It is normal to struggle with the painful feelings that life evokes. Feelings are normal, natural and necessary byproducts of living a life full of experience. There are five primary feelings–anger, sadness, happiness, loneliness and fear. All are other feelings fall under the umbrella of these very important ones.

Today’s column is devoted to sadness. Sadness can be uncomfortable. When people experience sadness, they may emote publicly. Some people cry outwardly whereby others cry inwardly. When people show their discomfort they may feel uncomfortable wearing their feelings on their sleeves. However, when one displays their emotions it can help others to identify the hurt.

What is far more insidious is the person who hides their feelings or internalizes their sadness. When people don’t accept and move through their feelings they may tend to deny them altogether. Some people refuse to feel sadness, instead feeling numbness as opposed to the pain.

How comfortable are you when sadness occurs in your life? If you don’t stay true to your feelings you lose your authenticity. When you lose your authenticity you lose the true essence of yourself.

Sadness is pain, and pain is uncomfortable. Despite the pain, it is important to feel the emotion. I often teach clients that they must accept and surrender to their feelings because it is a necessary step to working through them. Once you move through them, you can use them to motivate you and make changes in yourself or in your circumstances.

Sadness is not a weakness. People who avoid the normal periods of sadness will likely internalize it and look at life through the filter of sadness. When someone experiences sadness for a long period of time it can result in a chemical imbalance and lead to depression or dysthymia. Dysthymic disorder is a condition of depression that lasts for over two years.
People with this condition have low energy, feelings of hopelessness, poor concentration, and sleeping or appetite difficulties. To avoid this chronic condition, it is imperative to recognize and honor your sadness and to have faith that the pain will resolve itself with help from you.

What can you do if you have been sad and know that you need to work through the feelings?

  • Sharing your sad feelings can be helpful because it allows others to validate, console, and nurture you.
  • The next time you feel sad, use it as an opportunity to write, draw or generate an expression of that sadness. You will be amazed at how your feelings can initiate great ideas. Some of the best writers and artists use periods of sadness to create their greatest masterpieces.
  • Sadness can be a great motivator for change to improve the quality of your life. Sad feelings can inspire you to look for ways to help others, contribute to charity, or go on personal missions.

I know that I am always emphasizing that it is important for you to focus on the positives in life. However, it is equally important to feel the unpleasant emotions too. Although happiness is a choice, it is imperative that you feel the tough feelings to gauge what they have to teach you. Once you recognize and honor them you will be stronger because of them.

For most people, sadness is a precursor to knowing joy and true happiness. Getting comfortable with the pain allows you the greatest opportunity for growth. Therefore, it’s important not to hide or deny your feelings, but feel them fully to maximize what you have to learn about life.

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