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Tanashia Boon Professor Susan Lago ENG-1100 College Writing December 12, 2013 In Pursuit of Sadness There seems to be a huge emphasis placed on happiness in todays society. Phrases such as Dont worry, be happy and Dont get mad, get glad have clouded our judgment and led to a distorted belief that sadness can only have negative effects. In attempting to fulfill our right to live in the pursuit of happiness, we have underestimated the power that sadness can have in our lives. In the Constitution, we find words such as the pursuit of happiness listed as one of our inalienable rights. The Constitution and even in the title of the Authentic Happiness Quiz implies a strong need for us to be happy. I felt myself asking why does society strives so much for happiness. In order to fully grow as individuals we need sadness. It is sadness, not happiness that truly shapes and molds us. Sadness has proven to be a source of strength for ourselves and others. This ultimately can lead us to becoming emotionally balanced. From my personal experience, I know that it is my sad moments that made me who I am today. When my father passed away, I did not want to face the deep sadness of losing him. For many years, I thought not coping with this sadness would make life easier. It wasnt until I was able to confront these feelings of sadness and grief that I was able to move on. I was only about eight years old at the time, but I learned that by allowing myself to become vulnerable, I was actually empowering myself. By having the courage to face my pain and sufferings, I have come to realize my own strength. Many people will not have the opportunity to experience this

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victorious feeling that comes from overcoming deep sadness. By emphasizing extreme happiness, we miss out on the wonderful effects and life lessons that only sadness can teach us. Sadness can not only help us grow stronger, but strengthen our relationships with others as well. By overcoming sadness, we learn to become more empathetic and compassionate to others. Sadness can bring people together like no other emotion can. If a loved one is experiences sadness due to loss of a job or loved one, he or she will need someone to turn to for comfort and support. Without facing your own personal sadness, you will not be able to empathize with this particular loved one. You will only be able to offer them empty promises of it will get better soons without anything to back it up. If we have not overcome the feeling of deep sadness for ourselves, we wont be able to relate and effectively comfort others who have. When experiencing sadness, sometimes the most healing thing we can do is remind ourselves that we are not alone and that others feel the same way. Sadness is not an easy emotion to deal with, but we find solace in knowing that there are others who have also experienced some sort of sadness. Knowing this, we have learned to comfort those who are going through what we have been through. Although sadness has proven to strengthen ourselves and our relationships with others, we oftentimes go through life trying to avoid it at every turn. We have grown to become so fixated on trying to reach a state of happiness, that very seldom that we actually allow ourselves to be happy. In attempting to define happiness, Mark Kingwell was quoted as saying Getting a grip on happiness is therefore far easy (414). I believe his statement not only applies to defining happiness, but the experience of happiness as well. We are never truly satisfied with life. One day in particular, instead of allowing myself to enjoy life and be happy, I couldnt help but to dwell on what was wrong. Instead of allowing myself to completely enjoy my junior class trip to

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six flags, I felt inclined to complain about the hot weather. Looking back it seems foolish that I have allowed small details to ruin what could have been a great day. In Some Darks Thoughts on Happiness, Jennifer Senior quoted a statement from Adam Philips where he argues that anyone who could maintain a state of happiness, given the state of the world, is living in a delusion (430). Philips makes a valid point, although I believe this is a very extreme perspective. I believe that anyone claiming to be happy, without having gone through and overcoming sadness, is living in a state of delusion. Happiness is important and pleasurable for us, but it alone, can prove to have harmful effects. We must not forget that we need both happiness and sadness in order to become emotional healthy. Instead of coping with sadness, many individuals may turn to drugs or alcohol. Some may hide the pain and fake a smile like I have done with my fathers death. It takes a lot of time, energy, and effort for someone to mask their true feelings .Overcoming sadness can help us to realize our own strength, which will lead to becoming emotionally healthy. This ultimately will bring forth a greater happiness. Oftentimes, we treat sadness like an unwelcomed stranger or an evil-stepsister. We do everything we possibly can to escape feeling sad. Instead, we should embrace our sad moments, and welcome them with open arms. Many people may argue that sadness is not needed in life. In reality, we need these hardships just as much as we need the air we breathe. We expect life to be full or sunshines and rainbows. However, this idyllic fantasy only exists in movies. What most people fail to understand is that although it may seem ideal to want to reach a state of happiness and pleasure, these feelings do not teach us anything. Instead of avoiding sadness because of the deep pain it may cause, we need to acknowledge it for the strength and change that result from

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our sad moments. We have the ability to gain so much from sadness that would not be possible with happiness.

Works Cited
Senior, Jennifer. "Some Dark Thoughts on Happiness." Rosen., Ed. Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum: Twelfth Edition. Upper Saddle River:: Pearson, 2012. 423-430. Print.