Handling Sadness

Now I know this is definitely not a happy topic to talk about, but I think it is a timely one. As the new year begins, many things have taken place in my life, unfortunately most of them are unpleasant events. Loss of a friend and heartbreak are among those that I am currently facing.

I am sure many would recognise the feeling of agony, it is nothing foreign to any human being – that searing pain that pierces through your chest ruthlessly, when you think it will not attack you anymore, it creeps in slowly. While I am figuring out the best way to handle such feelings, I have discovered some methods which help me a lot along the journey.

First, don’t deny the feeling. I shared my story with my friends and some responded ‘don’t be sad, don’t cry’. I think that is cruel to stop a person from expressing emotions. We can’t deny anyone’s feelings, we can’t tell anyone that what he or she feels is incorrect. Sad feeling isn’t something we should run away from, in fact it does good to us by showing us that we are hurt, we have wounds and we need to treat the injury. Jesus wept too when Lazarus was dead. Nobody told him ‘don’t be sad, big boys don’t cry’. I think we deserve the right to go through the feeling and express it. Just like what Morrie said ‘if you hold back on the emotions- if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them- you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your heard even, you experience them fully and completely’. However it doesn’t mean self-victimization and self-pity, nobody likes to have someone who keeps talking about his or her sorrow and misfortune.

Second, have a good cry. I cried right after I received the heart cringing news for good two hours. However miraculously I felt so much better after that, even though my eyes were swollen and my head was aching. Charles Dickens wrote in ‘Great Expectation’ that ‘heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before- more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.’ Cry is a sign of life, remember we used to be good criers when we were babies.

cry if you need to

Third, spend some quiet time. I spent some time with God and reading the Bible verses, and I found myself recovering faster than I thought I would. The verse that touched me the most was ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit – Psalm 34:18’. I spent time to reflect on lessons or goodness I gained from the experience and tried my best to give thanks for what had happened, it was very tough at the beginning, however slowly I found myself forgiving the people who broke my heart, and slowly I found myself letting go of the pain and sorrow.

Surrender the situation to God, God can handle it

Last but not least, don’t belittle your problem. I met people telling me how small my problem was, I shouldn’t feel sad about it at all, not worth it (Return of Investment doesn’t apply just in any circumstance I suppose?). I don’t think it is fair for anyone to say that, because we might not experience the exact issue and if it happens to us, we might feel worse! Your problem is never too small that God will ignore, neither your problem is too big that He can’t handle.

I can’t say that I have totally recovered but I am progressing well. I pray for a good year ahead as it didn’t take off smoothly. However I trust all in all, the Lord has the best plans for me, I shall look forward to new every morning that comes with His everlasting mercy.


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