After a night of insomnia, I decided around 8 am that sleeping was out of the picture. After all, I’d slept so much during the past few days because of a nasty cold that I guess I just used up all of my free sleeping hours. I got up, put on some make-up not to scare people and walked downtown to my favorite café. Since it was only 10 am, I was the only customer, so my coffee arrived pretty quickly. I sat there for over an hour, drinking my Americano, smoking my cigarettes (don’t smoke kids – it’s bad) and listening to their sad “indie autumn playlist” whilst observing the dismal rainy weather. I felt so peaceful that I honestly did not want to leave – even the lack of sleep and nasty-cold-feeling didn’t bother me. It was at that point that I came to a realization – sadness is, indeed, a blessing.
In that moment I was not conventionally happy; in fact, the music was causing my thoughts to spiral downwards into every single negative thing that happened to me over the past two-and-a-half years. From personal problems, to a chain of annoying, tiring health problems, to just downright periods of depression and anxiety, my life has been a bit of a shitshow since I turned 19 (I’m 21 now). Yet for once I did not feel that nasty, tired feeling. I felt good on the inside, like I was finally coming to terms with everything.
We live in a society where sadness is viewed as something negative; a sign of weakness, almost a sin. We are pressured into fighting our problems, getting over them as quickly as possible and returning back to that wonderful state of happiness and motivation. Today I truly felt that sadness can also be a wonderful feeling, and that it can be embraced instead of pushed back into the dark corners of our mind. It confuses me that we, as a society, aspire to achieve this robotic type of mentality, where only happiness and strength are acceptable.
From a psychological point of view, this also makes sense. If we keep trying to artificially alter our current state, this puts stress on our mind and body alike. Instead of fighting a problem, why not sit down and allow ourselves to truly feel it in all its negativity and discomfort. I feel like this is a much more effective way of dealing with an issue rather than acting as though you are on a battlefield, winning a war that doesn’t even exist. Until you truly understand why something happened and what you can learn from it, no amount of forced positivity is going to get you anywhere.
Sadness is also an excellent way to bond with others. I’ve had the chance to bond with so many people during these past couple of years than I’ve ever had in the previous nineteen. Happiness, as fantastic as it is, is a rather basic feeling; you don’t tend to have deep conversations when you are happy, and you are not really in the mood to listen to other people’s problems. But sadness is different; it’s a much deeper, tranquil feeling and opens you up to many new thoughts and ideas.
And finally, embracing sadness is also an excellent way of accepting your current circumstances, whatever they may be. Of course things are going to get better, whatever is going on now (and however long it has lasted). And today I understood that the only way things are going to get better is if I accept my current circumstances and truly embrace everything that I have learnt. As humans, we tend to feel hopeless and desperate when we are experiencing discomfort (both mental and physical), but that is because we have been conditioned to do so. There is no reason why we should ignore pain or try to make it instantly go away, not when it is a part of life.
After sitting in the café for over an hour, sleep deprived and all in my thoughts, I got up to leave feeling a completely different person. I have no idea why my brain took me to this strange place, but it was definitely worth it.