A friend of mine just lost her father to cancer and it inspired me to write my first blog post for this page. In some ways it seems odd to start a blog about happiness by writing about sadness, right? But it’s actually the perfect place to start.
It’s where we all start isn’t it? A baby learns to cry a long time before it learns to laugh.
And the two are so intertwined. The sadness we feel with loss – whether it’s the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or something as small as a broken object we have some sentimental attachment to – is relative to the happiness that thing brought us. When someone dies the grief is mixed with happy memories. After all, we would not grieve someone whom we did not share happy memories with would we? That is where we feel the loss, it’s the knowledge that we cannot create any more of those happy memories with that person.
Those happy memories sustain us through our grief and help us work through it. But we do need to work through it like we do any negative feelings to bring us to a more positive state of mind. Happiness is not a blanket you can throw over yourself to cover up sadness. Until you reconcile those negative feelings – be they grief, sadness, anger, hatred, fear or jealousy – you will never find a true peace.
Feeling is so important. Burying your feelings is not productive and they will never go away if you try to ladle happiness on top of them. It’s like trying to paint watercolour over ink, the black will always seep through. And sometimes those negative feelings shouldn’t be totally erased. Anger, jealousy, hatred – these sorts of emotions are always going to be detrimental. But do we really want to completely dispose of grief? We will always miss a loved one.
Acceptance is the path with grief. And feeling that sadness, feeling it profoundly and allowing ourselves to cry when we need to. It takes time. Eventually we need to come to a “live in the moment” frame of mind. The person has gone. This is a fact we cannot change and we cannot live in a past where they were still with us. Their absence leave a scar like a lost branch of a tree but the tree still grows.
And when we come to a point of reconciliation we can grow and move forward with a more open, heartfelt and positive frame of mind.