An open letter to anyone who tells me not to be sad:
first of all, thank you. most people who say this have a positive intention. they don’t like to see loved ones in pain and their words are meant to be comforting. i know the feeling all too well.
but what i really want you to know, is that sometimes the best thing you can do to help me is give me space to be sad. more often than not, i am not only squashing my own inclination to feel my sadness, but also from sharing with you that i’m feeling this way.
therefore, when i finally give myself permission to do either, i am actually taking a great leap into vulnerability, into exposing a raw nerve that offers up a chance for more hurt. it takes a lot for me to get to this place with you, and i’m sure you can see why.
so when you tell me not to be sad, deep down i know you mean well. but in the moment, what i’m really hearing is this: you’re not allowed to be sad. be strong. only show your happiness. i can’t handle your emotions, this isn’t the time. i’m uncomfortable.
and so i shut down. i wipe away my tears and as quickly as i showed my feelings, i hide them. they are tucked away with the stresses of the day, the pangs of grief, the mines of loneliness, and even lost beautiful memories. they pile up and pile up.
one day it will all crash down, because you can only “not be sad” for so long.
personally, i’d rather feel a little or a lot sad here and there rather than have it hit me all at once. and so, my friend, when i’m sad, i ask you to just sit with me. sometimes your company and silent empathy means more to me than the “perfect words” or advice. i promise that if i just sit in these feelings instead of running from them, i will feel better much more quickly.