For crying out loud, why is being sad considered a weakness by our society? No pun intended.
It’s part of the human experience to be sad. Although I wish I could say that everyday were a good (or at least decent) body image day, I know that this hope is irrational because I’m human. A few weeks ago I had an especially hard day, a day in which looking at my reflection in the mirror made me feel repulsed and disgusted. It was a day where all I wanted to do was sleep the day away and wake up without a bloated stomach and greasy hair. But life goes on, even when we aren’t feeling up to its daily challenges.
I’m not going to lie to you and say I refused to let the negative thoughts overwhelm me. Instead I wallowed in my sorrows and gave myself the chance to cry, something I have not done in a long time. I then narrated my own depressing sob story in my head until I fell asleep. To be honest, I don’t regret any of it one bit. When I’m feeling sad, I have every right to feel sad, just as when I feel confident, I have every right to roam the streets of Bowling Green like I just won America’s Next Top Model.
We are allowed to feel what we feel. I wholeheartedly believe that when we are able to connect with our emotions, we are able to grasp what is truly behind them. Because as we all know, it’s not the fact that we have a sink full of dishes to do that causes us to have a mental breakdown. It’s the sleep deprivation, and the fight you had with your bestie, and your disappointment about your celibacy, heck it could be anything and everything besides the actual plates and silverware!
Emotions are easy to mask and set aside in the short term, but when we fail to acknowledge the sadness and anger that is on the forefront, we are only making it harder for ourselves in the future. It’s as if we are tip-toeing around the sleeping giant, painstakingly putting one foot in front of the other, trying not to make a sound. We all know that the squeaky floorboards will eventually wake the beast and bestow his doom upon us.
I’m no expert in the field of psychology, however, I do have experience with the realm of self help. These are some strategies that have worked for me to overcome the hard days, but take every piece of advice with a grain of salt, as all of us are different and have different emotional reactions.
1. Find the silver lining.
No matter how small, there is always a silver lining. It can be as little as finding a penny head-side up on the street or enjoying a bowl of ice cream whilst chilling in your bed. No judgement there. Seek out the positive because it may just be hiding behind the dark clouds of your mind.
2. Remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day.
Each night around the dinner table, my dad asks each member of my family to recount the best part about their day. There have been countless days where the highlight of my day was that it was almost over, with the thought of tomorrow offering another chance to start over. It sounds depressing, but whatever keeps you going through the difficult moments of life is worth spending your mental energy.
3. Cry it out.
You’re not a coward if you let your tears loose. In fact, I’d like to think that those you allow themselves to cry in the midst of their struggles are the most courageous. Crying relinquishes our innermost worries and grudges; when I let myself have a good cry, I feel refreshed and free from the chains of my problems. A good sob session allows me to move on, and to my own surprise, afterwards I don’t feel even a quarter of the tension I felt before I let my tears fall. Listen to some sad music while you’re at it, research is on my side on this one!
So when you’re sad, be sad. But more importantly be kind to yourself and respect your emotions. They truly speak wonders to our current situation and disposition. Without your emotions you’re a mere robot, and robots are lame. Stay human. Stay emotional. Stay you.
Photography credits go to the wonderful Lylah Wolff.