The Pressure to Pretend: Why It's Ok to Live in the Sadness

By: Sherry Levine, Regular Contributor


Everyone wants to be happy. Isn’t that what life is all about? Happiness? Everyone is constantly reaching for this thing called happiness, but the more I look around the more I wonder; is the journey to happiness causing us more grief than happiness? We put such a large amount of pressure on ourselves to be happy, to create a happy life, to create the life we think we’re supposed to be having. This pressure is so great that I feel we’re almost embarrassed to say we’re not there yet. We’re embarrassed to admit we may feel unfulfilled. We’re embarrassed to say we’re sad.

I have a problem with this whole outlook. And it’s not for a lack of feeling it myself. In fact, it’s because I have felt this way before. I have spent days trying to disguise a bad mood, or an unhappy feeling or an anxious mind. I have felt the pressure to pretend that everything is perfect, that my life is so much fun and that things are great. But why?


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Why do we feel the need to avoid or hide sadness and parade happiness? I do think it’s ok to share your happiness and good energy with the world, but I also think it’s important to not ignore or avoid those times where we feel vulnerable, down or confused. If handled and perceived in a certain way, I believe these “sad” times we all experience can actually be incredibly beneficial and therapeutic. It is in these moments that I believe we can truly self reflect, understand what is that we are feeling, what we are yearning for, what we are reaching for that we do not have. What are your dreams, what are your obstacles? Because if you think about it: you have to feel that low, that yearning for something greater to really know what you want. But remember there is a fine line here. Don’t reach for the unattainable and don’t be greedy with your happiness.

I also think our society places a huge misconception on feeling sad. We are taught growing up that we should avoid sadness.That if you are sad when other people are happy you are doing something wrong, that we should hide these feelings inside. Well I believe this is BS. I think it’s so important to remember that it is ok to feel sad sometimes! It’s ok to be down. It’s ok to have an off day, to feel a little bit lost, to realize there are some things making you feel down.

Just because we feel sad sometimes doesn’t mean we are unhappy. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It doesn’t mean you have failed. There have been many times where I have felt down, but looking back on those times, I always come out the other side. Things do brighten up. I think the first step when you’re feeling this way is to say to yourself, “I’m okay, it’s ok to feel like this.”

As I get older I do feel like it becomes more and more acceptable to admit these feelings of vulnerability. To admit that our lives aren’t perfect. That maybe not everything we’re portraying on Instagram or Facebook is the whole story. To say outloud “I’m feeling down today,” “I’m in a funk right now,” “I’m a little sad lately.” Tell your friends and family what’s bringing you down, write it down, listen to some music in bed, cry! Wake up the next morning with a new strength and clean outlook because of the space you created for yourself to feel. Don’t fight it, don’t hide it, don’t avoid it and don’t pretend it’s not there. These feelings are real, and they’re okay. Don’t be scared of these feelings. Through the ups and the downs, we must feel and live through it all. Live in the sadness.

About Sherry: I am Sherry Levine. A 26-year-old woman committed to supporting and inspiring women in any way I can. With my contributions to I AM THAT GIRL and my life-coaching program Generation Teen, designed to provide guidance to everyday teen girls, it is my mission to encourage and empower all women to create the happiest and most fulfilling life possible.  




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