. I felt so drained.

The worst thing about being alone is feeling you are alone.

All I wanted at that time was to go home, where I could just rest without thinking about how unfair life felt at that moment.

So in mid-December I flew back to Indonesia and had the surgery a couple of days later. Sadly, they couldn’t save my left ovary, but I felt safe and loved with my mother and sister comforting me. I could finally share my burdens with them.

I didn’t have the man I loved, and yet there was still so much love in my life.

The pathology results from the tumor stated benign, but since I have the cancer genes, I have no option but to change my lifestyle and make healthier choices, which is a blessing already.

While taking the time to recover from my heartbreak, my loss, and my surgery, I managed to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with my whole family who supported me and welcomed me back with open arms.

I’m not completely okay, but I’m still standing.

Last year, I thought I was happy, but I realized in retrospect that I’d lost myself in my relationship. Then when I lost my baby, I thought that I’d lost everything.

And yet if it weren’t for that miscarriage, I wouldn’t have learned about the tumor.

Sometimes the worst things in life can actually be blessings in disguise.

In retrospect, I realize I made a lot of mistakes. I stayed in a relationship even though I knew it was one-sided, because I didn’t have the courage to walk away. I lied to myself so I didn’t have to accept what happened.

But I’m learning to forgive and take care of myself, mentally and physically.

And I’m finally accepting that it’s okay to not be okay.

It’s okay to cry for our losses. It’s okay to mourn the dreams that didn’t pan out. It’s okay to hurt and not have things figured out.

Through the events in our lives, good and bad, we learn who we are and what makes us tick. It’s not about creating happily ever after—it’s about taking it one step at a time and accepting that we’ll go through times when we won’t feel happy.

I never imagined I would lose love, a pregnancy, and my health all in one go. But even if I don’t feel okay right now, I know I will be okay because I have family and friends who love me unconditionally.

But most importantly, I love and believe in myself.

And as for my past lover, I hope he will find the change that he still seeks and desires, and that he never breaks another woman’s heart the way he did mine.

Remember: everything will be okay if we love and believe in ourselves, and understand that hope floats around us.

Depressed woman image via Shutterstock. This post was originally published in 2012.

About C. De Lima

C. De Lima has a Master’s Degree in Art & is certified in Education Support. She is currently in Perth, WA, studying and developing a new art project.

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  • bettina_rae22

    This is a powerful message.  I think so many of us live thinking everything has to meet our expectations, however life is not perfect and will never look that way. Maybe if we are more  realistic we can let go of these expectations and share our hurt and pain rather than hiding it, for fear of judgement.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Bettina @

  • IB

    This a great post. You go beyond the belief that good things must always come out of bad things and discover a more universal truth. If we accept that sometimes we won’t be happy, then we can always move forward in our lives.

  • Very nice post. Your words are like an encouraging pat on the back when life has become difficult. Thank you for the comforting reminder that I am, indeed, OK. 

    Add another friend to your community of unconditional love.

  • This line hit me right between the eyes:

    It reminded me of how brave I have to be just to take care of myself. 🙂

    Also, I was moved by your statement regarding the miscarriage leading to the discovery of your tumor. The fact that you can reframe tragedy to highlight gratitude shows such strength and wisdom. I’m not saying you’ve got it all figured out, but you certainly have discernment and what seems to be a gentle hearts towards yourself. Good luck on your journey. 🙂

  • The line that hit me right between the eyes was: 
    It’s a strange thing, but sometimes it can feel safer to stay with a pain we know than embrace the pain of walking away. Once you cut and paste, it changes the font. I forgot to include it the first time. oops!

  • po

  • I love this 🙂 

  • April

    How very timely.  I rarely comment on blog posts, but I especially appreciated this one today.  Thank you for your encouragment.

  • Carolyniyer

    There is a fine line between being ‘not okay’ and choosing victimhood….

  • Redhen45

    It’s obvious you have chosen awareness over denial.  That’s a vital step in healing and expressing self-love…the gateway to all love.
    (Unfortunately, lots of us come to this awareness through pain – aka “The School of Hard Knocks”).

  • HJ

    Thank you. Was feeling quite depressed these few days. This helped a bit though I’m still feeling horrible. 

  • Jackie

    TThankyou for your brave and honest words. It is so hard sometimes being grown up. Stay in this precious space if learning and growing, as the pain lessens. X

  • Sal

    Beautiful post… I’m going through something similar, losing love, health and my procreation dreams, all in once. Reading about how you’re coping with it helps a lot 🙂

  • I enjoyed this and thank you for sharing it.

  • <3

  • Angie

    wonderful post and best wishes to a deserving soul 🙂

  • Mbray

    I needed that today, thank you 🙂

  • oceannca

    Thank you so much for sharing. I will be as brave as you are to walk away and to recover self and happiness.

  • Von

    your story really touched me, thank you for being brave enough to share it 🙂

  • Z. Oviedo

    “It’s a strange thing, but sometimes it can feel safer to stay with a pain we know than embrace the pain of walking away.” Resonates so much within me. I’ve been there. Happy to say I am no longer in that relationship & even though it felt like it hurt more to leave, I am now a stronger, better person for it.

    Thank you for your post! Lovely! 🙂

  • CDeLima

    Hi, thank you for your encouragement.  I believe now I’m on the right track to recovery. 🙂

  • This is such a moving post. We can find out how strong we are and how much we are loved when we go through hard times. I’m glad you have family who helped you through your loss and sickness. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • nectar

    wow, u are so incredibly courageous to keep going in the face of such adversity in your life and also such a kind person for sharing your story. I cannot imagine the pain you have felt in such a short space of time but I admire you so much for managing to turn it around in order to see the unconditional love you do have in your life. One day at a time is also the best lesson I have ever learnt when going through hard times…well done…u should be so very proud of yourself and how mush you are helping others with sharing your story…best wishes x  

  • AS

    Your strength to soldier on through tough times is a source of comfort and encouragement for many of us. Thanks for sharing!

  • Nelsilya

    This is very well put.. Remember, everything that happens in our lives is preparing us for the moment that is to come. It’s so nice knowing that an Indonesian make a contribution in Tiny Buddha, I’m Indonesian too! I hope you are doing well, take it one step at a time, everything will be alright. Semangat!

  • thecatsme0w

    Your baby saved your life in her own too brief life. I have had three miscarriages in the past and it eventually hurts…less, but their memory lives forever in a tattoo on my arm. At the time I remember the devastation, I remember saying “I want to die and be with my baby”. I was also surrounded by people who loved me, who knew the situation and supported me, thankfully. I was diagnosed with early cancer this past fall due to routine screening and I have a poetry/art sequence on the go about it.

  • Nadira

    Thank you for sharing. I rarely ever ever comment on blogposts etc, but yours was exactly what I needed.. I’ve been in-need of healing since a month ago, the one I love said he wanted me to be the mother of his children, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.. and now.. first he stood me up, then he disappeared, without explanation, without warning. 
    I am turning towards faith and trust in God, in the Universe that there is a gem of a lesson in this for me. But sometimes I’m not ‘okay’.. and have heart-wrenching fits of grief or anger.
    I cannot imagine the pain you endured losing the man you loved, losing your baby and the scare of cancer, and losing your ovary. Your story has brought me strength, courage and hope for myself, for my letting go and moving forward.
    Thank you.
    You have been a gift. 

  • Kathi

    “It’s a strange thing, but sometimes it can feel safer to stay with a pain we know than embrace the pain of walking away.”
    When problems in my now-ended relationship became too frequent to endure, I had said that if the most loving thing I could do was to walk away, I would do just that.  It never occurred to me that it was the most loving thing I could do for MYSELF. Thank you for sharing your story;  we possess more strength within us than we ever know!!

  • CDeLima

    Terima kasih! 🙂

  • CDeLima

    Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. 
    I believe we live and learn from each other, so If my story is helping others, I’ll be very happy indeed. 🙂

  • CDeLima

    Dear all, thank you for the kind words and positive encouragement.  I really appreciate it.
    I had doubts regarding sharing my story, but now I realized I made the right decision.  
    I feel fortunate that this post has helped and motivated you in some positive way. We do learn from others in a sense. 🙂

    Hope floats people! xoxo

  • Taminj


    I have to thank you for sharing
    your story. I never post on blogs; however your post really made me feel as if
    what I am going through is not so “uncommon”. I dated a man for a
    little over a year. After the first month I sensed something was not
    “right”. I myself was going through so much personal changes during the
    time that I overlooked the obvious and chose to take a chance with him. Over
    the year there were so many signs that things were not “right”. I
    fell so madly in love with him that I set aside everything; my own self worth,
    my own needs and desires, my independence. I was so concerned that if I chose
    to eventually move past him that the pain would be unbearable, I couldn’t
    imagine a day without speaking to him. In particular it was how I felt when I
    touched him. I loved loving him and taking care of him; however he really did
    not want or need me the same from me. He only took away my self esteem,
    disrespected me, treated me as if I met nothing to him. I never thought someone
    could intentionally not care how they treated someone. I felt that we all have
    a core inside of us that you should always think how you affect another
    person’s feelings. He was so selfish, inconsiderate, demanding, egotistical,
    deviant, and self centered. How could I have possibly expected someone of that
    caliber to ever think of someone besides themselves?!!? It was a year of mind
    games or to better put it torture and finally the constant questioning caught
    up with me. I would sit there for days and say how can he treat me this way or
    why does he do these things? He would continue to “throw me a carrot”
    whenever I started to realize he was only lying to me as well as himself. He
    was a master at giving me just enough to try to hold on. When the day finally
    came for me to take the chance and exclude him from my life I had felt as if
    someone ripped my heart from my chest. I couldn’t imagine the day I could not
    speak to him or touch him. I had made the choice that although he may break my
    heart I CAN NOT possibly let him break my mind! It finally hit me that he has
    drained all of me, who I am, my core beliefs: by being “who he is”. I realized
    cannot make him want the better things in life. He has to want them for himself
    first. I asked myself over and over again “why didn’t I give him the
    desire to want the better things and to do the right things in life” for
    example: an open, honest, growing, relationship. The truth is he may never want
    those things and no one can make him want that except for himself. It has been
    very difficult to move on and I try my best to focus on all he DID NOT do for
    us instead of all of the imaginary efforts I made up for him on how he ALMOST
    did anything for us. In reading your post so many things hit my heart. The
    bottom line is you should never loose or give yourself for no one, without
    “YOU” you have nothing to give. I know that this will hurt and for a
    long time; however I also know that all wounds do heal in time. Although the
    end results from a healing wound, depending how deep it may be; is that you
    have a scar. I know in my particular instance my scar will remind me that you
    are never to lose you for anyone! You must not ever love someone enough to
    allow them to make you question between right and wrong, always go with your
    Gut. Thank you for sharing with me that you have also experienced my same hurt
    and pain; we can look back and learn from our experiences or dwell and stay
    stuck in the pain for as long as we choose. Best Wishes to you and Thank you!


  • CDeLima

    Dear Taminj, thank you for sharing your story.  “Wow!” is my reaction reading it.  I can’t agree with you more that time will heal the wound and the scar remains as a reminder.  But it is up to us to change the whole perspective – see it in a positive way and make it a life lesson.  We can do it!!
    While reading your story, I remember this quote I read on twitter ; “I’m strong because I know my weaknesses. I’m wise because I’ve been foolish. I laugh because I’ve known sadness.” 
    Hope all will be well for you now and the future. 🙂

  • Taminj

    CDeLima, Thank you so much for that quote! That suits me to a tee! 🙂

  • Loved your blog! The Budda is always right!

  • Tinarose29

    I L…..O…..V…..E this article!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I too have lost alot but as you say in a way its been a blessing. I wish you all the best x

  • peace

    Thank you for your beautiful and encouraging post! Your post indeed made me drowned in tears and pain for a while and at the same time gave me so much strength. What was surprising was that your experience was very similar with mine if not same – pregancy, affairs, fear and doubts but staying in pain, similar time etc . Reading your article was like looking at myself in a mirror.

    ‘it is okay not to be okay’ the simple sentence makes me think about life and past. It finally made me decide to find a peace of mind after over 1 year-long relationship and let the person go and to forgive and embrace myself.

    Wishing you all the love and peace you deserve!

    thank you.

  • mayen18

    i am lucky enough to read your post . thank you for sharing your thoughts and how u able to cope up with life’ endeavor. this is similar to what i am experiencing right and its difficult to forgive and cope up when the person whom you valued most betrayed you. upon reading your post, it really enlightens my mind and encourage me to continue to live and discover the twisted reality of life. thank you for inspiring me a lot.

  • CDeLima

    I thank you too for the love and support. 🙂
    Hope the small steps you took will gradually lead you to happiness and peace. xx

  • This story has touched my heart, and allow me to finally cry and accept the feelings of hurt and betrayel from someone that I have loved for a very long time. I sat wondering how I was going to get through. Your story has showed me I am not alone in this journey of reclaiming my life from a lost love. Thanks.

  • Miguel

    Thank you so much for this post. I… I am awed & amazed with how you concluded this. I feel blessed just by reading it. I am not having a great time physically andin my career but I feel the love of my Mom, my friends, my God. And I know I will get through it. This too shall pass. Thank you for restoring my hope in myself and in my life. I am not sure if things will really work out for me…. But I can feel the love.

  • Hildy

    Thank you for your honesty, I really enjoyed reading your story.  Even though I have a different story, I can relate.  When one door closes, another one opens…

  • Kat Valencia

    Thank you ……I love this … and light to the world

  • Habibanazeera

    Thanks… love the the statement ‘hope floats around us’

  • great insight. wishing you all the best!

  • CDeLima

    I can relate to your feelings.  The reality is you are never alone. Hope floats my friend 🙂 

  • Andres Riofrio

    🙂 Blessings for you. Prayers for you.

  • CDeLima

    thank you for your appreciation.  i hope this articled helped you as it did for me.

  • izza24

    Awww, you had such a tough time. I admire you for your strength. I hope i can get advice from you cos right now im not okay. 🙁

  • Guest

    What if you didn’t have family and friends who loved you unconditionally? Bad to say you’re okay because of that. Loving and believing in yourself is good, though. We need to be self-contained. Cannot have expectations of things we cannot control.

  • Hopeful

    Thank you so much for your post Taminj. I have been in such a toxic ‘relationship’ for 4 years now. He treats me like iam nothing and if i dont do as he says he will walk away at anytime and i will never see or talk to him again. Before i met him i had values, morals that i would never break but now i myself feel so broken. Many people have asked me why im still in contact with him and i say its because iam so madly inlove with him and cannot bear the thought of never seeing him again. I would rather accept the scraps he throws me than lose him completely. But now i feel that i need to. I have been in a battle with myself for too long. Reading your post has given me so much inspiration. Hopefully i can be strong enough.

  • chrissy

    You are so strong to have made it through that time and share your story with us!  I feel inspired- things are definitely not well in my own life, but perhaps it’s ok.  I hope to come out stronger the way you clearly have.

  • thanker

    this is my first comment to a blog..i never thought i would comment. i loved this..truly inspirational. Thank You

  • Velma

    Thank you for sharing your story. It comes during my time of “not being okay” and that it is okay. I’m encouraged greatly.


  • Ben

    I can totally relate to your story about being in a relationship with someone and something just doesn’t feel right. And true enough… He’s been cheating on me all this time. I found out… the painful way.

    And yes… (like you) I let him into my life again. But things didn’t improve despite him promising to make things better. People like him will not change. I am learning to accept that. 2 years into the relationship, I could no longer tolerate the insecurity and the feeling of one-sided love.

    I’ve since broken up with him but a huge part of me is beating myself up for being so silly. I could only hope to pick myself up again… Find myself again… Be happy again… (just like you did).

    Your story showed me that I am not alone. And if you can find peace, so can I.

    I wish you continued good health and happiness.

  • Babybuddhaamor

    I have to say I think you are absolutely incredible. My mouth dropped open as I read – and your story is similar to mine. A loving warm man who became very guarded and cheated on me not just physically but romantically – multiple times – which was the most painful to accept.
    I also lost two babies by him – in one year and miscarried by myself in a bathroom while he couldn’t seperate himself from his selfish endeavours.

    There is so much more I could say that he did to brandish me with scars but I have come to realise tolerance – releasing pain anger and trauma helped me to release his hold over me. Forgive them for they know not what they do helped me to heal some of the sting.
    Why is it we become enraptured in pain and suffering – because the unknown is strangely more scary. Now very newly out on the other side I ask those of you who still suffer to keep concentrating and focusing energy on a new beginning and letting go of which is only there to cause you pain: you are good enough, accept and love yourself by realising you have a choice to keep suffering or start living a more beautiful tomorrow.
    Thank you again for sharing your story it was so amazing

  • JRASoul

    This post found me 3 years from the original, yet it touched me as if it were said a MIN ago. Thank you.

  • Thank you for sharing this. I think there’s a misconception that we must hurry and move on when things in life cause us pain, but just like you said, it’s okay to not be okay. Healing takes a long time, and for some even longer. I’m a strong believer that we must go through the motions because everything will eventually teach us a lesson or protect us from something else. This past year was a year of healing for me after going through a miscarriage. It took me a very long time to feel a little bit of joy again. I’m still healing, but I’m so glad I’ve understood that its okay to not rush and to go through the feelings. Thanks for sharing this importance with others. Wish you the best and may the future look a lot brighter 🙂

  • rt

    Your story C. De Lima is a very touching one. I had to have a burn out after 28 years of marriage to realize how alone I was in my marriage. It didn’t feel right but I couldn’t understand why. When we live for other’s dreams and not our own we get signs and then challenges to wake us up. I decided that no matter how hard it was going to be to start again on my own, my life mattered too much to stay. Having support was a blessing in your healing and personal growth from your experiences. I believe when we know better we make better choices for our future. Good luck!

  • onlinetherapyandcoaching

    Yes, thank you for this! There is so much pressure from those around us to be brave and strong in the face of tragedy, but that is only due to their fears. We all are human, and sometimes falling to pieces in the most important step in the healing process.

  • gigi

    Taminj, I too am recovering from falling in love with a narcissistic man. Having a relationship with an NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, can turn the strongest woman intoa co dependent mess. I have been struggling with one for almost 3 years. Though we are divorced for a year now, he easily gets me back into the viscious circle. My answer, no contact ever. It hurts, but feels better every day. Prayers for all woman who have to deal with these charming yet cruel men <3

  • Solange Blige

    Ur well com

  • Didi Claire

    Thank you for posting. it’s strange, someone once hurt me so bad yet I felt safe around him. I definitely see part of your story in my past. But I’m learning to love and accept myself now, and my faults as well. And I definitely know the comfort and strength of accepting myself the way I am. Thank you and thank you to your family for comforting you at the time when you most needed it.

  • Tati

    I usually comment on posts because I can relate, or because I need help regarding my situation. And although heartbreak is familiar to me, I just want to say that your story made me tear up. You are a true example of courage, and love. I guess you’re feeling better now, I truly hope so. I wish you many good things in life.

  • Maria

    Wow ! I beat your beautiful and unstoppable! Try to love yourself over everything and everyone, it’s magical ❤️ you will never go back

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  • Miranda

    I never comment on blogs but I feel the need to comment on yours. You’re a very strong woman. Honestly, I feel weak and selfish because I’m the kind of person who cries about things when things doesn’t go my way. I tell others they can do anything they want and push my friends to success while whenever I’m alone, I complain about my life and cry over small things. You’re post just opened my mind. I’m sorry for all of your losses. But whenever we lose something, we always gain better. Thank you for posting this. I really needed this. I need enjoy life and Accept myself.

  • Lauren

    I know this post was a long time ago. But last year I lost my baby to miscarriage, then my partner and I split up 6 months later. I am still trying to cope with all the loss. Some days I am not sure I can cope anymore

  • LTV

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m in the throws of a similar situation. There were multiple women, and when confronted with photos and texts from one of the other girls, he continued to deny his actions. The following day, I had to detectives come to my house looking for him… ultimately through background checks and LOTS of conversations with people from his past and present, I discovered he had been convicted of stealing 65k from an employer AND he had an addiction to heroin and painkillers. I was duped into thinking this guy was my everything, when he was actually a sociopathic drug addict criminal who straight up victimized women. Last Saturday night I found out I was pregnant with his child and I’m really torn up about getting rid of it. If it was just the cheating, I think this decision would be a lot easier. I’d be looking at a lifetime of lies and legal issues if I was kept my ties to this jerk. I’m so mixed up, so sad, so scared, so exhausted, but overall, so ready for this to be over.

  • Sam

    This is an amzing blog, I am so glad I stumbled up on this. My fiancee broke up with me last week with me just 4 weeks before our wedding. She said that she isn’t sure anything about her life anymore, she doesn’t want to get married. Its such a massive blow for me and shook my core while ripping my heart into pieces, I never thought a life without her. Over the days I’ve questioning myself as a person and trying to find out what I did wrong to deserver this.

    I have always been this nice guy in the relationship, always did little things to suprise her, brought flowers and loyally loved her more I than anything in the world, but I didn’t spot any sign of issues in our relationship, but one day she just randomly decided to end it like it was nothing. “It’s a strange thing, but sometimes it can feel safer to stay with a pain we know than embrace the pain of walking away.” this resonates with me so much, I am still trying to get her back and trying to be with her even after she said that she is not sure about this relationship because she feel confused about life and what she wants to do. While I am trying to find closure for this, I need gain my self esteem and get myself backup to face the worst scenario of living without the girl I thought the one.