Have a Good Cry. Don’t Buy.

by Alissa

Yesterday began like any other Tuesday.  Then, a friend called and told me her happy news.  She’s expecting her third child.  Immediately following my excitement for her, I was slapped in the face with my own disappointment.  Why?  Can I be honest and vulnerable here?  Last year, I was given a wonderful gift.  I became pregnant.  It would have been our third child and I was elated (after the initial shock wore off).  Sadly, I miscarried.  It crushed me and I cried for days.  I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.  I was crippled with grief and surprised at how vulnerable it left me.  This pregnancy had been unplanned, but no less welcomed by me.  I loved the thought of having a third child.  I allowed myself to grieve the loss.  Soon after, my husband affirmed that he was content with two children and didn’t want any more.  That knowledge was harder for me to cope with than the actual miscarriage.  It meant I had no hope of having another child.  I understand his desire to keep our family as it is.  We already have two amazing children.  I wanted to be angry at him, but love him too much to indulge in such selfish behavior.  I respect his feelings.  After a lot of crying and soul-searching, I pulled myself up out of my own despair.  I’ve healed a lot and moved on, but the desire for another child has never left me completely.

So, when my friend told me her news yesterday (friend, if you are reading this, know I am really excited for you!) it stirred up emotions deep within me.  Out of nowhere, I was back to staring disappointment in the face.  I thought I was over this.  It was uncomfortable.  It sucked!  Someone else was getting what I wanted and it hurt deep down.  Poor me!  I threw myself a pity party.  I cried when my kids weren’t watching.  I took three showers just so that I could cry it all out alone.  I feel better now.  I believe that crying is good (though I still hate crying in front of others).  Crying means I’m feeling my own sadness.  Crying allows me to let it out so that I can get back on my feet.  Crying is a way to express emotion, instead of repress it.  Pushing sadness away is what does us harm.  Pretending our feelings don’t exist is detrimental to our well-being.  Emotions are fleeting, so why are we afraid of them?  Because I was sad yesterday doesn’t mean I’m not strong.  It means I was sad and that is okay.

Since simplifying my life, I’ve been able to feel my negative emotions more deeply.  I don’t fear them.  I sit with my feelings instead of running away.  I have less stuff to distract me from myself.  Living simply means asking a lot of questions about why I do what I do and why I keep what I keep.  That can be uncomfortable at first, but brings more happiness in the long-term.  People often distract themselves from negative feelings through activities such as shopping.  The truth is that stuff doesn’t fill a void for long.  Buying yourself something new isn’t bad in itself.  When shopping turns into retail therapy, though, stop.  When buying a new dress or pair of shoes is merely enabling you to avoid your feelings, stop.  Here’s my advice to you for the next time you are feeling sad, anxious, or uncomfortable.  Have a good cry.  Don’t buy.