health MATTERS – giving ourselves permission to be SAD

From feel-good Friday to feel-sad Saturday: feeling sad is not a choice and it happens….but being sad for toooo long can become a health issue.sad1

Excuse me, but how long is too long? This is a timely post because in a fairly short time span there have been a steady stream of things to feel sad about.  You would think that it would center around health issues concerning my parents at this stage but no, we lost them way too early, within six months of each other.  Now it concerns the illness of other loved ones, not knowing the outcome, the untimely death of some friends and now the loss of Kira, my brother’s beloved half yorkie, half schnauzer that he fawned over.  He did everything he could being the health guru that he is, gave her the best life possible. Every dog and even many humans should be so lucky to be cared for like that.  She will be greatly missed.

Normally we are pretty well adjusted, capable, happy, positive & upbeat people in everyday life. But when everything hits you all at once and people you are close to are experiencing losses and breakups it’s harder to put on a happy face.

We know it’s normal to have bad days and we have many good and bad days throughout our lives but man oh man, how many bad days are considered the norm?

My brother phoned me yesterday in tears to say he didn’t know how to say goodbye to Kira, that it was so difficult but he didn’t want to be selfish and keep her around just for him.  He saw that she was uncomfortable and he hadn’t slept in several days.  But then he said sorry to me for crying. Imagine apologizing for feeling sad about losing a family member? It was nothing to be sorry about, sometimes you just have to let go.

But it is funny (or strange rather) that we put pressure on ourselves not to show our true feelings. We don’t want to appear weak and helpless. It’s “the mask” we put on in public to save face and honestly I think we have to watch who we choose to open up to.  The thing is feeling comfortable enough to know who to share those feelings with. Sometimes people you were really close to suddenly don’t have the time of day for you. It makes you wary. It’s disappointing and hurts but moving right along…

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.

Brad & Kira
Brad & Kira

My friend sent me a link to a meditation instructor’s blog by the name of Wendy Quan.  She posted the following on “permission to be sad”:

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. 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.

Thank you Wendy.



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