Learning and Owning your Sadness in pursuit of Happiness

I read this article this week and it truly resonated with me.

The Secret of Happiness? Stop Feeling Bad About Being Unhappy.

Now while I make a conscious attempt to be fun and bubbly most of the time, the reality is...wait for it...I cannot and am not high on life every day. Yes, I preach the whole 'life is beautiful' spiel because I truly believe it is and you just need to pick up a newspaper, turn on the news or talk to friends or random people to appreciate the blessings in your own life as compared to the horrors in our world.

But that is just it. The world itself is not a utopia. The world is a dark, grim place where people hate each other so much that they lie, attack each other, kill each other, start wars and the like. Where mothers look at their toddlers while they sleep, eyes filled with love and hearts with gratitude for this small blessing in their lives but still ponder and sometimes feel a bit guilty for bringing them into a world where we have to reaffirm that black lives matter or girls are awesome or gays have rights too, because so many are still ignorant or dismissive of these facts.

And these are global issues, which filter down to your own lives in Trinidad, New York, Nassau or Pretoria because you cannot divorce your personal lives from the psychosis around us.

But getting off the cloud above it all and coming back to the space where you, the mother, wife, sister, daughter, employee, friend, person are living his or her own life right now, at this moment - you have your own personal problems.  We all have problems. Full stop. Punto finale. We wake up each day and we face one thing or another - exhaustion, dead end job, screaming kids, bills, loneliness, cheating spouse, illness, death, fear - the list goes on. Recently, in supporting two friends, I encouraged them both to work through their sadness on their own time. Too many times, we get frustrated with friends and relatives when we feel they are wallowing in the murkiness of their experience for too long. But that's just it - it is their experience, not ours. Where I would have a concentrated, contracted period of darkness, another person may need months to get past the hurt from a similar event. I know a guy whose son died in a freak accident almost 15 years ago, and he just never truly recovered from that until his grandson was born recently. Now the light in his eyes is finally shining again - after 15 years.

We edit life every day - we post photos of happy moments on Instagram or Facebook; photos of cocktail hours with friends or vacations or special moments with significant others. We rarely, if ever, post photos of the darkness - when we sit alone in a room and cry, or we are so depressed we cannot get off the couch. And that's okay because that is our truth. The universal truth though is that pain is just a part of life and we must accept that. To me, pain allows us to cherish the happy moments. They go hand in hand. A world that pushes happiness down our throats, without acknowledging that it is unrealistic to always be on top of our emotions, almost making us feel bad about being unhappy, is a world that creates us to feel badly about ourselves, makes us envy others, makes us edit our narrative to promote an unrealistic image of who we are.

I go into deep, dark places sometimes. Deep, dark places. I edit. It is my truth. I don't have to share it with the world if I don't want to. I don't claim to be the happiest woman alive. I accept that I cannot be 'up' all the time. When I am not 'up', I want others to appreciate that I am human and I have hurt and pain and fear as much as I have all this love to give. I cannot dismiss how I feel because you have placed an expiration date on my emotions. We can be happy. We can be content. But we can also be unhappy and constantly searching for answers to life's many questions. That's okay. We don't dwell on it but we accept it. I accept my truth.

That's it for today

7 comments:

  1. Speaking as a mental health provider, that's actually great advice. I recently wrote about some "happiness stumbling blocks" in a recent post you might like:

    http://deadpandiaries.com/2015/02/17/free-psychiatric-advice-5-universal-truths/

    Saw your blog on the SITS share! I'll look for it again:)

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    1. Thanks. Will definitely check it out.

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  2. Like the John Green quote- it hurt because it mattered. I feel like when we acknowledge the negatives of life, we can then release them, rather than just trying to smother them in positivity. Then, and only then, can we let them go and focus on better things. Bravo!

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    1. Agree 100%. Purging is good...working through things rather than denying the pain is not there. Thanks for visiting.

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  3. You make some great points. I feel we've been sold this idea that we're supposed to be happy all the time when the reality is that we do need to feel a range of emotions and they're not always happy ones. I don't think that's a bad thing as long as we don't get stuck in the negative.

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    1. Right. Getting stuck in the darkness is the risk but we need to accept that we are indeed human and not smurfs.

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  4. Hello brave lady :)

    I wanted to start my blog back in 2011 and 2012. Those were dark times in our house. Our oldest was going through bullying and dealing with it by being a horrid/nasty teen. I went to a lonely, dark place..... Again not the best thing to do. I agree we share our good times, and keep the dark times private. That said, I did finally reach out and ask several girlfriends who had older children, is this normal. The answer that came back was enlightening. Yes it was normal, teenagers suck! :) It is good to share your dark so that people don't think they are alone in the dark. It was good for me, and it is how I came out of the dark :)

    Thank you for sharing.

    xoxoxo

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