"The more OK you are with being sad, the less sad you’ll be."
No we don’t do that, we say “cheese” and smile for the camera. Or even if you don’t smile, you at least have to mug it up with a duck face or a bear smirk.
When was the last time you saw someone walking down the street crying?
If you did you probably thought they were a lunatic. And the last time you felt like crying in public you probably ran home so you could do it in private, like a “normal” person.
Our society is ashamed of sadness, sadly.
When at our saddest, we’ve been trained to hide it. At home we go to our room. At a funeral we put on sunglasses. At work or school we stake out a claim in a bathroom stall.
Heaven forbid if you do cry or become emotional in public — everyone will think you need mental assistance.
Western society demands we show control, at least in public. We have to be perky, on it, clever, and together, even when in reality we’re feeling like shit. And when you feel like shit, you act like a shit, and everyone around you starts to think you’re a shitty person.
But I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s OK to be sad.
It’s OK to be bummed about your life and its direction.
It’s OK to feel heartbroken when a relationship doesn’t work out.
It’s OK to end up depressed at the state of our political discourse.
It’s OK to get pissed at a friend who let you down.
It’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to cry.
It’s real. You don’t have to hide it.
The more we as a society learn to accept our emotions, all of them, as valid and true, the better we’ll get at handling them when they inevitably arise.
I’m not saying that the next time you feel like crying you should walk out to the middle of a busy intersection and sob in front of all humanity, children included. But if you did happen to start crying there, so what. It’s how you’re feeling, and plus those kids cry all the time without remorse. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from kids.
The best to handle your emotions is to accept them, not fight them. So get OK with being sad. The more OK you are with being sad, the less sad you’ll be.