Choosing sadness

At lunch with a friend today she told me about a relationship in her life that is not working out.   She was contemplating the ways in which to end it.  I found myself hearing the internal sounds of Paul Simon’s old  ’50 Ways to Leave your Lover’.  Our conversation eventually led us to ask:  Which is more painful at the end of a relationship  – when you leave it feeling sad, or when you leave it feeling angry?

Anger can be a great motivator.  It can force us to action.  It can incite change when change is necessary.  Anger can jump start our lives after a stall.   It has certainly been there for me when I needed it.   But, I have also seen how people can get strung-out on anger.  Holding on, afraid they will crumble without it.  Anger can be insidious and cancerous in the way it spreads and rots a person soul.  One thing I know, without a doubt, is that I can not afford that trip.

There are some major life decisions I have made by measuring the potential of pain.  Given distinct choices that each guarantee some sort of hurt, which pain can I tolerate? And which direction will allow me to, eventually, put the pain away?  Today, this was my friend’s dilemma.

We talked about sadness.  About how it aches so deeply and how it can make you lose your breath.  About how it paws at your heart in unexpected moments.  And how sometimes you become so numb to it that the tears flow without warning.  But in the end, there is a sweet beauty to sadness.  A truth it reveals that hides inside anger.  And, we agreed, it is this truth that eventually tears holes in the fabric of sadness; so light can begin to trickle in.

So, in the end, I have to say that if given the choice between anger and sadness, I choose sadness.  And I am grateful for those moments I am given the choice.

-jrb

(fantastic little drum solo at the end)

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4 Responses to Choosing sadness

  1. Recovery MOm says:

    As a person that has difficulty feeling anger (denial? part of the people pleaser problem? not in touch with my real feelings?) I would always choose sadness. And when I choose sadness I also know that it is a choice. Sadness is something that I can talk myself out of. Anger is something I seem to only be able to feel or express if there is a huge inequity, a serious problem that there seems to be no solution, that sort of thing. Interesting blog.

    • jennbenn18 says:

      Thank you for your comment! Your thoughts ring true with me as well. I think anger is a scary feeling for many of us. Especially women. If we can tap into it’s deeper message and transformational power then we don’t have to hold on to it for long. Sooo, if I figure out a clear path to this plan, I will be sure to let you know! Meanwhile, lets keep trying. My daughters’ mere presence is my reminder of why I must keep trying.

  2. jennbenn18 says:

    Kendra,
    I completely agree that anger is often how people express their fear. To actually admit feeling afraid is way too threatening for some. Thanks so much for your comment. 🙂

  3. To me, anger is the emotion people have when they don’t get their way. It is often linked to maturity level – the more frequently angry a person is, the less mature they tend to be. Anger is also based on misunderstood fear and frustration.

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