Girl in sea it's okay to be sad

It’s Okay To Be Sad

It’s that time of year. There’s Christmas tunes blaring from every shop, café and establishment you walk past; there’s beautiful lights and decorations everywhere you go; it’s a time of gratitude and happiness, where everyone is jolly and festive, and yet you feel… sad?

Maybe you actually feel like this quite often, but at this time of year it feels particularly hard. Comments like “Cheer up mate, it’s Christmas!” are thrown at you, and you start to think there must be something wrong with you because you seem to be the only one not running around in a Santa hat spreading love and joy and mistletoe.

Well, there isn’t. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. The way you feel is normal and natural, and not just at Christmas.

You think you’re alone

When we are sad, we often try and deal with things by ourselves, and I think this happens for several reasons. First of all, we don’t want to admit and confront whatever is the cause of our sadness. Secondly, we don’t want to open up to other people and expose what we think is a ‘vulnerability’ or a ‘weakness’. Thirdly, we appreciate that other people have their own problems to worry about and we don’t want to burden them with ours. And lastly, we don’t want to be the ‘downer’, the only one who isn’t in the Ho-Ho-Ho spirit.

But you’re never the only one. No matter what it is, there is always someone feeling the same way that you are, going through your same struggle. There is always somebody who gets it. You are not alone. You are never alone. Open your mouth, talk with people and you will see that, surprise surprise, you’re not the only one who gets sad. So why do we find it so difficult to open up?

We avoid being sad

Sadness is one of the unpleasant emotions, just like anger, fear and disgust, and so, naturally, we try to avoid it. We remove or distance ourselves from situations, people and environments that trigger these responses. But we cannot avoid our emotions forever. We can never have full control over what we feel.

What we do have control over is how we deal with these emotions. When we’re angry, we shout, we yell, we scream. When we are frightened, we seek refuge, we turn the lights on, we cry for help. When we’re happy, we laugh, we smile. So why, when we are sad, do we not let it out?

Because it feels like surrendering, and that makes us feel weak. For a lot of us, (and boys, I’m looking at you in particular) we’ve spent our lives being told that we’re not supposed to be sad, our tears always met with somebody trying to make them stop. We’ve been told to be strong and resilient and tough, that ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘nobody likes a sad girl’.

Yet, the toughest people I know are the ones who are in sync with their emotions. Who throw their hands up in surrender when they feel down, who allow themselves to feel everything, because they appreciate the clarity this brings.

you must not hide it

What do you think happens to emotions we do not allow ourselves to feel? To conflicts we do not address? Do you think they just disappear? Evaporate? Burn out like flames?

Of course not.

Remember all those times you got in trouble at school because your friend made you laugh and you tried your hardest to hold the laughter in, but after a while you just couldn’t contain it, and it would come bursting out of you? This is exactly the same.

Any emotion that you try to suppress or ignore will not go away. Emotions stay in your sub-conscious, bubbling away, and not addressing them is toxic. Eventually they will come out, or they will manifest in other, more serious, mental and physical problems. It is of utmost importance that you face your emotions. All of them. The good, the bad and the ugly. Say to yourself ‘I am sad today’ and look after yourself accordingly. Don’t put on the top 100 happy songs playlist and try and fool your way out of it. Don’t put on the big brave face so that you don’t feel like you’re letting anyone down or whatever it is you think you are doing when you are sad. Nobody is judging you. You don’t slide down in anyone’s estimations because you open up and come for help. If anything, you become braver and tougher than they ever thought you were, because it takes more courage to open up and face your fears than it does to bury them deep.

So open up. Admit it to somebody, anybody, even if it’s just to yourself. Especially if it’s just to yourself.

Because it doesn’t matter who you share it with or how you do it. What matters is that you go there, that you take that journey. That you allow yourself to feel all of these things and you do not fear them.

Everybody gets sad

“Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, scared, even the people that seem to have it most together. They are much more like you than you believe.” – Anne Lamott

A lot of you seem to think that I have it together, that I’m strong and I know what to do. And I do, a lot of the time. I’ve been through some things in my life which showed me what is important and what isn’t, and so I don’t tend to stress about the little things.

But I do get sad. I get really sad. I have scars on my heart, I have people I miss. I have days when the world feels so heavy and no matter how long I breathe in and out, in and out, and smack my hands against the wall I cannot seem to shake it off. And so, I  stopped trying to. I accept it. I let it in. Sometimes I come home and I cry in the shower. Sometimes I phone my friends or my mum and I say ‘I need you, I don’t know what to do. Help me.’ Does this make me weak or sad or depressive? Does this take away from any of the strength or courage that courses around my body? Absolutely not, my loves. This makes me human.

Do Not Deny your sad

You must immerse yourself in your emotions. Let yourself go there. Do not be ashamed of sadness, of dark days. Embrace them.

If you wake up and feel sad, say it.

If you come home and you feel like bursting into tears, do it.

Even if you don’t know why. Even if you feel pathetic, weak, like you’ve got no reason to be crying. It does not matter. You never need a reason. Just soak it all up, and let it out. It’s terrifying and overwhelming, I know it is. Sadness is a dark storm cloud looming over you, that you fear might linger a little too long if you don’t run from it. But you must not run.

Because when it all feels too much, when it feels like it won’t ever stop, tell me this. Was there ever a storm that did not pass? Or rain that did not eventually give way to the sun?

Don’t you see?

It all ends. It all will pass. The clouds will always fade and the sun will always rise, bringing light back to your skies and fresh breath to your lungs. But first, you must allow the sadness to come.

First, you must let it rain.

All my love,




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