'Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone,' was often heard while I was growing up, my mum would often say this. For a long time I thought she meant that if you were happy and laughing then everyone else would like to join in with you but if you felt sad it was better if you went away in a quiet corner somewhere until you felt more cheerful, like it's not fair to show other people your sadness. My job was to be cheerful.
The other day though I happened to come across this poem that she must have been quoting from and I thought maybe it has a different more negative meaning. Other people aren't interested in your sad state. I know I am very grateful to those friends that let me get things of my chest every now and then. The ones that don't abandon you when you go through a bad patch, that like being with you whatever the weather.
The poem is called 'Solitude' by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, (1850 - 1919)
Laugh, and the world laughs with you,
weep, and you weep alone.
for sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer,
Sigh, it is lost on the air,
the echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.
Rejoice, and men will seek you,
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many,
be sad, and you lose them all,
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.