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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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