First off, I think in general our culture has conditioned us to generally stay away from anything that doesn’t radiate happiness. Maybe it’s just me being overly sensitive, but I often feel like it’s not okay for me to be anything but happy. I don’t want to burden others if I’m not superb. The pressure from others to be and feel as good as they are is a real thing.
I’ve known for a while now that I just kind of do this whole making myself sad for no real reason. It’s almost as if the mind is saying, you’ve been happy for a while now, so here’s something sad to think about that won’t change anything in your life. I saw this really great picture while scrolling through Facebook:
It’s almost really sad. Almost.
This is important. People work themselves into certain mental states in which everything seems like doom and gloom because one thing didn’t make sense. I was attempting calculus again, after having all the knowledge lay dormant for 2 years and it was mentally exhausting. I was upset, snappy, and taking my frustration out on the one person who’s help I needed desperately. He did the best thing he could, and didn’t comment, but continued to help me.
It’s takes almost a mental restart to get out of this stage. It’s almost like the feeling you get when your Pokemon Go app freezes and you’re in the middle of a battle with a CP 300 Pokemon. Step back, reset, and try again. Guess what? It’s usually better after the refresh. Same thing happened with my Calculus.
I know I’m not the only one that works myself into silly habits of getting sad over past events or tainted memories associated with a certain place. The best thing for me to do is to remind myself that I’m in charge and I get to feel how I want. I don’t have to hold on to the past and I get to choose.
I’m not sure how often this happens to other people, but it’s about once a week for me. So, if I’m doing something that seems silly, unreasonable, or odd, but it makes me happy, then let me do it. Don’t stop me from helping myself, because I promise anything I do is not intended to hurt or inconvenience you.
Here’s a list of tips I’ve compiled for how to help someone who’s sad.
- Genuinely ask them how they are feeling and if there’s anything you can do
- Listen to whatever they want to talk about.
- If they don’t really feel like talking about it, talk about something lighthearted and focus on getting them to smile (this can become obnoxious quickly, so use with caution)
- One of my favorite things my mother ever taught me was “If you see something that might make someone smile, then it’s worth it to purchase it for them”
- If appropriate, try to take their mind off it the subject.
- Surprise them with a kind gesture: (back rubs, a movie they’ve been wanting to see, their favorite ice cream, etc.)
- Feed them cookie dough on a spoon
- Offer them your attention whenever they need it (“You can call me anytime you need”)
- Make dinner, or clean their surroundings (or encourage and help them do so)
- Hugs, hugs, hugs. There is nothing I love more than a surprise, meaningful hug from the people I love.
- Go on a walk (catch some Pokemon if that’s what you’re into)
- Window shop, You don’t always need to purchase something, but quite often it’s fun to browse and get creative with your surroundings.
- Spend time with them, show them they’re important to you and an invaluable part of your life.
Understand, that sadness if temporary, if you feel exhausted from the effort of trying to make someone feel better then I hope you don’t feel like you’ve wasted energy. There have been many times when I’ve received help from my peers and not acknowledged their efforts until half an hour after.
I remember feelings absolutely defeated while struggling to understand calculus, and I haven’t felt so grateful to receive help in a long time.
If you’re on the receiving side, always, always, say thank you.