Sadness is as good as happiness. Embrace it.

Abraham Villarreal
3 min readJan 3, 2020
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

In the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jim Carrey plays the role of Joel, a troubled man filled with grief over a woman he can barely remember. He tries to remember her, but his memories are quickly fading. Joel, and many others in his community, had a medical procedure done to erase the memories of loved ones, including former pets.

Imagine that? Being able to completely erase something for which you never want to think of again. The movie makes a convincing case that people are happier not thinking of something or someone that might make them cry.

While I loved the movie, I really disliked the idea that as a society we should only be filled with happiness. After all, what is happiness? Is it truly everlasting? I don’t think so. Like any other human emotion, happiness comes and goes, and it doesn’t always happen when we expect it. I’m happy writing, and I am happy that you are reading. Still, later today, I might be disappointed about something, and that’s o.k.

We often hear the clichés about not knowing successes until we experience failures. We like these cliches because we need something to help us justify our failures. We don’t want disappointments to feel like real disappointments, we want them to feel like necessary elements of success.

I feel the same way about happiness. I don’t really know how happy I am unless I know of all the alternatives, and I don’t really know about all the alternatives unless I experience them. And knowing all this, as a society, we do everything we can to avoid experiencing the alternatives. Failure is not an option!

I’m o.k. with failures, sadness, crying, and bad moments. From them, I get to understand the complexities of the human experience. Growing up, I remember my parents always tried to showcase their kids as the best kids around. To others, we were well-mannered and obedient, and while that was the case a lot of the times, it wasn’t always.

My youngest brother ended up in juvenile detention. I ditched classes throughout my senior year in high school. My parents are now divorced…

Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting things. I write about them and what makes them interesting.