Permission to be sad

Being sad

Sadness, along with all other emotions, are part of the human experience.

I think sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be ‘the best we can be’, to be perfect, to always do the right thing. Humans inherently are seeking happiness. But damn it, sometimes life just sucks and we do have bad times.

Here I am, someone who has faced cancer, a muddled through a myriad of other things and am now dealing with aging parents and managing through my remaining cancer treatment. People call me inspirational, probably because I do try to make the best in life no matter what, and I teach meditation and mindfulness to others. But do you know what?  I’m not perfectly happy.  I’m not perfect.  I have good days and bad days. And when I have the bad days sometimes I feel down about feeling that way.

I have found a great way to weather the bad days that I’d love to share with you.  Give yourself permission to be sad and have the bad days.  It’s OK. We are human. Bad days will happen.  We don’t have to be perfect. It’s OK to be angry, to cry, to feel sorry for yourself on occasion. I often give this advice to people going through divorce – sadness, guilt and regret can come and go for years afterwards. Just remember to apologize to others if you have lashed out at them   😮

A few weeks ago, I was alone and suddenly felt really sad. I thought to myself “I have no idea why I’m feeling this way, but I do. Why do I have to deal with all of this?” I happened to be unloading my dishwasher at the time and burst out into tears. Then I gave myself permission to be sad – it must have been a comical scene – me bawling my eyes out but still unloading the dishwasher until the task was done!  After that crying session, I felt so much better.  It didn’t matter why I cried, but what did matter is the perspective I took.  I knew the down period would pass, and I gave myself permission to experience it.  Now, if the sadness had lasted consistently for several weeks, of course this could be a different story, but it didn’t last.

When you think about it, how can you even know what happiness is unless you’ve gone through sad times?

So be self-aware, gain perspective, and give yourself permission to have these human emotions. After all, we are human and meant to experience the ups and downs of life.

10 thoughts on “Permission to be sad

  1. Wendy,
    Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am not my body. When we learn to remember that we are a soul with a body, everything magically falls into place and we can be peaceful again.
    Tranquility is experienced when attachment to attraction, repulsion and hatred has gone from the mind.
    There is no grief for one who sees oneness every where.

    • Well said, Arun. Life does change fairly dramatically when we see our lives through the lens of ‘I am a soul with a body’, and other perspectives such as ‘I am not my thoughts’ and understanding that our thoughts are not necessarily reality.
      Thank you for contributing. I think all such reminders help keep us on track!
      All the best,

      • Thanks Arun, so sweet and kind of you. I’m going through a hard time right now, but I know it will be OK and will pass. Pulling out all my tools right now, and it’s helping.
        Sending love and light to you,

  2. Thank you for this post Wendy. Very timely and actually a bit liberating. There’s this expectation that we’re always supposed to be smiling and positive. It’s liberating to know that occasionally giving in and ‘wallowing’ for a bit doesn’t make me a failure as a human. 🙂

    • Hi everyone! I’m just loving all the comments! Isn’t it a relief to know we should allow ourselves to have ups & downs? It is liberating to release ourselves from trying to be positive all the time. It’s good to let our loved ones know what we need though – when I’m feeling down and need space, I tell them, so they aren’t trying to figure out what’s going on with me. Great comments everyone. Thank you.

  3. I agree completely. Letting yourself go through negative emotions is the best approach from a mental health standpoint. It is the mental equivalent of cleaning out a wound. Holding things in and suppressing them will make you sick.

  4. I like this, you mean feel emotions, positive and negative, happy,sad, anger, hurt, disappointed, laughing,frustrated, all my life I put a mask on Mr. Positive, I remember my mother dying of cancer and being positive as this was my role in the family, the strong one always there, I have got honest now and some family members do not like it. Great article, thank you, Al

  5. I appreciated this post so much. On the opposite end of the spectrum my family recently all could not stop laughing one night, as they say we got the giggles. I don’t know what even started it and I know that I did not care. I enjoyed the moment so much and we felt exhausted and wonderful afterwards. So as you say just give yourself permission to be human.

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