Sadness is undesirable, but not unnecessary

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Sadness is an undesirable emotion, yet necessary. No one wakes up in the morning and wants to be sad, it’s most often out of our control and while some people try to run away from it, maybe the best remedy is to accept it.

We’re in an age of destigmatization; mental health is being openly talked about and becoming more accepted into our everyday life as a priority. However, emotional intelligence — the ability to understand and properly manage one’s emotions — is still only a starting point for a lot of people.

Luckily, this is a skill that can be learned. Accepting one’s emotions is one step closer to understanding them. This includes knowing the importance of balancing one’s emotions. It might be a cliché but it’s a cliché for a reason, we need to go through sad times to truly appreciate the good times. We can’t be happy or sad all the time, both extremes can lead to serious problems.

Japanese author Haruki Murakami has a quote that speaks to the importance of going through these tough times in his novel Kafka on the Shore. He says, “and once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.”

This quote also reinforces the value of sadness, as it demonstrates how sadness provides life lessons that help us grow as people. Changing one’s perspective and seeing sadness as a good thing or a learning tool can be beneficial. Something that can help increase one’s awareness is the practice of mindfulness, as it can help one focus on specific emotions, and take advantage of them. Being more present and slowing things down can help examine things about oneself that could have easily been missed.

German poet Charles Bukowski offers a darker example of the need of going through tough times in order to appreciate the good ones. He says, “you have to die a few times before you can really live”.  While harsh, magnified, and straight to the point, it’s a quote that gives a perspective and appreciation to emotions well understood.

As the last example, Milky Chance, a German indie-alternative rock band, follows suit with the message of the necessity of sadness as an emotion, quite clearly as their debut album is titled Sadnecessary, a combination of the word “sadness” and “necessary”. While the album is slumber and quite relaxing, it does have songs with feel-good lyrics, such as “Sweet Sun”, and “Flashed Junk Mind”.

The takeaway?

It may not be easy but accepting one’s emotions can lead to a better understanding of them which leads to a clearer mind. Keep in mind balancing is key and that emotions are normal, we’re only human. You don’t have to do this alone and, if need be, reach out for professional help.

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