What would the world look like if each of us admitted the truth that deep down we’re all a little sad? Would confessing that at our very core things just aren’t right help us make our lives better?
I’ve been wondering such heavy things (in some form) for a long time now, probably since the third or fourth grade. It amazes me how stuff that happened to me years ago manages to re-surface today, buoyant emotional debris clogging up my thought-streams.
But I often keep hidden my sadness about unfortunate moments I’ve had to endure. Repression provided strong shelter during difficult times, but it prevented me from venturing back outside once the storms had passed.
Today I realize that sadness is an important part of my experience. It allows me to mourn for what and whom I’ve lost. Sadness reminds me I’m human and that everyone I encounter is suffering too.
If anything, when I’m sad I’m more aware of how I don’t want others to hurt. Compassion stems from the realization that none of us is immune from pain and hardship. In helping others acknowledge that life is often tragic and disheartening, I hope that the small circle of people I know can stray from the “I’m doing fine” act and feel less alone.
And in feeling less alone, perhaps we’ll all self-medicate less, and avoid trying to compensate for our sadness in ways that simply increase our pain and make everyone around us miserable.