So I’ve been feeling a little sad lately.
It’s a hard thing to talk about these days because admitting to sadness often seems like such a failure. Clearly I’m doing something wrong if I’m not happy, right? I must not be meeting my professional goals, or be making enough money, or be in the right relationship. Maybe I need a bigger house or plastic surgery or a convertible? At the very least I should keep quiet about it because no one wants to be around someone who’s sad. I should just take a pill and keep smiling.
Even when the sadness has a defined cause, like the death of a loved one or a divorce, there seems to be an accepted amount of time to grieve and then you’re supposed to go right back to “normal”. I have dear friends who are generally sadder and more introspective than most, and society would like to tell them they must medicate, that their natural state is unacceptable. There are countless books and programs on “How to be Happy”, yet I suspect the only people they’re helping is whoever is collecting the money.
I’d like to suggest that “How to be Happy” can often start with recognizing and respecting why you are feeling sad in the first place, and then actually allowing yourself to feel the emotion without guilt.
For me, the sadness usually comes around when I’m feeling stifled and don’t see an outlet for some creative pursuit, or a way to satisfy a need. In the past when I’ve hit this point, I’ve pretty much just tossed everything out the window and moved on to something else, which is really just a messier way of ignoring the problem.
So this time, I’m just going to admit it. Things are not quite right, and I’m not entirely sure how to regain my sense of balance. I’m working on it though. I’m not asking for sympathy or advice for a quick fix. I’m just trying to be open about it, and wishing we could all be a little more tolerant of the uncomfortable emotions, myself included.