Sometimes, for no apparent reason, we feel crappy. We wake up in a flat, apathetic mood, and no matter what we try, it refuses to go away.
We force a smile, we chug a coffee, we eat Nutella toast—nothing works.
Everything seems gloomy. We walk around wearing dirty, dull glasses. We shake our heads, we squint, we huff…nothing.
Everyone annoys us—even our friends and family. We have no time to listen or care about what they have to say. We search for patience, for understanding, for empathy…nothing.
Even the simple joys that normally give us a lift—our favorite tune, a long hot shower, a walk along the beach—do little more than pat us on the back condescendingly and say, “There, there.”
These days can be frustrating, particularly when we feel as though we don’t have anything to be sad about. Our lives are good—our friends, our home, our freedom—all of these things make us incredibly lucky. But still, we feel down.
I’ve experienced my fair share of these days. Yes, even the meditating, clean-eating, free-surfing, happiness coach gets sad. On days like these, I often find myself feeling guilty. Who am I wallow? How dare I indulge in such self-pity? Why can’t I just snap out of it?
I meander through the day, shifting between states of frustration, confusion and guilt. I avoid people in fear of infecting them with my sadness. Or maybe I’m scared they’ll try to help. And while I do appreciate their concern, I don’t want their help. All I want is to be alone.
Yet even on these days, every once in a while, oddly, I find myself smiling. I remember one of my favorite quotes:
“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human—in not having to be just happy or just sad.” ~ C. JoyBell
I remember that this too shall pass—that these feelings are only ever short-lived—that I always somehow find my way back to joy, gratitude and contentment.
I remember that sadness can only exist in a life that is otherwise full of happiness. Without the lows, there’s no such thing as highs. Without dull, we never know what it means to feel bright.
It is in these moments that I am most connected to myself. There is no judgement, guilt or frustration. I simply give myself permission to feel however I am feeling.
And then, invariably, as soon as I let go, things start to turn. The smile I’ve been forcing suddenly comes naturally. The petty frustrations no longer bother me, and my friends and family are, once again, the center of my universe. I feel happy, connected and free.
I know that these feelings won’t last either—that the sadness will be back, even if just for a quick visit. And you know what? I’m okay with that. I know that all I need to do is embrace it, welcome it as an old friend, listen to its misery, accept its existence and set it free.
This is the sweet innocence of being human.
Author: Garrick Transell
Editor: Evan Yerburgh