At a young age, we are brought up to believe that happiness is the ultimate goal. We strive to reach consistent positivity, hopeful that we will be guided towards a life filled with genuine joy.
We like being confident in what our future holds. There is comfort in having the ability to talk about security; the parts of our lives that we know are headed in the right direction. This naturally includes the emotion of happiness.
It is evident that few people go through life craving sadness. This emotion may occur when things don’t go according to plan; we feel like our lives begin to spiral out of control. Sometimes, there isn’t an explanation for this feeling. The emotion consumes us with its demoralizing power, yet we may not even know why it’s there to begin with.
We are often told to stay optimistic and focus on the brighter side of life. We have regularly been reminded that our emotions are under our own control, and to seek out happiness, we must have the right attitude.
While this may sometimes be true, I cannot whole-heartedly agree.
Our society has been trained to believe that sadness is poisonous, and if we are experiencing this emotion, we must demolish it immediately. It is too easy to feel ashamed or foolish simply for feeling sad. This can cause us to rush the process; we ignore or resent sadness instead of embracing it.
Last year, I experienced severe sorrow when I learned that my boyfriend at the time had cheated on me, and I had to find out from someone else 11 months later. My emotions were at war; my head was battling my heart. I felt alone and betrayed, and truly had no idea that type of agony could exist.
I was originally in denial. I tried telling myself that I was going to gain something from this disastrous situation, and become stronger. I resorted to immediate positivity, and tried to skip the phase of sadness. However, the feeling only caught up to me, and when the pain struck, it hit me hard.
Through this healing process I have learned that sadness isn’t a feeling that should be frowned upon. Sometimes it is an emotion we need to feel; it forces us to find our vulnerability. Sometimes sadness can be okay.
Sadness forces us to embrace change, instead of fear it.
Change is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t intimidating. However, we may be more motivated to change different aspects of our lives so we can surpass the sadness. Change is scary, but it also gives us hope that we have control to find happiness in new ways.
Sadness helps us measure growth and progress.
There is no better way to track personal development, than evaluating your emotions. We are given the opportunity to look back and note when we felt like we hit our lowest point. We can spot the different levels of sadness, and recognize progress we are undergoing. And if we are momentarily stuck at rock bottom, then at least we know it can only get better.
Sadness allows us to emphasize, not sympathize.
No matter what the source of our sadness is (if any), we naturally can relate with others who are experiencing similar emotions. We are capable of understanding a feeling without needing to put it into words. The beauty of empathy encourages vulnerability, which makes relationships stronger and connections deeper.
Sadness makes us grateful for those times of happiness.
Before experiencing sadness, it is easy to subconsciously take those moments of genuine happiness for granted. When we are in a sad place, those short flashes of joy are more apparent and more meaningful. It is only after experiencing sorrow, that we are aware and appreciative of the happiness that once felt natural.
If you are experiencing any type of sadness, remember that it is okay. Be proud of yourself for being honest and vulnerable. Once you are ready to embrace this emotion, you will naturally begin the journey on the path that leads to joy. It may be a new type of happiness, but I can promise that you will be a stronger person than you were before.