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Sad Is Okay Sometimes

When we recognize that someone is sad, we often resort immediately to making attempts to change that state of being. Our social constructs point us in the direction of finding happy, of being happy, of staying happy. While we often have difficulty making ourselves happy, the urge to cheer someone up seems relatively universal, and somewhat instinctual.


Many times, it IS the right thing to do. Turning that frown upside down, leaning in to laughter, seeking the silver lining - all of these are typically healthy outcomes and resolutions of a sad state of being.


But sometimes, it isn't.


Sometimes, we simply need to be sad. We need to grieve. We need mourn the loss - whether it be a loved one, a lifestyle, a relationship, a dream or vision.


Simply glossing over the emotion, not letting it work it's way through our system doesn't make it go away. It will sit there, lurking in the shadows of our minds, fomenting until the opportunity arises for it to either creep back in our thoughts or explode uncontrollably.


Embracing and honoring the sadness - acknowledging the loss of joy, for whatever reason, is a much needed step toward healing and returning, for the sake of a simple metaphor, to the light. Writing it down, speaking it aloud, working it out physically with a walk-a run-a dance-whathaveyou, perhaps even just meditating on it - it's critical to giving the grief it's space it needs to be, and letting your mind, body, and soul, gently let it go.


I am no expert. I have not studied the field of coping, grieving, etc., and I am no professional in any field of mental or physical health or related field. I offer these words as someone who has experienced a reasonable share of loss, and is currently in the wake of another significant one - the passing of my spouse a few months ago - the sting often just as fresh as the day it happened.


We all cope in our own way. Each person's path, as in life, is unique. And as a friend of mine recently remarked, grief can come in waves we just aren't expecting and don't understand and they can take us to our knees.


So do what you may to handle your own, but don't ignore it. Don't bury it or swallow it. Take the time to respect it. And never be afraid to reach out for help. Even if that help means simply having the quiet company of another.


If you are a witness to another's path of grief, offer support in whatever manner they may need. Often we aren't sure what that may be. Be sure to consider that sometimes it is simply sitting in silence.


One of the blessings of the internet is that it has vastly increased our access to grief counseling. A simple Google search will bring you to many resources, locally and globally. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the many available programs online, especially if you feel overwhelmed or hopeless. Some places to start are - 211.org, counseling.org, psychologytoday.com/us/therapists, suicidepreventionlifeline.org



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