For example, the sorrow of breaking up with a first girlfriend or boyfriend, while it can be remarkably intense at the time, will fade over the years into a learning experience, one you may even smile at someday. The sorrow of losing a child, on the other hand, will remain a part of you for as long as you remain.
Whether it may someday fade or forever linger, when you are amidst it, sorrow is sorrow. The pain cannot be rationalized away. The pain cannot be masked. Nor, however, does the sorrow mean you are not allowed to feel happiness. Indeed, the sorrow is there to be embraced so that, even through it, you may feel a greater sense of joy. Not necessarily the joy of immediate laughter, but the deeper joy of gratitude.
Instead of trying to run from or mask sorrow, it is there to be embraced and nurtured. Sorrow means you were given a gift; that pain means you were given something worth rejoicing in.
In a world with absolutely no guarantees, you were granted something beautiful for a while. Whether it was a relationship or another being that was important to your being or something else, you were granted a gift so worthwhile that sorrow has blossomed inside you now that the something is gone.
Imagine a world without such gifts. That would be true tragedy. “Tis better to have loved and to have lost then to have never loved at all.” As usual, the Bard was right.
Amidst your sadness, rejoice that you were given something that is worth the sorrow you feel now that it is gone. All things including sorrow have a side that points toward shade and a side that points toward sun; be sure to also dwell on this sun side of the sorrow … the beauty, the joy, the gift of whatever or whomever you were given, in whatever amount of time it was granted to you in its physical form.
And if, by the way, you feel you did not cherish the gift that is now gone enough while it was here, recognize these two keys: first, just as you forgive others for being human, you must forgive yourself. Think of someone you love dearly – perhaps this is the very person you are feeling sorrow over – and then ask yourself what you’d forgive them for. Are you not worth that same level of compassion?
Second, remember that you have done something right enough to recognize the value of the gift … you don’t feel sorrow for something you don’t cherish. And it is never too late to feel such gratitude, to cherish. That is the beauty of the gift.
You may no longer be able to get what or who it is that you hurt for back. But the bounty of the gift remains. Your sorrow proves it. So embrace it. It will help you remain aware of the greater happiness that the sorrow is wrapped within. It will help you move toward all the joys you so deserve. And there are plenty of them. They too are waiting for you.