Romanticization of Sorrow: The Desire of Always Feeling Sad


        Why are some people really into sad music? Why do we tend to romanticize pain? Why do we validate our emotions by showing our weaknesses? Do we really deserve happiness? In a world where happiness and positivity are highly valued, it may seem perplexing that some individuals long for sadness, almost romanticizing the idea of experiencing mental health issues. Such a peculiar phenomenon highlights the complexity of human emotion. While the desire to be sad may seem counterintuitive, it sheds light on the intricacies of the human psychological realm. There’s an emerging trend, particularly among adolescents, that romanticizes sadness as a means of gaining empathy or attention. This inclination evokes melancholic feelings; although not universal, it can be observed predominantly among Gen Z individuals.

       Depression has been on the rise among adolescents, which is leading to concerns about the normalization and glorification of the agony that they suffer. It is a severe mental condition which requires proper treatment and support. Yet, some of them find solace in their struggle, believing that their sadness defines them in a unique and profound way. This happening can be attributed to the pressure that they face in a hyperconnected world, where comparisons on social media platforms are constant. The desire to be sad can be an emotional response by virtue of their sheer conformation, as if embracing sadness is a form of rebellion against societal expectations.

         Social media platforms undoubtedly play a significant role in the romanticization of mental health issues as well. On these platforms, individuals often share their experiences with depression and other mental health-related issues. While such pervasiveness is crucial for reducing stigma and providing support, they can also inadvertently contribute to the allure of misery. Furthermore, the wide range of images, posts, and stories can give rise to a skewed perception of reality. It can lead to a dangerous belief that emotional pain possesses distinctive charm for personal growth. However, it isn’t necessarily true!

     The effects of romanticizing emotional pain extend far beyond observable behavior. In the psychological realm, it can perpetuate a cycle of self-destructive demeanor once someone embraces so-called “tragically beautiful sadness”, believing it is the only way to be noticed or understood. Besides, it can downplay the experiences of those who are genuinely suffering from mental illness. It may cause skepticism and misunderstanding towards the one who really needs support and treatment.

         After all, it is okay to be okay. Yes, you heard it right. Though some say that it is okay not to be okay, it carries the notion of prompting ourselves to stay in the state of anxiety, depression, and sorrow. I don’t think that the latter is a healthy mindset as it tries to reject recovery in general. While embracing sadness may serve as a coping mechanism for some, unfortunately, it normalizes harmful habits and sets someone who genuinely struggles aside. Recognizing the distinction between genuine experiences and romanticized notions is crucial for the well-being of individuals in the sense that there will not be any bad stigmatization towards mental health issues anymore. 

Writer: M. Dimas Ferdiansyah
Elisabeth Grisella S.