Sadness is a basic human feeling, like joy, anger, pain …
it’s a feeling that, in general, you don’t like to feel, but if you accept it and try not to fight it, IT’LL PASS.
But that’s the difficult thing: “going through it”
With this post I’ll try to offer a different perspective on sadness, so you can look at it not so much as a weakness but as a sign of strength.
Judgments about sadness
Being sad has several associated judgments, for example:
- being sad is being weak
- sadness makes you small
- strong people don’t cry (or aren’t sad)
- sadness is useless
Besides, how many ads have you ever seen where the person was sad?
So somehow sadness isn’t “considered correct”.
But of course, as a human being, it’s the most normal thing in the world if, occasionally, you feel sad.
But since it has so many associated negative judgments, depending on who you tell you feel sad, they may answer something like:
“You’re not sad!”, “Come on, It’s not such a big deal!”
And I wonder, what’s wrong with feeling sad?
In fact, I’ve had to tell people,
- “yes, I’m sad, but it’s ok”,
- “feeling sad isn’t bad”,
- “yes, I feel sad, so what? What’s the problem?”
What happens when you try to avoid feeling sad, at all costs?
If you want to avoid feeling sad, you’d need to avoid your emotions, so you can become:
- hyperactive: because when you “do”, you don’t “feel”.
- compulsive: having a compulsive behavior, like cleaning intensively, with the purpose of “not feeling”.
- impulsive: go shopping and, impulsively, buy what you don’t need to calm down your feelings.
But tell me,
Do you think any of these options will actually make your sadness go away?
Maybe in the short term, yes, but definitely not in the long term, NO.
The fear of being sad
One of my customers told me:
“My biggest fear of being sad, is to getting caught in that sadness and not being able to leave.”
A while ago, I felt that way.
Because I didn’t understand that accepting sadness and allowing myself to feel it, is the greatest act of strength that one can do.
Since the less I fight against it and the more I give up, the more strength I have.
Because now I know that sadness is just another feeling, and it won’t sink me into despair or lead me into depression.
It’s a way to release emotions like any other.
And when you do it, you feel strong because you know it’s you who controls your emotions, and not them who control you.
Manage the sadness
To manage this feeling, I propose you 2 steps:
Step 1: Accept sadness
To manage an emotion you have to be able to identify it.
And then accept it.
You feel sad?
Your sadness is welcomed.
Open yourself to it.
Allow yourself to feel it.
Remain calm, nothing will happen to you.
Imagine sadness as a friend who comes to tell you something.
Find its message.
- Is there any reason that has caused that feeling?
- Has something happened in your life that made you feel that way?
At this point, I want you to consider one thing:
Some situations in life are painful, and they have to happen.
For example, mourning, a breakup, being fired from work, fighting with a relative, your children having problems, having economic difficulties…
Feeling sad is a natural consequence of those situations.
Step 2: Decide if you can do something for yourself
Find the reason for your sadness.
And, when you find it, decide:
Can you do something about that situation?
You can’t change what’s happening, but you can change your ATTITUDE towards what is happening.
What’s your sadness telling you?
Has anyone spoken badly of you and did it make you feel sad? Maybe it’s time to learn to set some limits?
Does your partner mistreat you and that makes you feel sad? Maybe your sadness is telling you that the relationship isn’t working?
Sadness as a sign of strength
The greatest sadness I’ve felt in my life was when I broke up with someone I loved, but those “way of loving me” harmed me more than how it benefited me.
It was a very hard experience and luckily, I had help from a therapist.
But if you didn’t already know it, EVERYTHING PASSES.
And sadness does, too.
Once I’d recovered from that pain, I realized I’d never had to go through something similar again.
The sadness I felt, taught me that I should set limits, and that I shouldn’t allow certain things to happen.
After a while my inner strength grew tremendously.
Today I know that accepting sadness helps overcome painful situation more quickly, because instead of avoiding it, you listen to what it has to tell you.
Every human being has resilience, the ability to overcome those difficulties or problems that life presents.
And that means you also have it.
So if you don’t want your sadness to become actual suffering, just accept it and find the best way to get through it.
If the situation overwhelms you, find help. I did it, and it helped me a lot.
You don’t have to go through it alone. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and take advantage of a free Skype session.