Recently, we looked at “Why Fear is Your Friend,” and learned that Fear can guide you towards what’s important for you, motivate you to take action to improve your odds, and you give you a rush. This week, we discuss why Sadness is your friend. OK, you probably think that idea is nuts. Who wants to be Sad? Well, OK, I get that, Sadness sometimes feels bad, but I want you to get that like Fear, Sadness can be a good friend.
“All well and good, Master Yoda,” you say, “but how does that work?”
First, Sadness is about losing something you care about, whether that’s a loved one, a job, or a football game…so, Sadness shows you what you care about (because some people honestly don’t know, and that’s, well, SAD!) Would you feel Sadness if your girlfriend / boyfriend left? The answer tells you how attached you are to this person. How Sad would you feel if you lost your job? You see where this is going.
Along the same lines, experiencing the Sadness of loss helps us to appreciate what we still have. Losing a loved one, while extremely Sad and painful, can be the kick in the pants we need to mend the fences, reach out, or otherwise make the best of the relationships and opportunities we still have. Funerals are painful and gut-wrenching occasions, and they are great for bringing people back together, burying old conflicts, healing wounds, but it only works if you show up and feel the Sadness and let it bring you together with the others there. One who can’t bear Sadness will tend to shy away from love, commitment, and real passion, in order to avoid grief, and that’s an empty life.
Similarly, losing a job can help you appreciate that you still have your health. Losing your health can bring loved ones together. Losing money can help you to focus on what really matters to you, your values, your sense of mission, your spirituality.
Lastly, Sadness has authenticity to it. Grieving has a way of slowing you down and bringing you back to the moment. It forces you to let go of your worries about your to-do list and next quarter’s numbers and your fast-paced life and really be with yourself, your feelings and the people around you. This is important today because we can get so lost in our smart phones and emails and plans and lose sight of people, relationships, and dreams.
So, this week’s bottom line is that Sadness shows you what you care about, Sadness helps us to appreciate what we have, and Sadness requires us to be authentic. This is the kind of friend who can help you to stay grounded and real, to honor what’s important and let go of what’s not, and we all need that kind of friend.