Getting Happy When You’re So Sad

pink sunset & clouds reflecting on the lake

We’ve all experienced sadness and loss in our lives. There isn’t one of us that hasn’t. Unfortunately, the more years we live on this planet, the more losses we experience and to be honest, they don’t get any easier in the actual moments, but almost more difficult as we’ve built walls around our hearts so as to avoid feeling the overwhelming emotions they stir up.

But with time, as we all know, the heaviness does lift, and we do smile again.

I found myself giggle yesterday in the car at a song lyric and immediately heard my inner critic say You’re not aloud to laugh or be happy right now, you’re sad. To which I had to immediately combat with a That’s ridiculous.

But through the pain and the grieving process of any loss, it’s difficult not to judge ourselves for how we are handling it, how we are coping, and when we’re “supposed” to move on.

I read a book recently called The Untethered Soul, as recommended by my life coach, Joy Stone, and it was tremendously helpful then and now. When reading books, I oftentimes underline or jot down key points, sentences, or theories that resonate with me, making it easy to open the book up at any time, at any place, and read the parts that stood out to hopefully gain some insight in a new moment of frailty.

I picked it up this morning, randomly opened it and read this:

Wise beings do not want to remain a slave to the fear of pain. They permit the world to be what it is instead of being afraid of it. They whole-heartedly participate in life, but not for the purpose of using life to avoid themselves.
If life does something that causes a disturbance inside of you, instead of pulling away, let it pass through you like the wind. After all, things happen every day that cause inner disturbance. At any moment you can feel frustrations, anger, fear, sadness… If you watch, you will see that the heart is trying to push it all away. If you want to be free, you have to learn to stop fighting these human feelings.
When you feel pain and suffering, simply view it as energy. Just start seeing these inner experiences as energy passing through your heart and before the eye of consciousness.
Then relax. Relax and release.
Let go and give room for the pain to pass through you. It’s just energy. See it as energy and let go [ instead of closing and clinging to it to protect your heart from future pain, suffering, and sadness. ]
If/when you close around something and cling to it, you will be psychologically sensitive about it for the rest of your life because you stored it inside of you.
Notice it as it bubbles up inside you, acknowledge and accept it and then allow it to pass through you.

I have a hard time letting go. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, because I am human and we are human and we are not perfect. But there’s a part of me that really wants to hold on to certain things. A part of me that wants to be sad forever as if somehow that means I care more or that thing was more special and that I am somehow more important because of my experience with it.

That mentality however, keeps me stuck in the past and in past experiences which ultimately create my present identity and future life story. When I think about it in this way, it’s a little easier to allow things to pass through me instead of holding onto them, forever trying to protect myself from feeling pain. In reality, that just creates more long-term pain rather than freedom to be open and to love anew.

Obviously there is time for grief, mourning, and sadness, but learning how to let it go, let it pass through me, is a bit trickier. How do I know if I am truly letting it go, or just saying I am but secretly holding onto it? I guess if I think about it as stored energy vs pain, I can see just how many pockets of pain my heart is holding onto. I can only now acknowledge them as they arise, release them, and in time, be free of their grip.

There is a point wherein I’d like to think that moving forward, letting it go and pass through me, doesn’t mean forgetting the love or the loss, but that it frees my heart to be able to love more instead of closing to keep the pain away.

I think it was Brene Brown that said when you numb yourself to pain, you also numb yourself to joy. Life is fleeting… Choosing to be happy through all of life’s hardships takes practice, and hard work. And if I know anything about myself, it’s that I’m determined and a hard-worker. As long as I choose happiness as a priority, the practice will soon become a ritual as simple as brushing my teeth and naturally I will adapt and evolve and accept life for all its ups and downs.


LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • laura

    January 31, 2014 |

    I think grief is an interesting one. I think that usually people expect it to be linear- that someone will be very sad after losing someone or something, and that it gets better. But it isn’t so easily laid out- I find that grief can pop up again at unexpected moments, and also dissipate unexpectedly at others. It is a long, odd period of peaks and troughs. Allow yourself to feel happy with the things that are good around you, and let yourself feel sad when you feel the absence. Your grief will always be unique. I’m glad to hear that you are having moments of joy amongst the pain. Look after yourself

  • Kathryn

    January 31, 2014 |

    My dad pasted away last year and in the last few months I have learned a lot about grief and how we process sadness. It is such an interesting thing and comes in waves. One of the quotes that I have found most comforting is this (and I don’t know where it comes from). ‘Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love.’ Trying to remember, that when I am sad, it is because I loved my dad so much is somehow comforting. I am sorry for your loss and want to check out that book!

  • Janice T

    January 31, 2014 |

    Hi Maegan, my condolences to you and your husband and family. I cried yesterday when I read about Leroy. Our pets are our family and it hurts so much to lose them. I always enjoy seeing your babies in your photos and blog. Leroy’s constant photo bombing always brought a smile to my face. His loss is felt with us, as well, your fans and readers. Please know that it’s ok to hurt less and less as time passes. And Leroy would want you to be happy. He’s with you in heart and spirit. Much love to you! ~Janice

  • Guest

    January 31, 2014 |

    Very true, Maegan.

  • drollgirl

    January 31, 2014 |

    omfg! easier said than done! said (typed) the girl that obsesses and dwells on everything and beats a dead horse daily! lol i need to re-read this post and TRY to apply the thoughts/suggestions to my life. seriously.

    hope you are hanging in there. i know this has been extremely difficult. life is not all easy, that is for sure!

  • 2expensivebitches

    January 31, 2014 |

    Oh man I swear I could have written this. Letting go is hard and I think some times it’s because being in pain is almost easier then being “happy”. When I read “when you numb yourself to pain, you also numb yourself to joy” wow did that hit home. Daily I think what is wrong with me because very few things bring me joy/happiness/excitement. Most of the time I just exist and get through the day. But how exactly do you move on, be happy but not forget? That’s the hard part.

  • AJ Rogers

    January 31, 2014 |

    I love this. Beautiful.


    January 31, 2014 |

    Lovely excerpts, and an honest and beautifully-worded post.

    This part resonated with me, and conversations I’ve had with my husband: “A part of me that wants to be sad forever as if somehow that means I care more or that thing was more special and that I am somehow more important because of my experience with it.”

    When I moved to Australia for a while to be with my hubby, I had to find a home for my beloved Doberman, Kanon, who was 4, and I’d had from the age of 3 months. I had very carefully selected this dog after having to put down my adopted 6-year-old Dobe, Ruger (whom I adopted at age 2). So I’d had only four years with both my sweet Dobies, and it crushed me to have to say goodbye to both, for different reasons. But I found Kanon a great home, and I left, only to repatriate later. I didn’t have the heart to ask for my dog back. He had gone to a family friend who had lost her own 12-year-old Doberman just weeks before I needed to find my boy a home, where he’d be an only-dog and well-loved.

    The one thing that got me through saying goodbye to Kanon was knowing that he has healed so many broken hearts: mine, as I had mourned the loss of Ruger; and his new family’s hearts (a childless couple), as they mourned the loss of their Duchess. It made me re-think that maybe, he was just on loan to me for a time, so he make me happy, then go on to his second life with his new family, and open their hearts again. I loved both of them immeasurably, even if they were very different personalities.

    When my husband decided to move to the U.S. to be with me, he left behind his Staffordshire Terrier. He was as cut about it as I was leaving my dog behind, only his dog stayed with his parents, where he lived anyway since our apartment did not allow pets. His dog is 15, and definitely showing his age, but he’s OK.

    It took my hubby a long time before he would consider letting another dog into his heart. We waited three years before we found our little rescue, Macy. At first, he was very conflicted about it, and had the same kind of feeling that he should stay sad and committed to his dog back home. He didn’t want to open himself up to loving another dog, because he felt it was a betrayal, and he also is very fixated on losing them. I tried to explain it to him like this: people who have kids love their first kid like crazy, and there is still room in their hearts to love a second kid like crazy. So there is room…and it’s OK…to be happy in sadness, or to love another little being, especially when it is one that really needs you. Now he admits that little Macy has really helped him here in the U.S. on the days he’s really missing his other home.

    I know this is a supremely long comment, but what I’m trying to say is that I’m glad you realize that you have to have an open heart to be able to experience the joy of love. It’s certainly ease said than done. I know that you have also had the challenge of wanting a child and not being able to have one, and that coupled with the loss of a dear pet is something I cannot imagine. But, as you said, Maegan, you are determined, and you are a strong, tender woman. And by sharing your honest feelings here, you lift us up and inspire us, and we (hopefully) lift you up in return. For me, that’s what the blogging world is all about. That’s why I keep at it.

    Just focus on one day at a time. Cry if you need to. It’s natural and normal. Laugh when something is funny, because that is natural and normal too. Soon the days will be longer, the sun warmer, and your sadness will fade, completely without guilt. You have nothing to feel guilty about in loving LeRoy and Bebop, and maybe another fur baby in the future. Our hearts may sometimes feel fragile, but God made sure of one thing when he made us and them: they have an unlimited capacity for love.


    January 31, 2014 |

    EEEK, wish I could edit my comment…please forgive my typos/omissions…

  • Jennifer

    January 31, 2014 |

    There’s a lot of relief knowing your pup is in a peaceful state and no longer suffering or uncomfortable. When we lost our dog to the inevitable knowing this made me smile and not worry or feel bad for them anymore. It’s the cycle of life.

  • Maxine

    January 31, 2014 |

    Thank you for posting this! I needed to read this… 3 weeks ago tomorrow I lost my Father. He was only 57. Life is so unfair. My emotions are so up and down, and I was also feeling bad for laughing or having happy times. Do you mind if I link to your post on my blog? I will credit you of course. I am working on the post about my heart break, and would like to add a link to this post. Thank you, and sorry for your loss.

  • Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie

    January 31, 2014 |

    Thank you for sharing this. I have a hard time letting go of things in the past sometimes. Even though I know the best option is to let go, it is hard and scary.

  • Ryoma Sakamoto.Japan

    February 1, 2014 |

    Hello! !
    To a friend.
    I will send the favorite song of me.

  • MA

    February 1, 2014 |

    Your words are very touching, grieve as long as you must. In time, the sadness will lift and again you will feel happiness. xo


  • Maegan Tintari

    February 1, 2014 |

    Hi Maxine~

    I lost my dad to skin cancer when he was only 54 back in 2003… I totally understand. It’s just too young to go. Of course you can reference this post. I hope you find peace in your heart and mind with your loss and I’m so sorry you’ve had to suffer through it. It’s so hard. xo

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