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When it’s okay to be sad….

I’m a positive guy.

Ask 10 people who know me to describe me, and you’ll almost certainly hear the word “positive” at some point. I’m a cheerleader, the kind of “rah-rah” guy you probably like when you need a pick-me-up, but who may annoy you in a contemplative moment. And if you’re given to frequent bouts of melancholy? Well, you might envy me my upbeat outlook, or more likely, you might characterize me as delusional.

I don’t apologize for it. Whether by personality or pathology, (likely a combination of both), I like being a glass-half-full guy. But….sad

It’s okay to be sad.

It’s okay to be sad when you’re lonely.
It’s okay to be sad when you experience pain…of any kind.
It’s okay to be sad when you see racism.
It’s okay to be sad when your enemies, and especially your friends, hurt you.
It’s okay to be sad when you’ve been ignored or marginalized.
It’s okay to be sad when you see the plight of less fortunate people.
It’s okay to be sad….period…for no reason, other than sadness.

I recently had one of these sad moments. I have no idea why it hit me, but sadness came over me like a misty, cold cloud. Instead of reaching for my phone to play a game, or text someone, or to start a conversation about football, I decided to let it wash over me. I owned it. I embraced it. I allowed it to run its course. It was, in its own way, something quite beautiful.

Shortly after experiencing this, I ran across a YouTube video of comedian Louis CK on Conan O’Brien’s show. Because of some coarse language, I don’t feel comfortable posting the link here, but in the middle of this clip, he talks about how in our fast-paced, multi-tasking world, we miss the opportunities to really feel sadness. We avoid it with activity, and in avoiding real sadness, we avoid real joy.

I want joy…so I’m going to embrace the sadness when it comes.

How about you?

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