You Can Be Happy And Sad At The Same Time — And That's Okay

If no one has given you permission to express yourself how you need to, I give you that permission.

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By Larissa Martin

Over the past several years, I’ve gone through considerable life changes. I’ve lost a sibling, my parents separated and ultimately divorced, my best friends moved further away and started families, and so much more.

I have accepted all of this, but I’m still processing and coming to terms with everything that happened. I still can be sad about it, and that’s okay.

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Recently, one of my best friends moved from New Jersey to DC. Because of that, we went from seeing each other every month to every other month. And now they are moving to the West Coast, specifically to Seattle, Washington. And that’s a lot to handle.

I’m in the denial phase of this situation.

This friend has been there for me through so much these last few years; I couldn’t have gotten through these rough couple of years without them and my other best friends. I’d be lost without all the support they have given me.

This recent change has been hard on me. My mom and those in my immediate circle don’t see it as a big deal. They tell me that my friend can come and visit, or vice versa, and they tell me to think positively, among other comments meant to comfort me.


While I understand their intentions, that doesn’t change my emotions. You can’t change how someone else feels or how they cope with change.

Of course, I feel happy for this friend.

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They have wanted to make this move ever since I have known them. But that doesn’t mean I can’t feel upset about them leaving. Those two feelings can coexist.


If I was happy about this change, would it be an issue? Probably not, because happiness is an acceptable emotion.

People don’t consider sadness an acceptable emotion. Sadness makes people uncomfortable; that’s why they prefer if we’re happy.

One of my best friends recently pointed out that this is another form of grief I am experiencing on top of the grief I am already dealing with; I think people consider certain forms of grief more acceptable than others. Mine is not one most people feel comfortable with.

I’m allowed to grieve and help myself get to a place of acceptance and comfort in any way I see fit. We all know the inevitability of change, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Your feelings about it are valid.


If no one has given you permission to express yourself how you need to, I give you that permission.

You can go through this change, whatever that may be, in whatever way you need. You don’t have to feel better right away. Be patient and kind with yourself during this period of change. You deserve to feel your emotions fully.

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Larissa Martin is a writer and self-published author whose work covers love, lifestyle, and pop culture topics. She has had bylines featured on MSN, Yahoo Lifestyle, Thrive Global, Thought Catalog, Project Wednesday, The Minds Journal, and The Mighty.