“You can be unhappy.”

I recently watched a documentary series on Channel NewsAsia, “Facing Death”. It talks about the challenges critically ill patients and their caregivers face.

I could very much relate to all the stories mentioned. I saw shadows of myself within the show.

However one thing struck me the most. A consultant from Dover hospice said in her interview they need to let patients know they can feel sad, they have a right to do that. We try so hard to fight for happiness everyday, but have we forgotten sadness belongs to the other side of the coin. Everyone is trying hard to construct the ideal world of “happiness”, but what does it really mean to be happy? In the ideal world, we were told to share happiness, never sadness because it will make us look weak. Often we hear people say “never be judgemental”, but unfortunately we all start forming images in our heads with every little bit of information.  We size people up. Unfortunately, it will never be a complete picture because we will never know the complete picture. It’s not about looking beyond what is apparent, it’s about moving beyond the apparent. (On a side note, recent campaign by MCI is about not being judgemental. I personally think it’s a meaningful campaign,  and I hope it achieve good results in reminding people to have more empathy. You can look at the series of videos on their Facebook and YouTube page ➡gov. sg)

We watched the movie “Inside out”. We talked about sadness, we admired him.  But has it really changed our lives?

It is sad to think that we have to deliberately remind ourselves it is okay for one to feel sad. There is always a cycle to everything in life, and they go up and down. Nothing will stay up there forever. Did the pursuit of “a happy world” made us lose the sense of empathy?

The best way to connect with people is to show empathy. And empathy is shown by accepting and acknowledging people for who they are. It can be as simple as telling someone “it’s okay, you can be unhappy.”

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