So is Sadness really an enemy I have to fight, or a friend I'm avoiding because I don't like conflict? When I first saw Inside Out in the theaters, it was on Mia's 11th birthday. I cried harder than a Disney movie should make a person cry. It hit so close to home, though. For a children's movie, it had a lot of depth. The underlying message was that we don't need to push away our sadness. Joy kept pushing her aside, afraid she'd corrupt their girl Rylee into a depressed girl, but by not feeling her sadness, she became empty inside. Once Sadness was allowed to go in and do her thing, everything was resolved. Rylee didn't sink into a deep depression because she felt her sadness, instead she was able to be herself again.
Sadness, when pushed aside constantly makes us bitter, hard, cold and ugly. We sometimes have to let her in to do her thing so we can move forward. I have to trust that she won't drag me down into the depths of despair where I imagine she lives. Feelings are okay and need to be felt.
I have spent so much time pushing Sadness into a corner. I run and hide, but she doesn't go away. I keep busy to avoid her. She becomes larger than life to me, someone I fear. When I actually face her, however, I find that she's not as scary as I thought she was.
I'm slowly realizing Sadness isn't my enemy. She's there for a reason and it's best to feel it now before it is overwhelming and out of control. There is a difference between sadness and depression. When sadness is ignored for years and years, she turns into depression. That's why it's so important not to cast her aside, but to listen to what she has to say, even if it hurts for awhile. "Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5a)