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.
In the past 12 months, I have told you How to Draw the Line to Happiness and Balance Your Way to Happiness with These Tips.
I’ve asked Can Too Much Happy Make You Sad? And Can You Make Happy Specks Lead to the Bright Side?
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.
Lori ENglishAugust 18, 2016 at 6:47 am
Great article on sharing the emotions that we all feel. Celebrating the good emotion ‘s , but most of us have had times when we wern’t happy through a death where we need to be able to express that sadness. I am happy to see this as part of the article and truly love your work . We all grieve in differnt ways, and it is a process that is different for everyone.
tamuriaAugust 18, 2016 at 11:53 am
Thank you, Lori. So true, we need to be able to express our sadness.
lori EnglishJuly 24, 2017 at 9:41 am
This is a wonderful article that you wrote and I thought I d tell you that again. A wonderful way to teach your granddaughter the ups and downs of life to understand and be a strong woman.
tamuriaJuly 25, 2017 at 12:13 pm
Thank you, Lori. So kind and generous of you to revisit this and share your lovely comment. I appreciate it.
LoriJuly 28, 2017 at 5:20 am
Yes, we do and they are first priority. Thanks For sharing this wonderful post. Your welcome.
rozbeadsAugust 18, 2016 at 6:58 am
Goosebumps- You are one smart lady. The first time I saw ‘InsideOut’ with our 4 year old granddaughter hubby & I did not understand the movie. Izzy explained it & we watched it again. She got it about having both emotions to balance us out. I always felt good being sad or crying which I could do easily. I hurt for other people & I let it show. I come back to center. Every one of your blogs is a class in parenting, in Psychology 101, Life101, crafts & artistry 101. Keep spreading your wisdom.
tamuriaAugust 18, 2016 at 11:55 am
Your wonderful words of support mean so much to me Roz – thank you. Iside Out is such a clever movie and even though it was made for kids, we adults can learn so much from it.
Susan Mary MaloneAugust 18, 2016 at 9:02 am
Oh, Tamuria, what a wonderful grandmother you are! I love, love, love this. When we stuff our sadness, our lives become beige. We just need desperately to feel all of our feelings.
And what a beautiful quote by Susan Piver: “Despair is what happens when you fight sadness. Compassion is what happens when you don’t.”
tamuriaAugust 18, 2016 at 11:59 am
Susan, thank you. It’s those little Goddesses who are teaching me so much about life – amazing! Yes, I have seen the results of stuffing down our emotions and it can lead to something much worse – not feeling anything.
Sabrina QuairoliAugust 18, 2016 at 10:54 am
I love the movie Inside Out. It really did hit home for me that we should not ignore any emotion we are going through. Thanks for sharing.
tamuriaAugust 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm
Luckily, as I find I’m being asked to watch it so often, I too love the movie Sabrina. Its message is so important for big and little kids.
Teresa SalhiAugust 19, 2016 at 12:15 am
I haven’t seen this movie but perhaps because I have no little ones around. I love how you are giving light to being with all of ourselves and I too love feeling deeply. Sadness is not a place I want to stay for a length of time but to cry and feel has a cleansing effect and it makes it all real, raw and part of living.
tamuriaAugust 20, 2016 at 10:03 am
I’m with you there Teresa, sadness is not a place I want to stay, but I’m learning to acknowledge it’s importance.
Rachel LavernAugust 19, 2016 at 4:32 am
I just guided a client through some tapping rounds to shift her thoughts and feelings on sadness on Monday so that she could move pass regrets and remorse. The round helped her to see her sadness in a new light.
tamuriaAugust 20, 2016 at 10:04 am
I think one of the biggest mistakes we can make is to stuff it away because it keeps eating at you until you move through it.
Beverley GoldenAugust 19, 2016 at 5:52 am
What a wonderful and important post, Tami! Too much of what we see in the online world today, promotes ‘happy’, as if that is the only emotion we humans are meant to strive for. Just today, my friend/massage therapist and I were discussing how important it is to live in the ‘darker’ places. We are polarities. We have light and dark. We have happy and sad. There is so much to learn about ourselves from living into the emotions we ‘don’t like’, to see what they have to teach us. I have done that frequently in my own life, trusting that light always penetrates the darkness.
Absolutely loved the movie Inside Out, too. It really shared a message about allowing and feeling our emotions, to both young and old. What a great gift you continue to give your grandchildren, as so often grandparents are the ‘happy’ makers in their grandkids lives! Thanks for another beautiful observation of life!
tamuriaAugust 20, 2016 at 10:05 am
I agree, Beverley, we learn so much from the emotions we don’t like and the light does penetrate the darkness.
Christy SoukhamneutAugust 19, 2016 at 9:45 am
I have to remember to give myself permission to be sad and to cry. It always helps, but it takes time to give myself permission. This is a good reminder to be kind to yourself and teach your kids the same thing. Sadness is part of life; a very valuable part of life.
tamuriaAugust 20, 2016 at 10:07 am
Yes Christy, allowing sadness its moment is part of being kind to yourself and is a valuable part of life.
AudreyAugust 19, 2016 at 12:12 pm
Nobody wants to be sad, but without sadness do we realize joy? The ying and yang of life. Yes – we can’t always be happy. We need to acknowledge our sadness, but then move on past it to joy. And your focus on joy gives us tools to get beyond the sadness. Thanks for reminding us of the value of contrast.
tamuriaAugust 20, 2016 at 10:08 am
Sometimes we need the darkness in order to appreciate the light Audrey, but I much prefer to focus on the joy. 🙂
Kristen WilsonAugust 19, 2016 at 12:55 pm
I don’t know about the sadness part.. but I know what you mean… crying is for babies and “big girls don’t cry”.. that part is hard because I am a big old softie.. and I cry at lots of movies and it is almost like I feel ashamed of crying in movies that I try to hide it.. you are right.. it’s okay to feel all emotions… just not reside there, right?
tamuriaAugust 20, 2016 at 10:10 am
So right, Kristen, we don’t want to reside there. I spent decades covering my tears when watching sad movies, much to the amusement of my three sons who were not fooled. I love the freedom I feel to cry openly now when I am touched by something.
Reba LinkerAugust 19, 2016 at 9:21 pm
This post spoke to my heart! Sadness and joy and both so necessary. I’ve been on a seesaw, learning to balance them both, first learning to honor sadness, and now re-learning to give happiness its due as well. This was so interesting to me as well: “people who are feeling sad are less gullible, more attentive to their surroundings and produce more persuasive arguments than people who are feeling happy.” Food for thought!
tamuriaAugust 20, 2016 at 10:12 am
I found that really interesting too Reba, especially that people will bring on sad emotions when preparing for important meetings. I’m coming to grips with acknowledging sadness when it comes along, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to bring it on.
KristaAugust 20, 2016 at 2:38 am
Love the cake! I do think it is important that we acknowledge our grandkids emotions – the negative ones especially. “Why are you feeling sad?” might be more helpful than “Don’t be sad.” Then teach them how to cope better with those feelings.
I think a good cry can be very helpful. You usually feel better afterwards.
tamuriaAugust 20, 2016 at 10:15 am
That’s a great question, Krista, finding out why they feel sad and then helping them to cope is a much better way than trying to push sadness away. I agree, a good cry almost always makes you feel better. I have to admit, I was pretty proud of the cake. 🙂
Joan M HarringtonAugust 22, 2016 at 9:01 am
Really great post and yes it is so very important to feel your “sadness” as well as your “happiness” 🙂 I love being happy and feel so good when I am, but when I feel sad, and I cry, I feel that it just releases all of that whatever I am feeling right out of me….at least for me that is how I feel.
Thanks for sharing your awesome thoughts 🙂
tamuriaAugust 27, 2016 at 8:58 am
Crying works that way for me too, Joan. I sometimes find myself crying over the littlest thing and then realize my tears are for something else that I’ve been stuffing down.
Karen GroszAugust 22, 2016 at 11:46 am
I have not see the movie, but I believe we need to embrace and feel all of our emotions. We need to let our emotions come and then go. When we shove them away, that is when we get “stuck”. Yes it is hard to feel sadness, grief, anger and even hatred, but we need to feel them. No, we don’t necessarily need to act on them, but experience them. Only then are we living our complete human experience.
tamuriaAugust 27, 2016 at 9:00 am
That’s true Karen, feeling all of the emotions is living our complete human existence and if we try to ignore them we can become stuck.
Joyce HansenAugust 23, 2016 at 9:35 am
We work so hard to stay happy and make everyone else happy. You write from such depth of understanding how important sadness is to our emotional well-being. Although, I suspect many would not see it that way. If we do not prepare children to understand sadness, they will be ill-prepared to handle the sad parts that will come their way as adults. Thanks, you’re a super grandma Tami.
tamuriaAugust 27, 2016 at 9:04 am
That’s so right Joyce, we need to prepare kids for the inevitable feelings of sadness and how to deal with them in a healthy way. It’s such an honour to be a grandmother, so I put a lot of thought into doing the best I can. Thanks for the kind words. 🙂
Jackie HarderAugust 24, 2016 at 6:09 am
Terrific read. I and I so agree…we have to get over this “sadness is badness” thing. I used to feel that way, stuffing my negative emotions and telling myself to cowboy up. The problem with that is that any negative feeling — when stuffed — doesn’t go away. It just gets worse. So I encourage my coaching clients to let it all hang out. Yell, scream, throw (unbreakable) things and generally have a super sob fest. Just get it out. And yes, there are also physical benefits to crying as well. Thanks for the reminders!
tamuriaAugust 27, 2016 at 9:06 am
It’s so good you are teaching your clients to get it all out, Jackie. So right, the feelings have to be dealt with, they don’t go away.
Katarina AnderssonAugust 26, 2016 at 6:31 am
Good stuff…people should not be afraid of being sad sometime…you cannot be happy always. That’s like there’s nothing bad with being bored sometimes, nowadays people also seem to think something needs to happen every minute.
tamuriaAugust 27, 2016 at 9:39 am
So true Katarina. We need a bit of sadness, and boredom, sometimes.
Jennifer QuisenberryAugust 27, 2016 at 1:04 pm
This is a really healthy way to look at how we respond to sadness. Whether its our friends or the children around us, there’s no shame in experiencing it.
tamuriaAugust 29, 2016 at 8:30 am
So often people are ashamed about feeling sad, Jennifer. It makes it hard for them to seek support.