Own Your Sadness Too

 

“Don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that it happened. Every day is a new beginning.  Cheer up, Keep smiling, Be your own sunshine. “

We have definitely heard some or the other versions of these lines during our tough times.

Which is why,

I am here to tell you why that is all rubbish.

I used to be a very difficult child. I cried, everywhere. In the streets, in movie theatres, at parties, at restaurants. You name it. I have cried there. 

Oh, how things have changed. But the common theme across all these events is this line “Chup. Runu hunna”. “Hush, don’t cry”

Just last month, when my grandfather passed away suddenly, all of my relatives had circled my grandmother. 

Who understandably was crying uncontrollably and each and every relative was just set on telling her to stop crying. “It’s okay, he’s in a better place now”, they said. And all I could think was, this isn’t about him.

They were together for Fifty-Six years. Fifty-six years of memories before he’s lying motionless in front of her. 

I say let her cry her heart out. Let her feel sad. Hold her when she cries but let her mourn to her heart’s content. 

We humans, we obviously prefer happiness, of course, we do. It’s joyous, it’s fun to be around. But sadness. No, that’s private.

Something that’s between you and your pillow at night. We don’t know how to deal with other people’s sadness, because that is how we’ve always dealt with ours.

We tuck it away, we look away when our eyes get teary, we hide behind “It’s fine” Because that is what we are constantly told to do. 

Smile. Be grateful. Live every day like it’s your last.

But you know what? We don’t have to. We can celebrate our sadness too. 

Life is so overwhelming. There is just constantly something or the other that demands your attention. 

Maybe your work is going great but then your family responsibilities are tiring you out. Maybe they’re both demanding and you can’t remember the last time you did something that just for yourself. 

I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve seen my mother trying to balance her home life and her work life. And mind you, she is the most capable woman I know. 

She’s helping manage an entire business and coming home and also delivering on every level as a daughter-in-law. 

But even on her worst days, she puts on what we like to call “a brave face”. 

This term is so popularized, isn’t it? Oh, what a brave woman, even going through all her suffering she didn’t shed a tear.

Who decided that how brave a person is should be based on how many things they can keep pent up inside them? 

It just seems very convenient to decide just because her sadness isn’t visible, she is brave and not in need of support. 

Besides, Isn’t bravery about confronting your feelings and not just hiding from them? 

Especially to all the parents here today, your strength is not when you manage to hide your feelings from your children, it’s about talking to the people you care about.

Because the more you push and push and stuff these feelings inside of you. 

The pressure grows and before you know it it will explode the wrong way, to the wrong person and they won’t understand what has happened. 

The world is lying to you. They keep telling you that if you aren’t happy at your job you should quit if your relationship doesn’t fulfill you in every way then it must not be right for you. 

This constant search to be happy always made me think there was something wrong with me. I would go through my social media and think, all these smiling faces then clearly I’m the dysfunctional one. 

When I was overwhelmed during my engineering days or finding myself highly depressed for weeks, all I could think was, what am I doing wrong? 

It took me so long. Too long. To learn that it was okay to allow myself to be sad. 

That only when I talked about it, I shared it and most of all admitted it that I was sad, was I able to understand where it was coming from. Your root cause is lost somewhere and the only way is through. 

People are so afraid of looking sad-looking weak and we are passing this on to not just our children but everyone around us. 

We are no better than the others. For every tear you’ve repressed, every smile you’ve faked, you’ve taught somebody around you that that is what being brave looks like. 

I refuse to believe that I am the only victim of this. So today, while I have this stage, I want to encourage you to talk about things people aren’t comfortable with, develop a better coping mechanism than avoidance. 

I’d like to say, Be sad that it’s over, you are allowed. 

Every day does not have to be a new beginning, some days you feel like everything is crashing and that is completely okay.

Don’t cheer up. Don’t keep smiling. Own your sadness. Curl up and cry it out. 

You are under no obligation to live every day like it’s your last. Turn that smile, upside down.

 

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