Are you wondering if I’ve lost my marbles? I know on the face of it sadness would seem to be the opposite of happiness, but if you’ll bear with me …
Sadness is a normal and natural feeling. As we go through life we will experience loss over and over and over again. Loss of people, jobs, health, lifestyles and more. And it’s very normal to grieve these losses.
In fact, not only is it normal, but it is essential to our overall and ongoing well-being.
Many people are afraid to let themselves feel their sadness and choose to repress it instead. Generally, they’re afraid that if they indulge their feelings of sadness they will get stuck in them.
However, the very opposite is true. The way out of sadness is through it. You have to feel your feelings in order for them to truly pass. And they will. Emotion is energy in motion.
But what you resist, persists. Maybe not at a conscious level, but the sadness you’re denying will always be lurking there beneath the surface, waiting for another trigger to bring it forth. And the likelihood is, the next time you experience loss it will hit you harder because you’re still subconsciously carrying the pain of the last one.
Ok, here’s the science bit: when natural emotions are continuously repressed they develop into much stronger, unnatural emotions.
Grief becomes Chronic Depression
Anger becomes Rage
Envy becomes Jealousy
Fear becomes Panic
Love becomes Possessiveness
If the above makes sense to you, then it’s not a huge leap to accept that allowing yourself to feel sadness is important if you want to nurture your personal happiness.
In addition, alternative health practitioners believe that the suppression of natural emotions is the cause of many physical illnesses. (Read You can heal your Life by Louise Hay for more info, or check out this short and lovely presentation by Dr. Dráuzio Varella on The Art of Wellness at the end of this page on my website)
Our natural emotions need expression, not repression.
Now you won’t have to go very far on this blog to find posts where I encourage looking at what’s going on in your life from a positive perspective in order to feel happier. But if you’ve experienced any kind of loss, allowing yourself to feel the sadness is just as important as shifting your perspective. You need to do both.
Allow yourself a day, or a weekend, or twenty minutes every evening for a month, or whatever works for you. But allow yourself some time to feel sad. It is normal. Have a really good cry. That helps you to release your sadness and move through it. You often feel much lighter afterwards. (If you never seem to get any relief and your sadness is persisting for a disproportionate length of time, you need to consider the possibility that you may be depressed and go see a doctor)
True happiness is not about living a life with no crises, no sadness, no anger, no illness. It is about dealing with these issues when they do arise, moving through them as positively as possible so that you have the capacity to fully appreciate and enjoy the good stuff.
Your overall happiness and well-being requires you to acknowledge and feel your negative emotions, and then let them go. That frees up your energy to choose and embrace more positive emotions, to move on.
So, the next time you’re sad about something, instead of repressing your sadness I heartily recommend a good cry ; )