Today, I’m a hypocrite. I’m a hypocrite because I recently wrote an article on the power of optimism and am now going to tell you why I think being sad is okay.
We all want to see our friends and family happy. As a result, whenever they’re going through a tough time we immediately jump to their side spewing cliché advice and words of encouragement. We want them to know that everything will be okay, that when one door closes another door opens, and that they will come out of their situation better than ever. But the thing is, I think a lot of sad people already know. And yes, sometimes they need the reminder. In which case, please do carry on about how there are plenty of fish in the sea. However, other times, the best thing to do is to let them soak in their sadness for a little while.
Sometimes the best advice is no advice.
There’s this misconception that grief has a timer. You’re expected to be sad for a while but not too long or else it will be cause for worry. However, there are some things that take longer to get over. Even if it’s as trivial as getting a bad grade on a test and then sulking for two weeks. There could be a million reasons why that particular test upset you; maybe you studied for three weeks beforehand, maybe you have an academic scholarship and need to keep up your GPA, maybe all your friends did better than you. But more likely than not maybe you’re sad because failing sucks. So, who am I to say that two weeks is too long to be upset?
The fact of the matter is that nobody knows how deeply a situation can affect someone else. I once cried because I dropped a pancake on the floor. I clearly have no authority over anything. And neither does anyone else.
My favorite Bukowski poem is “well, that’s just the way it is…” and it goes as follows:
Sometimes when everything seems at
when all conspires
and the hours, days, weeks
stretched there upon my bed
in the dark
looking upward at the ceiling
I get what many will consider an
it’s still nice to be
When I first read this, I was in quite a crummy mood and I thought it was funny because it was true. I was sitting there being mad for whatever reason and it didn’t matter because I knew that I’d have to face it eventually and that it was okay because this was my life and it wasn’t half bad.
I think all sad people hit that wall eventually. Where they know they have to get up and go on living. Where the clichés finally start making sense and they pick themselves up. Rather than being a bleak thought I find it to be comforting because well, that’s just the way it is. And while it’s nice to have people cheering you on from the sidelines when the situation happens, I think it’s even more comforting to have someone who sympathizes and agrees that it’s bad. Because while we’ll get up eventually, it’s still nice to have someone there during the fall.