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It's Okay to Be Sad

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 9:01am | by Helen Hoart

In our happy-face culture, we rarely hear people express they are sad.  But that’s exactly what happened to me recently.  My Yoga instruction had her two dogs die in a horrible accident.  It happened on a Sunday night.  She canceled her Monday classes.  In her email to her students, she told us her dogs had died and then said: “I’m too sad to teach today.” 

That simple phrase “I’m too sad …” touched me deeply and made me think how we so often don’t allow ourselves to be sad.  Instead we embrace the “stiff upper lip” philosophy, rather than recognize that some event has touched us and made us sad.  Burying sadness, ignoring sadness is not good for us. If we do that repeatedly many of us will end up suffering in other ways—chronic back pain, headaches, stomach problems. 

I remember when my best friend died, I was so involved in a series of family issues that I never had time to reflect on her death.  I never had time to experience the sadness of the loss of my very best friend.  As I reflect on that event I was trying to be strong for other family members (she was godmother to my children and they loved her dearly). So I practiced that old stiff upper lip.  Today, though, I would have sat down with my family and shared my sadness with them.  

It may take courage to tell people you are sad.  Some people may be uncomfortable hearing you express your emotions so openly.  I’m certainly not suggesting that when the cashier in the store asks: “How are you?” you tell them you’re sad. But you can, and should, share your feelings with close friends and family members.

It’s important for the children in our lives to know it’s okay to be sad too.  And to understand there are outlets for expressing and sharing sadness.  Being sad is a part of life. 

A side note here: I am clearly differentiating between sadness and depression.  Depression is a disease and anyone suffering from it needs professional help. 

So when you’re sad don’t try to bury it.  Acknowledge the feeling and understand where it’s coming from.  We have a right to feel sad when sad things happen to us

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