After receiving different responses from my previous post, I decided to deviate and focus specifically on one aspect we already forgot: the importance of sadness.
Sadness and depression are two different things, according to search results. They tell us that sadness points to a specific object, while depression strikes anywhere.
A month ago, I watched Disney’s 2015 movie, Inside Out, for the first time. I really appreciated the film from start to finish, and it has become my new favorite.
In the movie, there are five behavior characters inside the mind of a girl named Riley. They are Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness. They do everything to keep Riley happy and balanced.
I became a fan of one character, and it’s not Joy, but it’s Sadness.
I like Joy. Who doesn’t? Without her, the other emotions won’t have a leader. However, sometimes, leaders take too much roles and override others. In this case, Joy was always assertive and Sadness wasn’t able to do her job.
The ending really struck me because Sadness saved the day. Uhm, it seems odd to hear but Sadness kept the family together.
This movie has inspired me so much, and here are my realizations of the importance of sadness:
Sadness, when suppressed, causes depression and becomes madness.
In my healing journey, I realized that I was detached from my emotions. I always suppressed my feelings of sadness because I thought it as weakness.
I first ignored the importance of sadness when my grandfather died last July 2015. It was a Thursday afternoon when I learned the news. I took a day-off on Friday to assist my family until the interment on Sunday.
However, I had a line-up of tasks for the following week. Because I thought I already grieved during the weekend, I immediately went back to work on Monday.
How wrong I was.
There were episodes where I cried but I commanded myself to be strong and move on. I never knew it would have an effect on me.
Last March 2016, a few days after my birthday, I received news in a single day about the death of two persons I know. One of them was my college classmate and I can’t explain my emotions.
Towards the end of that month, my series of anxiety attacks started because of a specific trigger. I can’t contain my emotions and cried almost all day. I can’t even work well, even if I wanted to deliver results.
I hated myself for being sad and depressed during that time. Work, which should be normal for me, also became a trigger. I was in a fight-or-flight situation, and eventually, I decided to leave my job.
Sadness made me stop, reflect in life, and appreciate joy.
When I left my job, my feelings of depression and sadness slowly faded away. I was sad because I had to leave, but the decision I made gave me relief. This was the first time after two years I experienced rest from the stresses and pressures of work.
Whenever I feel sadness, I use those times to reflect and count my blessings. I started to appreciate the small things I had in life.
Sadness made me care more for others.
After my hiatus from work, I was still detached from my emotions. I thought I can get back to my positive self and eliminate all the drama. However, I still haven’t learned how to empathize with others until I joined the Flagship Program of Living Waters Philippines.
A few weeks ago, I learned the news that my friend’s mom passed away. I wasn’t close to her mom, but I suddenly cried. At first, I can’t understand why I burst out, but I realized that my sadness enabled me to deeply empathize with her and her family.
What if I didn’t feel sad? Maybe I would stop praying for her or sending her encouragement and support. One importance of sadness is that whenever we feel what others feel, we can demonstrate our care more sincerely.
Sadness drew me closer to God.
When I was in my lowest times, I had no other choice but to accept my current situation. When I feel so weak, all I can do is to hold on to someone stronger than me. For most of us, they could be our family and friends, although they couldn’t be with us all the time.
But God is always with us. Whenever I sulk in sadness, I always cry out to Him for mercy, comfort, strength, and redemption. I may not see visible results and experience instant happiness, but I believe He’s doing something beyond my control.
Sadness exposed my need for a caring and loving family and community.
Sadness has multiple effects that I can’t control. Whenever I feel sad, I feel alone and lonely. As a result, I look for varied ways that give me comfort, such as eating, sleeping, and doing exercise. However, the relief doesn’t last and I still feel lonely.
I observed that when we’re too happy and excited, all we care about is the soothing effect of happiness and how to maintain it.
But whenever I’m with my family and friends and share with them the sadness I feel, I just realize that I need them more. On the other side, I also began to understand what other lonely people feel, and this makes me want to comfort and help them.
Sadness helped me realize that my mistakes are stepping stones to rise up and move on.
Another importance of sadness is that when it brings us to a lower point of our lives, we begin to assess ourselves and our actions. We always wonder why we have to go through this.
We realize our mistakes. In my case, I learned that I’m not perfect and I can’t please everybody. I need to continue with life, even if other people won’t accept me.
Of all the surprising discoveries I made, it is that sadness made me hope again. And once we have real hope that comes from God, we can experience power to turn things around and begin to rise up and move on.
Sadness pushed me to search for answers.
When I was experiencing anxiety attacks, I never stopped asking why. Why am I experiencing this? Why did God allow this to happen? Why am I too weak to face my giants?
However, I didn’t find the answers I expected. Instead, I found out that I need to hold on to the One who has all the answers while I uncover the reasons.
At present, there are times I still feel sad for unexplainable reasons, but I won’t exchange the importance of sadness for superficial solutions.
Sadness can initiate compassion for the abused and a hunger for justice.
We live in a world where a lot of injustices happen. Of course, we can’t put the law into our hands and give punishment to those who we think are deserving.
But we can support the victims of injustices. The first step is to empathize with them. We can’t tell them easily to cheer up and move on because that’s just too insensitive. What we can do is to listen deeply not only with our ears, but with our eyes and hearts, as they tell their stories.
Importance of Sadness: Mountains, Valleys and Different Seasons
I don’t want to sound like I’m giving unsolicited advice, but here it goes anyway.
It’s okay to be sad because we have different seasons in life. Just as we have highs, we can have lows. We can’t go from one mountain peak to another without passing through the valleys of life.
But we can’t stay sad all the time. Sadness is just a springboard towards finding Joy, just as how Inside Out ended.
However, we are sure that deep down our sadness, we can still experience hope. The lasting importance of sadness shows us that everything here on earth is just temporary, and life with God is eternal.
Sadness can ultimately bring gladness, but I won’t exchange temporary happiness for permanent joy.
Yawns… I feel tired and too sad to write.