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Why Being Sad Helps Us Remember the Good Things

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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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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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