It’s not something we want for our loved ones. It’s not something we want for anyone.
When people are sad, our first urge is to take their sadness away, make them happy again.
When the people around us are happy they are giving out positive energy, which we benefit from. Our consciousness is not tormented with the feelings of helplessness, guilt, and frustration that sadness inspires.
There are countless books, courses, and articles celebrating happiness while sadness gets hidden away in the dark corner – something to be ashamed of, something to deny and never share.
It is what makes talking openly about mental illnesses associated with sadness so difficult. It is why so many suffer alone.
What if we celebrated sadness?
What if I told you big girls SHOULD cry? What if I told you, men and children, in fact, everyone, should cry?
This may sound a bit crazy from a woman who has spent a large portion of her life promoting happiness.
I’ve even offered the craft project, How to Make a Wheel of Joy and Happy Scrolls.
Clearly, I love happy.
It’s my favourite of all the emotions.
I respect the importance of disgust and fear to help keep us safe.
I realise that anger can be our biggest motivator and lead us into positive action.
But sadness, what can that possibly have to offer in the way of enhancing our lives?
If you have young children in your life chances are you’ve seen the movie Inside Out (I know I have, about 1000 times!). If you haven’t seen it, you should.
The movie is an animated children’s film that focuses on the emotions, who are actually characters, inside a young girl’s head.
The main emotions, Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear, all have their role to play but the real action is between Joy and Sadness.
Joy’s mission is to keep Riley (the young girl) happy at all costs, even if that means shutting Sadness out for good.
This takes them on an adventure as Joy tries to preserve Riley’s core memories, most of them happy while keeping Sadness at bay.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FEELING SAD
Eventually, Joy comes across a sad core memory when Riley was unhappy because she lost a hockey game. The memory becomes a happy one when Riley’s parents cuddle and comfort her and Joy finally understands the importance of Sadness to create empathy in others.
This discovery prompts Joy to stop trying to shut out Sadness and they work together, along with the other emotions, to guide Riley.
The movie had me thinking about all the times I tell the Goddesses, “don’t be sad, everything will be OK” and “there’s no need to cry, it’s all good now”, or whatever else I come up with to shut out Sadness and keep Joy at the helm.
How many times do we do this? Try to make less of Sadness and replace it with Joy?
How many times do we forget to honour the sadness in someone because we’re so busy trying to make them happy? Often because that is what will make US feel happy.
WHY BIG GIRLS SHOULD CRY
In fact, there are positives to feeling sad. According to a University of New South Wales study, people who are feeling sad are less gullible, more attentive to their surroundings, and produce more persuasive arguments than people who are feeling happy.
Some people actually bring on a sad mood by reflecting on unhappy memories before a big meeting, as they understand that people feeling sad are better at communicating their thoughts.
There are even positives to a good old cry. According to Medical Daily, crying is good because tears kill bacteria and improve vision. They also release toxins, relieve stress, and put you in a better mood.
Despair is what happens when you fight sadness. Compassion is what happens when you don’t.
MY GIFT OF SADNESS
All the Goddesses love that movie Inside Out but the four-year-old loves it so much she has days when she insists we call her Riley, instead of her real name.
So it was only natural that would be the theme for her fourth birthday party. And it was only natural that I would give her Sadness as a present.
In my defense, I also gave her Joy (I like to cover my bases).
My plan is to give her more than the movie character soft toy, though.
My plan is to celebrate her unhappiness when she feels it and let her know it’s OK, actually good, to feel this way sometimes.
Just as we should embrace our joy – did you read my post, Is Your Shield Actually Hurting You? – we should embrace our gloom when it calls.
I want to acknowledge the importance of sadness in creating situations of joy.
My plan is to honour my own sadness when I feel it and then to move on, confident that my positivity will have more power because I allowed Sadness to have its day.
Wishing you the freedom to honour your sadness, Tamuria.