What I have learned about being sad
I would like to preface this by saying that I do not claim to know anything you who are reading this does not, but thank you for reading. I am not really writing this from a place of hindsight or maturity because I think anyone of any age and experience could see where I am coming from and I have a lot to learn still. If anything, this is the product of a myriad of wise teachings I have received from different friends, most of whom I have met through this website.
To a degree, I think that the way we behave is based upon our past, acting on lessons we’ve learned from our mistakes and carrying the opinions we have formed about ourselves and our place in the world, which is often influenced by the environment we grew up in. The past is a funny thing though, I get bogged down in thinking about it so much that I forget to live in the present and realise the potential I have to change things away from how they have always been if I am not happy with them. I have the restrictive mindset of assuming if I failed to do something ten years ago, then I would fail if I tried again, and I lose a lot of courage that way, miss out on many opportunities. Although my childhood had some traumatic moments, I feel very blessed to have been taught good morals by family and to have been privileged enough to be educated. Childhood and teenhood I think is the foundation of life where from you have the stability to grow as a person, I think that these formative times can predispose many characteristics both good and bad. However, the bad characteristics need not be constant throughout life, with enough patience and hard work we can let go of the things the hold us back from developing into the best version of ourselves. I don’t think there’s an end-point we can reach where we become that best version, we are always imperfect and that’s okay, but progress is still being actively made as long as we keep trying.
I have always been a very sensitive person and it took me a long time to embrace that about myself because when I let it control my better judgement, I act on impulse and do things I instantly regret. I do find it important to acknowledge and have compassion for people who are going through suffering whether I know them personally or not, but even though there is a lot of unbelievably awful negatives in the world, if we focus on them for too long our hope to improve things can fade. Looking at the positive and remembering that time changes many things can bring back that hope which is invaluable in dark times. As humans we have to deal with emotions like anger, jealousy and selfishness but we always have the choice of where we direct them, we cannot use them as excuses to justify hurting others who are already facing their own battles. Sometimes I put off working through my negative emotions until they overwhelm me and then I fall into wallowing in self-pity and that can be very unmotivating and from which nothing is gained. I want to start to accept when I don’t fulfil even my own standards and expectations because getting frustrated at myself won’t help and just adds to the cycle of self-loathing. We didn’t choose our lives, we just found ourselves on this planet called earth with a name we were given and a time period we live in, with too many uncertainties to count. Sometimes because of this, during hard times, it can feel like we are being forced to live through things we wish were just nightmares and the world can feel so cruel and unfair. Even though we know that life doesn’t owe us anything, when we lose the things and people in our lives that made every hardship feel worth it, we can feel very lost. Sadly, there is no quick fix or short cut to this grief, we all have to deal with it by any means we can find but we are not alone in this struggle.
Smile, the worst is yet to come
We‘ll be lucky if we ever see the sun
-Mikky Ekko, Smile
I find these lyrics comforting even though the subtext for them could be interpreted to be very sad. To me, the sun symbolises all the happy moments I have felt during my depression, maybe they were brief distractions from the inner pain I felt but they gave me the strength to keep faith for tomorrow. I will always feel lucky and grateful for those moments, they matter just as much as the moments of despair.
And now a quote I found on the internets,
“Happiness is what happens when you go to bed on the hottest night of the summer, a night so hot you can’t even wear a T-shirt and you try to sleep on top of the sheets instead of under them. And then at some point late, late at night, say just a bit before dawn, the heat finally breaks and the night turns cool and when you briefly wake up, you notice that you’re almost chilly, and in your groggy, half-consciousness, you reach over and pull the sheet around you and just that flimsy sheet makes it warm enough and you drift back off into a deep sleep. And it’s that reaching, that gesture, that reflex we have to pull what’s warm- whether it’s something or someone- towards us, that feeling we get when we do that, that feeling of being safe in the world and ready for sleep, that’s happiness.”
I hope you all find that sheet with the greatest of ease, if not today then one day soon.