Beauty of Sadness

Last year, Pixar Studios released one of their, if not the most, insightful features, Inside Out. The movie told the tale of a young girl’s teenage life through the emotions inside her head. Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness all argued about which emotion the girl should be feeling in a particular situation, but the tension between Joy and Sadness was the most palpable. Joy’s incessant need to keep the girl happy kept Sadness weakly attempting to express her feelings as well, in turn, upsetting the girl even more. People tend to try and be happy all the time while avoiding sadness altogether, but sadness plays an important role in living as a human being with emotions and even feeling joy itself.

We think in dichotomies: male vs female, nature vs nurture, good vs bad, joy vs sadness. However, the majority of these are false, and the two seemingly mutually exclusive parts are actually two parts of a broad spectrum. The gray of the world tends to cloud out the black and white we so desperately search for. For instance, feeling happy and feeling sad are regarded as two separate emotions. Of course, it cannot be denied that the two emotions feel rather different, but they are not mutually exclusive – neither can exist without the other.

In this day and age, we all look for the quickest solution possible. The world resides in our pockets, and a simple Google search will usually answer our questions. Yet, our emotional problems are a bit more difficult to solve. Happiness is the ultimate goal, the best of all the emotions. And if this emotion is the best one, we should all feel happy all the time if we want to be content and avoid the rest of the emotions altogether. Though, avoiding problems usually increases the problem. In search for the quick fix, more people turn to antidepressants to solve their problems, but sadness is not the same as depression. Depression is a very real mental disorder that needs treatment, while sadness is a normal human emotion. We must allow ourselves to feel sadness, and not let anger or fear cover it. Crying can be unpleasant, but people almost always feel better afterwards. After all, what is joy without sadness?

When all seems lost and despair inevitable, it could seem that there is no hope or goodness left to appreciate. However, the despair itself possesses its own beauty—it makes us human. One of the most beautiful parts of being human is the fact that we have all these intense emotions. When we feel, we feel strongly. To truly feel everything, we must let ourselves feel the more unpleasant parts as well. If you let sadness take over your emotions for a while, you will appreciate the joy to come later more, and thus, let happiness consume you as well.