Question of the Day: Is it possible to be happy and sad at the same time?

In the spirit of full disclosure this wasn’t my question. It was asked by an inspirational young man by the name of Josh Quigley. Josh is a suicide survivor who shares his life, not just the good stuff, but the struggles and confusion we all face in a refreshingly honest way. You can click the link to follow him on LinkedIn and share his journey.

Anyway – Happy and sad at the same time? Totally. Why not? In fact, I’ll even go a step further and explain why I think it’s not just possible, but one of the healthiest expressions of emotion we can experience.

We all have a number of things happening in life right now to add to the millions of memories and events we have had in our lives. We’ve fallen in love and had broken hearts. We’ve had children and lost loved ones. We’ve been promoted and lost jobs. How is it possible to feel only one thing at a time? We carry memories that bring comfort and hurt. We’ve had experiences that cause confidence and fear. The idea that we can only feel happy or sad discounts the whole experience of life we have lived.

Then we have the experiences that arc through out lives and bring those memories flooding back. For example, we may have a favourite band that we have turned to in times of hurt, but we have also listened to them during the best of times. Memories flood in, good and bad, and you can’t help but smile even though there is a tinge of sadness in the soul. How do we choose between happy and melancholy at times like that?

We can’t. We’re feeling both – we’re happycholy.

Happycholy is that feeling when we remember loss. I feel it when I smell lavender as it reminds me of my grandparent’s house when I was a kid. Good times, but times that I can never have again. Happycholy.

In the next article we’ll look at why we should embrace happycholy and let it find an unconditional place in our soul.

Here are the three takeaways for today:

1 – You don’t have to choose or explain your emotions. If you feel happycholy, then that’s what you’re feeling. It just is.

2 – It’s OK to smile in the sadness. If there’s sadness it’s just a contrast to the happiness, and where there’s happiness there’s a reason to smile.

3 – Life is a series of events with common threads holding them together. Each thread has happiness and sadness and result in happycholy. It’s the story arc of our life and they will continue. For some it’s listening to a certain song or band, for others it’s the smell of lavender.

As you have read this you’ve maybe been thinking about some of the arcs in your life and maybe had a small involuntary smile or a light sigh of sadness. It’s good – it means your still alive and still feeling. It means you’re happycholy.

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