My Thoughts On Sadness

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adness can be one of the most challenging emotions to experience.  Sadness can hit us like a brick wall. Sometimes it arrives out of nowhere – overwhelming, all-consuming, debilitating, raw emotion.  Throughout my professional practice, I have seen many individuals struggle through some really dark and difficult times on a path to heal from past experiences, cope with present conflicts, and to reconnect with their authentic selves. Really, there seem to be three common approaches that we humans take to deal with sadness, at least from what I’ve observed and experienced.

First there is avoidance. The sadness is there, buried deep down and sometimes it has been kept there for many years. We humans can go to great lengths to keep that sadness on lock down! People manage this avoidance in very creative ways; by distracting themselves with business, work, alcohol, food, exercise and anything else that fills up so much space in their life that they don’t have to face the sadness. Sometimes sadness is avoided by other emotions too; like anger, resentment, or even through humour.

The next approach (and they don’t always go in order) is what I’m going to call feeling but fighting. This is when we feel the sadness, but hate it and try to move through it as quickly as possible. Some people allow critical self-talk to take over, and tell themselves that they’re being silly or over-reacting, or put themselves down for being sad. Move over sadness, and make way for guilt, shame, self-deprecation! I’m not sure if those feelings are any easier to move through actually…

Finally, and this is the ideal approach; feeling the sadness in its entirety. Be still with the messiness of it all, because as Danielle Laporte so eloquently states: 

Take the time to stop, admit the experience of pain and take the opportunity to become better acquainted with the depths of YOU, as a multi-dimensional, layered human being. And most of all, pile on the love. Ask for help. Care for yourself during times of sadness the way you would care for a small child. The sadness will pass, but the lessons that we learn through the experience of such authentic emotion will last a lifetime and beyond.

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