It’s Okay To Be Sad
Hello everyone. The past week hasn’t been the best for me. Last Friday I undertook my last shift for my current employer, and am now one of the UK’s many unregistered unemployed.
The role I had was a daycare support worker for adults with learning disabilities. It’s a job I’ve had for the last 6 years. Although it was a relatively small part time job, just one day a week, it played a huge part in my life. I’ve written before about my work and the people I work with. You can check out that post here.
As my last shift approached, I turned to my Twitter friends to give me a bit of support and cheer me up. During the course of one of our daily conversation however a very wise lady did something quite different. Sarah aka @muddlymum said to me :-
“Its okay to be sad”
It was such a simple thing to say. But it resonated deeply and stayed with me for long after the Twitter conversation ended. For most of the week I’d been putting pushing aside my sadness and instead focused on presenting a brave face and trying to be positive about things.
But why? This was a role that had bought me a great deal of happiness. It allowed me to develop friendships and gave me something I could be proud of. So it was perfectly natural to be sad about it ending. Yet it took someone else to say it was okay to be sad before I allowed myself to be .
Why are people so bad at being sad?
I’m not alone in not wanting to acknowledge my sadness. As a nation us Brits are notoriously bad at expressing any emotions, especially sadness. We like to keep a stiff upper lip or put on a brave face.
But the tendency to avoid admiting we’re sad is something that seems to have got worse in recent years. And I think the internet has played a big part in this. Emotions such as sadness have always been classified as negative. I used the term negative in regards to sadness myself in this post. However these days there is an underlying notion that being sad is wrong. People who admit they are sad are also admitting to being weak. They are admitting to having failed in the culturally approved search for happiness.
If people are sad the expectation is they should be trying to fix themselves. Hence social media bombards us with happy uplifting, positive, inspiring stories and posts. The undelying theme to these stories is in the face of adversary these individuals have managed to stay positive.
We’re encouraged to undertake practices that promote happiness. Such as surrounding ourselves with happy people, searching for the positives in every situation, going for a run or doing something nice for someone else. Each practice feeds into the view that people are able to make themselves happy, and therefore stop themselves being sad. Just being sad is no longer viewed as a vaible option. However this isn’t right.
Being sad is healthy
I will make clear now that I’m not talking about chronic sadness that is associated with depression. Sadness that has a clear cut cause for example break up of relationships, when a pet dies, or in my case the loss of a well loved job should be acknowledged.
At best the failure to express sadness can lead to the period of sadness being prolonged because it isn’t dealt with. At worse suppressing sadness can cause illness and even be life threatening. Research has shown that people who suppress negative emotions such as anger or sadness often have high levels of stress as measured by increased heart rate and blood pressure. This in turn can lead to the increased risk of death from certain forms of cancer and heart disease.
Recognising and expressing sadness allows people to develop strategies to deal with their sadness. This in turn reduces the chance of sadness developing into hidden stress.
So this is what I’m going to try to do more in the coming year. While I dont want to be someone who dwells on things, I am going to try make more of an effort to be honest to myself and others about how I’m feeling.
Do you find it difficult to express sadness? Do you think there is too much pressure ok people to be happy these days?
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Thank you, Mrs A Xx