A silent scream
After one’s heart
Society tends to bring up expectations of happiness, but then reality slaps us with the truth that most parts of our lives are taken over by feelings of grief and loss. Having a good life doesn’t merely mean being invulnerable to sadness, but in a wider sense, it’s being able to use our suffering to develop our unforeseen strength.
In the belief of Buddhism, humans are already suffering just by being alive in this world and we all have to endure it until death. Making use of this concept exposes us to the darker truth of living—that sadness will always be there as long as suffering persists. On the bright side, being in a state of melancholy helps us accept the fact that life is innately difficult. We may feel that unfavorable circumstances call us to cry in tears and give up on life, but in reality, disappointment is already an essential part of our universal experience. According to PsychCentral’s website, our basic emotions of joy, sorrow, anger, and guilt are triggered by the environment we live in and are genetically hardwired in human beings. We may often think of our misery as egocentric, perceiving it as special misfortunes purposely coming our way, but melancholy has a less personal take on individuals.
The wisdom of having a melancholic attitude is the understanding that you won’t be singled out as your suffering generally belongs to humanity. As The Book of Life, a website for developing emotional intelligence, says, “Melancholy is generous. You feel this sorrow for others too. You feel pity for the human condition.” The painful truth is that we can’t avoid missing opportunities, and the contradictions of our desire and self-management—much of what is sorrowful—are normal things in the lives of everyone.
We are in a melancholic state when we have grasped the universal thought of our troubles as bounded for us to be connected with one another. Sometimes we put all the blame on the universe, when in reality, it won’t make change the situation. By taking melancholy into full understanding, we can become more compassionate toward other people.
At the end of the day, sadness is about feeling sorrow from all the sufferings we have faced along the way, while melancholy is a state where we can seek happiness within sadness. Being a melancholic person enlightens us with the idea that the things we often love are all temporary as we can’t go back to yesterday and we can never tell if tomorrow will bring the end of our sadness. Sometimes, savoring sorrow is a good thing, like a constant reminder for us that we’re still existing—we’re still here.
Photos by Kathelyn Ann Bravo
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