Colored Blue this Valentine’s Day Season: What to do with Sadness?
This Valentine’s Day season is turning out to be a tough one for many of my readers. Letters are steadily trickling in, speaking of break-ups, heart-ache, sadness, and overwhelm. Everyone is looking for reprieve – to break free of the pain, to feel their smile, at the very least, to hold onto hope.
I offer up ‘tips’ to some readers, suggestions on how to cope through this season. Like how they can try distracting themselves by organizing time with girlfriends; or focusing their love and attention on “other” important relationships like family, friends and kids to create new meaning and rituals around this season; or how they might find someone who’s in a similar or worst state than they’re in and give of themselves to him/her in some way (the act of giving usually lifts our spirits)…
But sometimes, these kinds of tips just aren’t enough. Let’s face it: a “trip to the spa” or “sharing chocolate with girlfriends” can sound cliche and well… dumb. Such tips, though well-intentioned, simply fall short.
So today, I want to remind you all that it’ OK to succumb to the sadness for awhile, as long as it doesn’t endanger you, or cause you to want to hurt yourself, of course.
We run away from sadness in our culture. It’s viewed with mistrust, fear, and when we see it in someone else, we automatically try to bring them out of it.
But sadness isn’t a disease. It’s healthy and normal; mourning is healthy and normal. The sadness shows that you cared and loved; that that beautiful heart of yours dared to open and give and live and dream. More importantly, it still wants to – it wants that feeling and doesn’t understand what the hell is going on. You are flesh and blood, caring, giving, loving woman – and you have lost, or are missing, someone to share with. Your capacity to love and dream of love are now matched in size by grief…the paradox shouldn’t surprise us, yet it painfully does.
So I’m telling you with great compassion, that truly, it’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to sit and dwell in the sadness as well. My only caveat is that you are mindful to put a time limit on it. Allow your brain to have a say in the grief process too. This means promising yourself that you’ll go to work and attend the meetings and social events you committed to, but that you’ll also give yourself permission to fully nurture the sadness at set and suitable times. If you need to watch sappy movies, go through old photo albums and letters and cry till your eyes are like tomatoes, then go for it – let the waves come and surrender. No one’s watching or judging you. Purge yourself and let it out.
But promise yourself that after that set amount time elapses, you’re going to get back to this called living. Even if you have to rinse and repeat this cycle numerous times, your heart will gradually begin to lighten again. But until that happens, it’s up to your brain to continuously remind you to have hope; for at this time NEXT YEAR your life is going to be clearer and better. It just will. You may have no clue of the “how”. You may not even care about the “how”. It just will. But by then, the hope will co-exist in your heart again too – a heart that right now, needs nothing more than to grieve.