Except of course, there's always a reason. Somewhere at the bottom of our subconscious there is always a reason or seven as to why the tears are so close to the surface on any given day.
Sometimes it's because you forgot something you didn't think you would. Other times it's because you remembered something you vowed never to again. Indeed, maybe it's just your period, or maybe you're watching the final episode of Gilmore Girls. It happens. And all the above is valid.
Sometimes a sad song playlist catches you off guard on Spotify and you just kinda let it have its way with you. Emotions are there to be felt, nothing good comes from ignoring them.
Like your mistakes, you have to look your emotions in the eye to learn from them
I'm going to level with you, guys. Being sad is hard. Like, super-duper lemon difficult. Did that make sense? It didn't need to. It rivals the likes of heartbreak and grief in terms of the way that it seems inescapable and suffocating. Like you're at sea and can't even get your lungs clear of water long enough to cry for help. You can see the waves coming and coming and breaking and crashing down on you, but you're never beached or released and deposited to the sandy beaches. Go figure.
But real talk. Sadness. It creeps and lurches and mottles and an all manner of other unsightly adjectives. We don't love it. We even fear that we can't love. Yeah, it gets dark, we know.
It sneaks up on you, that's the troubling part. You can be minding your own business, thinking you were fairly content in your life situation, and suddenly you have an off day at work and stub your toe on the door and you're crying in the bathroom stalls at the gym. How did we get here?
Why do we continue to get in this position every Friday night?
Questions, questions. I mean that's a great starting point for identifying what's happened. Or, as the case may be, not happened. Let's try to unpack the emotions that we're feeling and check them in as they pass through the threshold. Add a 'Why' to each example and reason it out. Sometimes we need to hear things aloud, or in a funny accent or very slowly for them to actually register. It's a way of getting out of our own headspace and trying to gain a little perspective.
Despite all of this, I do appreciate that in the moment of feeling trapped, there is no escape. Well, there is. There just doesn't feel like there is. Here's where you need to know yourself. Normally, you need to try to not force certain emotions to emerge – you can't be happy through sheer force of will, unfortunately. Don't believe me? I've tried.
Here, you have to try to push yourself, though
Don't expect to be able to run a marathon for charity the next day for an endorphins kick and moral smugness. That is a great thing to do, but it isn't necessarily what you need or should be focusing on. You don't need to worry about the outside world and what the people around you will think. Instead, focus on how you interact with the people you care about, and how they can help you. You deserve their attention and you need to allow yourself to be vulnerable and not close yourself off to people who are trying to help you struggle through.
So, yes – here you are, feeling sad. There's nothing unusual about that. Everyone gets sad sometimes. Lots of people, in fact, are sad quite a lot of the time. It's not a matter of being 'strong enough' or mentally robust enough to 'deal with' things that are happening. Often, life is enough to stress people out, but when you introduce grief, tragedy, or mental health issues to the general phenomena of sadness, you really have to try to keep tabs on yourself.
Even in small, manageable ways. Establish good habits that you can sustain easily over time. Check that you've eaten recently, had a good sleep, and feel a comfortable temperature. Check that you are vaguely clean, and if not, that gives you a few purposes. A few productive checklists to work against. Try to wash yourself a little, or have something to eat. Even if it's soup, shortbread, or an instant noodle. Something simple that you enjoy. You don't need to push the boat out too far here. Just have a few practices to break even and look after yourself.
It won't make you magically stop feeling sad
But it will help. So will calling a friend or watching Gilmore Girls. How about you combine the both?!
Okay, saddle up chaps; I'm about to say something bold. Ready?
Your life is on track and you don't need to rush through it for a series of arbitrary goals.
Yes, it is ridiculously hard to have friends that may seem like they are ahead of you. More successful. Higher up in their career field. In a longer-term relationship. Living independently. Wealthier. Fitter. Just in general, better.
While it may be the objective truth that someone's job title is more senior than yours, or that they've been in a relationship for a greater number of days, it doesn't really mean all that you may think it does.
Well, for one, these things aren't permanent states of being. Just like it's unreasonable and counterintuitive to expect to be happy all the time, you can't always be successful. You wouldn't know the hills from the valleys without a bit of context. Therefore, and you don't have to be a bad person for thinking this, people won't always be successful. Neither will you. But you also won't be where you are now, forever. Not by any means.
The moral of the story?
Be sad for yourself. Try to unravel why other people might be making you sad, though.
What we can survive is, after all, not what we should have to endure.