“We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the clouds. But I believe there is real value in just standing there, being still, being sad.”
― John Green
Let me first say this: I've struggled with depression on and off throughout most of my life. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Depression is a whole other realm of feeling, and cannot and should not be brushed under the rug. There is quite a difference between sadness and depression, though. And sadness? Sadness can be a good thing.
Sadness is real. We'd be robots with only one emotion. I try to be honest on this blog, and honesty means showing all sides. We all get sad about things. Whether it's something small and disappointing, to something big like a loved one passing away, it's normal to be upset. The process of working through sadness builds our character, I think. We experience, we learn, and we grow. It also makes us think more clearly sometimes; I thought this article explained it well. How can we appreciate happiness if we have nothing else to compare it with?
I usually write the most when I'm sad. As you all know, I've blogged through quite a bit of it. I don't know why it makes the words flow, but I'm able to write the best when I'm a little down. It's not that I just write sad things when I feel that way; I think it makes me see another angle of life, and I refuse to believe I'm less pretty when I allow myself to feel. I tire of hearing pure optimism as being some sort of gold standard we should all aim for, because letting yourself be still and just be sad for a little while has value. It can be a resting place. Letting some tears fall when your heart hurts is often the best way to mend it.
I don't ever want to teach Millie that happy = pretty, and therefore sadness = unattractive or wrong. I want her to understand that it's okay to have emotion, and that she's beautiful whether she's happy, sad, frustrated, confused, and everything else. Plastering a smile on her face would never make her a prettier girl to me. But empathy and understanding would make her even more gorgeous.
Of course I hope she has a happy life full of good things. I also hope, however, that she doesn't fight sadness when it's the right time to be sad. And when she is, whether it's unrequited love for a boy at school, or an imperfect piano performance, or the disappointment of a friend moving away, I never want to scold her into cheerfulness or pretend it isn't a sad thing.
Instead, I want to take her into my arms, stroke her hair, and simply say, "It's okay. I know. I've been there, too."