When I received the latest email list entry from Danielle LaPorte on embracing sadness, I smiled. You see, I recently wrote a blog post about taking a happiness shot. Like I said then, I don’t believe we can be “happy” 24/7. Sad or happy, they’re flip sides of the same coin. I wouldn’t want a discussion about being happy to be a false front negating a complete inventory of our emotional life and times.
Perhaps I should further clarify that by stating I don’t believe I can be (fakely) happy like that. I’ve always been introspective and inquisitive. I’ve always asked questions, from great philosophical treatises to specific personal ones (of others….and myself). I suppose a person could with very a narrow focus, little self-evaluation or a medicinal diet of uppers remain in symbiotic joy. That’s not real, but it sure is convenient for most.
A segment of modern society wants us to bear all our scars for public consumption, be it reality tv for fame and profit, confessional time with a religious representative for absolution or the therapist couch for relief. The first is a study in unexamined self-indulgence or intentional self-exploitation for attention — which could strangely be used to gain a higher profile with increased opportunities for elevation. Go figure!
The latter two are supposed to be the nobler choices, but they still depend on the arbitrary ‘goodness’ of the authoritarians, their integrity, knowledge and competence. Trust in the wrong person and the entire process gets sullied – if not irrevocably damaged. Trust — and you might get slapped.
Tell people you’re sad or have doubts, or aren’t always feeling like a beauty queen/conqueror/zen master and some will subsequently freak out, bail on you, or think less of you. If they don’t use the revelation as a weapon. Crazy, huh? Humans are nothing if not a contradiction!
All the while, we need to build relationships, meet (and keep) the love of our lives, find allies and kindred spirits. Make new friends — and that gets harder as we grow older. Influence people. Put our best foot forward. Be our most authentic. Vet people, places and practices. Be vulnerable.
Why chance it when someone else can’t hear or see you past their own distortions? How do you trust the process of elevating your life when the results are sketchy at best? When you’re eliminating people, places and practices more than anything else? When you think you’re at a jumping off point, only to find there was a bottom you didn’t know about because you just fell through it.
You don’t want what other people have per se, but you want to be where you’re supposed to be. If you’ve done everything right, why is life all wrong? Mediocrity doesn’t cut it, and the knowledge you’ve acquired won’t allow you the option of pretending — or settling without extreme discomfort.
There’s supposed to be an abundance of opportunities to pursue goals, make personal improvements, etc. Does Manifest Destiny apply or is it an exercise of pure ego, completely unsupported? Which brings this conversation back to some of what LaPorte wrote about the “sadness” factor:
I was feeling it. Pure sadness — the inescapability of it plowing through the softest part of me. When you’re in that kind of painful place you’ll try to climb the walls to get away from it. You want it over with.
“Love your sadness. It won’t last long.” A friend texted me late at night. I caught it just as I was turning off my bedroom light.
I’ve had times where I was momentarily convinced I was done with life, if I was going to be so utterly disappointed all the time, trying to match jigsaw pieces that didn’t seem to fit. I found myself asking if this was it, the peak and the point where everything went further downhill. Despite previously writing about 10 Ways To Manifest Happiness I forgot to cover the basics. Our expectations may chafe and per this Inc. article, 6 Unique Ways to Be Successful and Happy:
Most people who want a lot out of life are their own worst enemy. They take themselves too seriously. Judge themselves too harshly. Expect too much out of themselves and others. If you can learn to let go of all your expectations, quit trying so hard to get somewhere, you’ll learn that just being you, present in this moment, is all that matters.
Ouch! I can’t say I disagree, but no one addresses multi-talented trailblazers and unique thinkers who want to connect with the people, places, practices that benefit the most. It’s an exercise in patience anticipating a fruitful payoff through miles of grunt work. Losing weight. Fluency in a new language. Career changes. Raising a child. Living with what were once ideal choices. The passage of time – which creates and ends certain opportunities. You may have your heart in one hand and a knife in the other because you don’t know what you’re dealing with.
People say they’ll do a, b, or c but you can never pin them down. There’s talk of community, but it skews like a popularity contest. Someone rejects you outright because they don’t like how you initiated contact. Others want to see you fail or continue flailing because they just do. Or maybe you come across a little punchy to those who really don’t understand what its like operating at a deficit because you don’t appear to be lacking anything. I’ve been told how I could have it worse. In fact, I already know I could have it worse…but I want BEST. Not less. Getting there feels like the longest marathon ever!
Victoria of SFGirlByBay blog shared a moment of real talk:
so, here’s the thing i see and others i’ve been talking to are seeing too. i’m sure i’m not the first or will be the last to point this out, but life is not as perfect as it may appear in social media — on instagrams, pinterest or twitter or facebook. we are our own worst editors. predominantly, we’re not sharing the lousy days, or the piles of laundry, or mascara running down our faces because we’re sad, or lonely or just having a really crap day, week, or month. we’re putting out there this message that life is just so pretty and so perfect and here i am having yet another amazing time with all my many friends — lalalala. this is not reality. i mean, maybe it is for some, but it certainly isn’t always for me…
I’ve acquired knowledge that SHOWS me just how AMAZING life can be — and is for so many. Yet, is it accurate to look at others? We do need examples but we see how doing so can lead to our asking if we’re doing something wrong. OR if our fates are sealed by an unyielding God/Universe? Is it a fault or is it uncontrollable? That’s what I want to know. Because all the prosperity, positivity, obedience, letting go theories aside — who or what is really in control at the end of the day? You or circumstances? There’s a case for staying focused on higher priority thoughts that lead to action. Despite all of this bad things still happen. Some people are just &^%$#!!
There’s a freedom in saying you don’t know why something”s off or when you’ve had enough. Being a “good” girl and model citizen feels rather meaningless. You can’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem. Certain choices you wisely refused don’t seem so bad for others. The contradictions are more than annoying. They seem to make a mockery of any viable interpersonal progress you’ve advocated. We all have ‘dark night of the soul’ moments. If we want something (or its equivalent) we can’t give up.
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The time for the ultimate in universal ultimatums is here: put up or shut up. Then we should be free to decide if we can live within certain parameters. If our needs are meant to be met, life must rise to the occasion. I had an epiphany: Newton’s Laws of Uniform Motion have a metaphysical interpretation as well as scientific. I didn’t understand how I combined the two until I reviewed the laws for the first time since grade school – and it fits!
- An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it.
- An object that is in motion will not change its velocity unless an external force acts upon it.
For lack of a better word, ratchetness will stay ratchet just like those in secure or lofty positions will remain humming. Unless something major disrupts it. How do you get inertia to propel forward if you are living between two extremes.Or circling them? Does linear momentum operate in a closed system pertaining to quality of life? Does inertia block real change for the good if —
OBSTACLE > you are in the middle of both < OPPORTUNITY
— you’re pushing against both…..or is this yet another case where I’ve over-analyzed something? Nah, I think the ugly cry is needed to make room for the smiles to come. I’d like to have a few words with Moses and his mountaintop adventures. Back to LaPorte:
Sadness gives you the chance to be still with the most tender place of your being.
Sadness is an opportunity to deeply appreciate your losses and your longings.
Appreciation is fuel for change.
Love gives your sadness the energy it needs to move through you… so it can move on.
And freedom always follows truth.
Sometimes we need the preparation so luck happens!