I'm sad, and that's okay. For most of my life, it wasn't okay. To me, sadness was something to fight. Something was certainly wrong with me if I was sad. Thankfully I don't see it that way anymore. Now I just see it as a passing phase, like a cold. Let it run it's course and my body will recover. Get some extra rest. Recognize it's presence and then let it go. I wish we would treat our emotions and feelings more like a physical presence that we have to deal with, and less like leprosy.
I have a very strong reason for avoiding sadness. My mom was plagued with depression. So much so, she eventually took her life to escape the pain. To say I became hyper-aware of being sad after her death 22 years ago is an understatement. I fought it tooth and nail, and that served me then. I needed to pull many, deep roots to get myself to a healthy place. But now, I've reached a point where I don't always have to dig deep. Now, at least this week, I'm just going to recognize its presence and let it be.
As humans, we've all been conditioned to judge every feeling we experience and then slap a label on it. Sadness is heavy and dark. We don't like it. Happiness is what we all seek. Duh! Of course we want happiness. It's always our overall objective, but honestly, the sun is always there, we just lose sight of it on certain days. There's lessons in them there clouds, I reckon. (said in my best hillbilly voice ever (no offense to hillbillies of course. :)))
I live in Ohio. We literally spend half of our days with cloud cover. I'm not talking clouds in the sky with the sun still shining, I'm talking gray clouds that block out the sun. So, when the sun does shine, we are pretty grateful to see it. Maybe that's exactly how we need to accept and honor our feelings. Let them move in like clouds and then let them move out just as quickly. We sure spend a lot of time fighting against everything don't we? Maybe the true path to happiness is simply thru the path of least resistance.
So, let's return to my sadness. It's election week. It's 2020. It's been a rough year and this election has been the worst of my lifetime. I think I am grieving over what I want the world to be, and what it is. I am grieving over a divided country. I am grieving over people not talking to each other because of who they voted for. I am grieving over our candidates, leaders of our country who show no respect for each other. I am grieving over Covid and how it continues to affect our lives. I am grieving over people who I want to help and hug, but all I can do is pray. I am grieving over not one thing, but a multitude of things. I don't need to overanalyze it, and believe me, I do that frequently. There is a time for that. There is a time when you have to dig deep and pull out roots once and for all, but for now, I just need to be sad. I don't need an absolute reason. I don't need to pull a root. I've just got an "emotional cold" and I'm going to give myself a little TLC and let it pass.
I've gone to bed early every day this week, just like I would with a cold. I've taken a little extra guard over what I feed my body, just like I would with a cold. I've actually exercised a little more, as in this case my body needs a little help with some endorphins. I've had the tissues extra close, to wipe away the tears that seem to fall a bit easier (tears are much better than snot). I've been very careful around people, because my sadness makes me want to lash out and blame, and that never ends well. I've given myself more grace and permission to just be, and not do, every minute of the day.
Today, is actually the first day where I feel so much better. The clouds have parted. The sun is back and I feel like I simply honored a guest who came to visit. May not be my favorite guest, but I still gained some insight and growth from their presence. I'm not inviting them back any time soon, but I expect they will return one day, and we will repeat this process. I feel like by honoring them, I didn't let them root in any deeper. They didn't take on any strong holds as I fought against them. They just came, and went...
All this simply reminds me of this poem by Rumi.
So, next time you feel the sadness creep in, or the anger, or whatever guest you'd prefer not arrive, give this method a shot. Sit with it like a visitor. I always say, you have to feel it, if you want to heal it. Take this from someone who hides whenever the doorbell rings. I can't promise I won't stop physically hiding from the people at my door trying to sell me things, but I am going to stop always resisting those unwelcome feelings - at least today. I'm a work in progress, obviously. I am simply learning, just like you, living the best I know how and loving life, one day at a time.
Angela Miller is an an RN and Professional Life Coach passionately pursuing her purpose to help others remember who they are and how to become their best self, emotionally and physically. For more information, visit www.soaringforward.com.