COLUMN : the importance of sadness

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in my last column, i wrote about david using champagne, music and soba noodles to celebrate me out of a melancholic state of mind.

i want to rewind a little. i want to talk about what that kind of temporary sadness means to me.

i’m usually a happy person. i’m quite positive and most days are sunny. but once in a while i will have one of those blue days. where i lose faith. where i feel like everything’s hopeless. like i want to give up.
and no matter how much david is trying to cheer me up, i will try my best to in my turn convince him that everything’s useless and difficult.

and then he succeeds. i never stay blue for that long. and i’m happy again, feeling like anything’s possible and the world is its usual sunny self.
it’s easy to write the melancholia off as something unnecessary that we should just ignore and cheer up from. the quicker the better. that feeling down is a failure. but actually, i’m writing this in defence of melancholia.

i’m not saying that sadness is good. but i’m not saying that it’s bad either. what i am saying, is that sadness is important.

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everytime i have one of my down days, i feel much better the day after. much better, in fact, than i did the day before the melancholia even set in.
i feel revived, motivated, in love.

why is that ? here’s my theory.
when i’m having a sad day, i question everything. am i on the right path ? do i really love my job ? is it possible to live like this ? shouldn’t i just give up ? wouldn’t it be easier if ?
and i rack my brain for escape routes. would i be more happy with these other life choices ? what if i stop doing this and start doing that ? is there a better way to reach my goals ?

my whole being is telling me to get out. to start new, or give up.

and then an hour goes by. the edge off the sadness is gone. i’m slowly picking myself up again, almost always with the help of david or a friend. i listen to their calming words and stop repeating my rant of doom. and i’m back in business.

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why do these mood dips make me happier in the long run ? because they make me look at all the choices i make and question them. am i moving in the right direction or not ? and if i come out of the sadness still feeling like i’m on the right path, then i know it’s true. because if i pessimistically question everything and i still can’t think of anything i rather do, i know i’m living a life i’ve chosen – come good days and bad.

sadness is an incredibly powerful tool to figure out what it is that we want. we should use it wisely.

love // jenny

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other columns you might like :
city vs nature
eating like a minimalist
to make work seem like play

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3 Comments

  1. I’m with you on this one. I’m all for positive thinking, but that does *not* mean ignoring that there is a flip side of the coin as well. Sadness, anger, frustration aren’t “bad” unless I hold on to them for longer than necessary. But usually, when I allow myself to feel them, they pass fairly quickly; it’s one of those little ironies of life.

  2. Exactly Jenny :) sadness is important but as Sibylle, said, holding on to negative emotions longer than is “necessary” is not healthy. I always find that if I imagine myself in another part of the planet where life can be extreme for all things, I realize how lucky/blessed I am to be living where I am. No war, good job, good food/friends/family….Being sad passes pretty soon and I realize how petty and selfish I’ve been over nothing really. Glad you’re back to your “old self”!!

  3. Feeling our feelings is very healthy. As a kid I used to watch the clouds passing by and changing shapes, now I do that with my feelings. This post reminded me the recent cartoon movie Inside Out, you might enjoy it.

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