THE DISTORTION OF SADNESS
#1: Sadness Isn’t a “Thing”
The first thing to know about sadness is that it isn’t tangible… it’s not a “thing.” Sadness is a state of mind based on your interpretation of life. When you feel sad, who you really are isn’t sad. It’s your limited perspective that’s sad. Being sad just means you’ve come to a negative, sad conclusion about something, and sad conclusions are inherently misperceptions of what’s real… an innocent ignorance of a higher truth. But before we go any further, it’s important to recognize that sadness as an experience isn’t easy. And sometimes a “good cry” over what we’re sad about is healthy. Crying can serve as a reset and partial purge of a negative mindset. Ultimately, though, it isn’t events in life that determine whether we’re sad. It’s the meaning we give to events, or how we interpret them, that determines if we experience sadness. At first, this principle may seem purely academic and detached from life. But if you closely observe your inner process around being sad, you’ll find that sadness is rooted in a mental perspective. What’s happening in life is simply what’s happening in life… and it happens before the experience of sadness happens. The sad experience comes after the event when interpretation is made and meaning is assigned. The flaw in that process is that the mind often makes assumptions and jumps to conclusions without having a complete perspective. Whether this is about smaller things – missing a plane, being stood up on a date, spraining an ankle… or larger things – losing a job, contracting a disease, the death of a loved one… we talk ourselves into believing that we’re all-knowing oracles who have the ultimate authority on what’s good, bad, fortunate, and unfortunate. But – as life neverendingly tries to teach us – we are not oracles… and there is always the x-factor of what we don’t know about where circumstances will lead and what they really mean in the never-ending journey of our soul.
#2: Sadness Points to Something Bigger
Joy is inexorably connected to love and truth. If joy is gone (and sadness is present), then either love or truth is missing. Just because we don’t have an immediate explanation or truth about why something happened doesn't mean there isn’t one. Incorrect interpretations and beliefs about life (and death) block our view of higher truths regarding difficult circumstances. Sadness is experienced when things don’t go the way we want. But until we grow into a broader awareness that’s beyond our narrow, self-centered perspective, we’ll be distressed when life doesn’t show up how we want it to. We won’t see that not getting our way can actually be a good thing. It generally means there is something bigger on the horizon… a more magnificent truth or outcome that we haven’t imagined. Being humble enough to admit that our sight is limited is essential to overcoming sadness. The first step into that peaceful humility is to get out of your mind and into your heart. Thinking – especially in an emotional state – can be a deceptive endeavor that very often defaults to negative conclusions. But the heart knows what the mind can’t conceive, and the heart (or intuition) is the only part of you that can effectively navigate truth beyond intellect. Your heart is what lifts you above sadness and opens you to possibilities that would never have crossed your mind.
#3: Sadness is a “Needs Improvement” Indicator
Whether you’re sad about the state of your own life or the state of the world, sadness is a very effective “needs improvement” indicator. When sadness is present, it’s inviting you to upgrade your life perspective. And an upgraded perspective drastically increases your capacity to change your life for the better– as well as change the world around you. But that’s part of life’s joy - becoming more aware, climbing to higher heights, making things better, cleaning things up, and helping others. It’s virtually impossible to be sad while doing these things. Sadness is nothing more than a cloud that blocks the ever-present sun of higher truth. The good news is that sadness is not sustainable. It provides a relentless discomfort which doesn’t allow us to settle for less. It urges us to keep searching for what we’ve clearly missed. And when we take up that search, sadness becomes a catapult for change – both internally and externally. Life is bigger than sadness… and so are you. There is always the potential to transform sadness, suffering, and trauma into something beautiful.
(Ask questions and post comments through email or on this website’s social media links)