I know, being sad is a bummer.
Most people don’t want to sign up for experiencing sadness. It’s not exactly pleasant.
However, sadness is actually an important part of the human experience.
Just like it is important that our cells die off and replace themselves. If they did not, we would not grow taller and our cells would not get replaced when they get worn out or damaged.
Or, just like spring cleaning is important. If we do not clean out our homes from time to time, things become outdated and cluttered. The process of cleaning isn’t exactly fun, but the result feels good.
Sadness is about releasing and cleansing.
Before we go further, let’s circle back to this for a second:
The human emotional system is built as a messaging system.
Each emotion has a general message it wants to convey. Once that message is delivered, the emotion or the wave of that emotion can subside.
Sometimes it takes a little time for the emotion to process through the body, sometimes it is relieved right away.
It’s important to remember that here are nuances to the system. Each emotion also has a spectrum of how helpful it is.
Ok, back to sadness itself.
The basic message of sadness is that there is something that needs to be released. It may be a vision, a dream, an expectation, a person, a situation, a job, a habit or dynamic. Really anything that needs to be released is a loss.
Releasing it is not as scary as it sounds. All I’m saying is releasing something as it was.
For example: Maybe you changed jobs and the part you will miss the most are your co-workers. Your co-workers do not leave the planet never to be seen again. You do not have to “release” them. It’s just that you will not see your co-workers 8 hours a day, 5 days a week as you did before. You are releasing the relationship with your co-workers as it was. It changes into something different.
If sadness is about release, how do you release something?
While there are different ways that suit different people, here are some strategies:
- You can honor what was by feeling or expressing gratitude for it by writing about it or sharing about it with someone.
- You can cry. The practice of pure crying is what I believe to be most helpful.
- If you don’t feel to cry, just recognize the sensation of sadness in your body: that pain in your chest or catch in your throat. Be still for a few moments and just pay attention to it. It will likely move or dissolve if it is not a huge wave of sadness.
- You can focus your attention on making space for what is to come since the release is happening to make space for what comes next.
- Realize there will be a void. A period of time between what was before and what will come as there needs to be an adjustment. Give yourself some grace.
What happens if I don’t experience my sadness?
If you try to stop the sadness, it can get buried and compressed.
Sometimes compounded sadness becomes depression.
Sometimes stopping sadness can turn into feeling numb. After all, it is not possible to turn down the volume on one feeling only. Turning down the volume on one is turning down the volume on all.
Sometimes that sadness can manifest physically.
At the end of the day, if you think about your internal, emotional world as a home, you want to keep the air circulating.
No one wants to live in a stuffy, cluttered home.