I think there is something beautiful in reveling in sadness. The proof is how beautiful sad songs can be. So, I don’t think being miserable is to be avoided. It’s apathy and boredom you want to avoid. But feeling anything is good, I guess. Maybe that’s sadistic of me. -Joseph Gordon-Levitt
I don’t think that it’s sadistic at all, Joseph. As Longfellow said many, many years ago: “Some days must be dreary.” We’re not always up or cheerful; if we expect ourselves to be, we’re setting ourselves up for major disappointments when those downtimes come. Many in this world believe that it’s essential to learn from all of our states, sadness included. And we can learn from it only if we allow ourselves to feel it, experience it, live it–even revel in it, perhaps.
Sadness is part of who we are. It comes only sometimes, of course, and it probably wouldn’t make an excellent constant friend, but it is one of the realities of life. When it does come, we shouldn’t try to deny it or banish it. Instead, we should accept it, make room for it, and let it teach us.
If we develop a relationship with sadness that allows us to share our lives with it, we can be in touch with sadness whenever we need to. We can tap into it when we feel sad about the state our planet is in, when we realize how many people are being hurt in so many ways on our planet when we think about the overwhelming burden of all the wars and poverty and crime that broke so many people. And we can feel that sadness without letting it control us and our lives. We can feel it–entirely appropriately–and let it be part of us without debilitating us.
Unbridled joy is a part of our lives only sometimes, though it’s always inside us, waiting to be set free. Sadness, too, is there, just waiting for us to access it and allow it to help us get through difficult times and work our way through difficult situations. It’s up to us to develop a relationship with it that’s mutually beneficial and allows sadness to be a part of our lives, as so many other things are.
Questions to consider:
Why do we so often try to push sadness away when it comes? What are we trying to avoid?
Why do so many people in our society feel that showing sadness is a sign of weakness?
What kind of relationship do you have with your sadness?
For further thought:
“Life is not all sadness,” Old Hawk continued. “Yet, without sadness, we would not yearn for joy and strive to find and treasure it when it comes. It is also a fact that neither sadness nor joy is with us constantly. And how often one of the other is part of our journey is not always within our control. We all want joy more than sadness, and rarely is the person who wants sadness.” -Joseph M. Marshall III