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Why Being Sad Helps Us Remember the Good Things

Why Being Sad Helps Us Remember the Good Things

Let’s admit it: no one likes to be sad. Preferably, I would assume that we would all like to be happy. Sometimes, my insight on life comes from the strangest of places and although the lesson was something not new to me, I needed it to be explained in a more child-like manner to get to this point.

Okay, I’ll be honest. I needed it in a cartoon — because all of life’s best lessons come from something animated with voice overs, right? If you check every animated film ever made, you will always find some hint of turmoil: someone dies, there’s an emotional struggle of some kind, or maybe even a sense of being lost. It happens in all of them.

Sadness comes to us all

Being sad doesn’t just happen in cartoons; it happens in real life. People I know have experienced medical issues so scary that it is literally a parent’s worst nightmare. The battles fought and the dealing with the uncertainty of what happens next can tear at someone — even if they hide it well.

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The feeling of helplessness is downright unbearable. Although I have never personally experienced something as the extreme, having your child’s health be “hit or miss” will make you pay attention —that’s for sure. Been there; done that.

Friends have endured years of suffering due to addictions and/or one’s inability to handle life in the most normal of ways. Whether that battle was fought in the public eye or more privately, the sadness from those experiences now is imprinted on our memories, and we must fight to let go of them in order to find happiness once again.

When our memories are felt

Some of these moments come closer to the surface as we near dates that are understandably significant — whether it be an anniversary, birthday, etc. And when those moments come, we will undoubtedly feel that pain once again of not having that person here with us. But a date isn’t the only trigger for our sadness.

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Sometimes, it can be just hearing that person’s name. Or hearing a song on the radio. Or even just a simple word can do the trick and send you reeling back into a moment of sadness. It happens to all of us.

Even at funerals, we realize that the person we love is no longer there. But sometimes, the best stories are shared at funerals because we learn more about the person, and laugh right along with the shedding of our tears. Or perhaps when we send a son or daughter off to college. We knew this day would come, yet once it is directly in front of us, we are forced to feel the loss of having our child home for dinner, as we rush off to attend their activities, and keep a steady watch until late hours in the night. Been there; done that too.

But those moments of sadness, regardless of the reason, do something else.

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We remember

They make us reflect on why we are sad and force us to appreciate the good moments we no longer have in our lives. We begin to forget a little bit of the heartbreak that first brought us to this moment, but soon understand that without that moment, we would not have reminisced about the memories no one can ever take from us.

We do our best to recapture those wonderful times through pictures, videos and the retelling of events. Some of which get slightly distorted and embellished and even those moments become something worthwhile on their own merit. Although I am a few years behind on putting our family’s pictures together in albums, and we share a picture or two via Instagram or Snapchat, we in turn celebrate the experiences we would otherwise not have.

Instead of holding onto grief, we find joy in the simplest of highlights in our lives and soon cherish those as we move about through our days. Because we have suffered a loss and have found ourselves without someone, we have no choice but to gather the significant times and hold a little tighter to them. Sometimes, our sadness is meant to serve as a reminder, and through that sadness, we find a few smiles and memories hidden in the tears.

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In the end, we would rather have had those moments, no matter how short they lasted, than to have never had them at all. We realize that something lost becomes more valuable, and the only way to appreciate it, is to revisit it from time to time. Sadness does that.

Featured photo credit: Daria Nepriarhina via unsplash.com

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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