Do you know who always fascinated me as a character when I was growing up? Eeyore. You know, the donkey from Winnie The Pooh? He was always moping around, never wanted to join in with his friends, and seemed to cast a grey shadow over the cheery scenes.
Eeyore always ticked me off when I watched this show. Why on earth did he have to constantly rain on everyone’s parade? What on earth was so bad, all the fricken time? Couldn’t he just try being like the others for once?
When you’re a kid, sometimes you bounce back from sadness so quickly, you don’t even remember why or how it was there. Sometimes, you’re even told “you have no need to be sad, or to cry” by your parents or caregivers. Besides, its fun to play and laugh, enjoy your self with your friends, and don’t bother other people with your sadness.
As an adult we are conditioned to be more inclined towards happy feelings – joy, excitement, fun, play, as we feel these signify success. These feelings feel good, so why shouldn’t we want them all the time? And sadness? Who has time for it! Sadness won’t get you that job, score that guy, make that friend, help you to get awesome customer service, promote your business or make you look good in those selfies you need to take when you’re out next Saturday night.
Here’s the thing I never picked up on. Eeyore was showing me a very important lesson of self acceptance.
When we get sad, it’s often a natural instinct to hide it from the world, stuff it down with booze, food, or shopping (or all 3 in my case sometimes!). We feel guilty if we are sad around our friends and family; assuming we are the depressed Eeyore in the story who looks like a burden to everyone around him. We definitely don’t want that, that would make us even more sad than before. And what would they think about us? That we don’t have our lives together? That we are broken? That we are needy?
But did you ever notice that no matter how Eeyore responds, his friends don’t ever tell him to go away, stop being depressed, or just to plain get over it. They just allow him to do what he needs to, within the safe space they provide, he can join in or not, his remarks are allowed – not discouraged, and everyone still has a fun time. From memory, the story usually ends up pretty happy.
Here are my thoughts on sadness: the more we tell ourselves that it isn’t acceptable to be sad, there more it will haunt us, until we honour our emotions and really give ourselves time to feel how we are feeling. Find a friend, and just cry it out over coffee; watch a really sad movie or listen to a melancholy album; journal about what is going through your brain; walk slowly by the beach or in nature, find a safe place and say to yourself “I allow myself to be sad”. Don’t fear it, and don’t tell it to go away. Let it do its thing, and it will let you do yours. I promise.
If you ever need someone to be sad around, I am always available xo