Conditional OK-Ness: “Even If” vs “As Long As”

Do you see yourself as being OK “as long as” specific conditions are met?  Or are you learning that you can be OK “even if” those conditions are not met?  This can be a critical concept in recovery that can get us stuck in the dreaded, fragile acceptable bubble, or launched into a more complete and lasting recovery.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify | Listen on Amazon Music | Watch on YouTube

The Highlights

  • Often anxious people will say they are recovering and doing exposures, but they are really learning to do things with a bunch of conditions attached designed to either prevent anxiety or save them if it does appears.
  • These are conditions placed on the ability to be OK.
  • In most cases, this might be expressed with, “I’m OK now, AS LONG AS ….”.  That can lead to any of a long list of conditions that include not being too far from home, not being alone for too long, being busy and on the move, having a safe person with them, or being able to listen to a podcast if they need to calm down.
  • This is conditional OK-ness.  This may or may not be a word, but if it isn’t, I just invented it.  This is the ability to be OK only if certain conditions are met.
  • While this might certainly represent progress if one has started from completely homebound (for example), we have to be mindful of the potential pitfalls of conditional OK-ness.
  • The goal of recovery is to learn that you are always OK.  You are OK, not “as long as” conditions are met, but “even if” conditions are not met.  Recovery is learning that you are capable of handling feelings of anxiety, fear, uncertainty, or even full blown panic without conditions.
  • So what does being OK even mean?  Well, doesn’t mean optimal or perfect.  It doesn’t mean feeling awesome.  We don’t get to demand that in life.
  • OK means capable and competent and able to move through challenges when they present themselves.
  • See the difference between conditional OK-ness and full recovery? One is fragile and prone to fall apart when conditions for OK-ness can’t be met.  It exists in a narrowly defined acceptable range.  The other is more durable, portable across contexts and challenges, and less likely to crumble when challenged.
  • Conditional OK-ness can lead to being in the dreaded acceptable bubble where you build enough recovery to get by, but its really fragile because it’s based on getting around or away from … rather than through … challenges. 
  • When someone says that they’ve been doing so well because they’re feeling great, then immediately crumbles in the face of any new adversity, there’s a good chance that conditional OK-ness has created an acceptable bubble that’s just been popped.
  • Take some time today to think about the conditions you’re placing on your OK-ness? How can you work on dropping those condition?  This is – as always – difficult work, but well worth it to get to a state of more complete and lasting recovery.


Links of Interest

Podcast Episode: The Acceptable Bubble


Want to support my work in some way?  Here's how to do that!

Workshops and Courses To Help With Your Anxiety Recovery

Join The Discussion Group

My Links (social media, podcasts, etc.)

Podcast Powered by HELIX Interactive

Intro/Outro Music: "Afterglow" by Ben Drake (With Permission)


Subscribe To My Newsletter

Get notified when I publish new episodes! Get book updates, helpful information, inspiration and encouragement you can use in your recovery plan.






Founder and host of The Anxious Truth Podcast. Former anxiety disorder sufferer. Now fully recovered and dedicated to providing no-nonsense, straight-forward, actionable advice on how to overcome anxiety problems.