A private coaching client called me this past week and asked me to help her get over her feelings of sadness.
She was unhappy with the way her life was going lately. I understood. I asked her the usual questions about what was happening for her and then I asked, “What’s wrong with feeling sad?”
She explained rather quickly that she didn’t feel motivated or inspired and in truth, was no picnic to be around. Again, I asked, “What’s wrong with feeling sad?”
“I don’t like it,” she confessed. Ahhhh! So that’s it. You don’t like being sad.
Again, I understood. It seems no one likes to be sad unless it is his or her mode of operation. You know the type. Everything is sad and hard and challenging. They sigh a lot and throw poor-me pity parties. They emit sadness to manipulate individuals in their life and it is the foundation for their “Story of the Day.”
The story that keeps them stuck on their Wheel of Fear. It’s as if they believe they were actually happy, something terrible would happen. They warn others about the importance of not getting too hopeful and explain the dangers that lurk ahead.
In other words, for people who use sadness to keep life at bay, the thought of joyful living seems somehow a crime.
Another form of sadness is the basic human emotion that we feel whenever we experience any type of loss. It doesn’t have to be a “bad” loss, like losing a business or a spouse. It could be loss that has happened because something good happened.
For instance, it could be the loss of familiar surroundings when you finally get that promotion. Or the loss you experience when you move into a new neighborhood.
It could be the loss of the life you leave behind as you enter new phases of your life and achieve more success.
Each time we change (and we are continuously changing) we feel some sense of sadness and loss. That’s natural.
But most of us have equated sadness with “something is wrong” and therefore, we become afraid that we’ve made the wrong decision. Some of us back away from the very things we desire or put our goals on hold.
Feeling sad is not a good barometer of fear.
Fear tells you not to admit when you’re feeling sad, even to yourself. Fear wants you to brush it aside, pretending it doesn’t exist.
The bad news is when we deny the feelings moving through us, we are denying ourselves. And we may be actually keeping the freedom we crave at arm’s length.
Sadness may be just what we need to embrace to achieve new levels of success, joy and love in our lives.
Now, I am not talking about making decisions based on your sadness. I am talking about feeling your sadness and taking actions based on your commitments.
This week I am feeling sad, even in the midst of my joy-inspired success. I am sad because I know I am about to make some dramatic changes in my life that will leave little the same. That brings up excitement, but I also feel a prevailing sadness for the loss I am experiencing as part of this change.
I have come to understand that sadness is just part of the process of change.
It almost feels like a shedding of skin, letting me know I am in the process of becoming more.
I don’t make it part of my conversation. I don’t walk around looking or feeling wounded. But I do take the time to process my sadness by feeling it fully taking care of myself while I’m in it.
I reminded my client that sadness usually arises to let you know you are ready to let go of something in your life that is no longer working for you.
I urged her to allow it to come up while making decisions based on her commitments.
She called me a few days later to thank me for giving her the internal permission she needed to feel sad.
She realized that she had been pushing aside a feeling of loss related to a promotion she had been offered.
When she was able to take a good hard look at her sadness, she realized she was afraid to take the next step in her career because, even though it was validation of all of her hard work, she was afraid she didn’t have the credentials to keep up with her new colleagues.
Allowing herself to be sad, gave her the courage to tap into the fear that was holding her back. Then she was able to choose to take the promotion with increased self-confidence, knowing she could count on herself.
Sadness is nothing to fear.
“The Feeling You Are Afraid to Feel is Running Your Life” – RB
When was the last time you felt sad?
Do you have a reoccurring feeling of sadness?
How often do you feel sad?
How did you behave when you last experienced feelings of sadness?
How would you like the experience to be different next time?
Name one way you could alter your present view of sadness (or any other feeling for that matter).
List 10 things you could do to nurture yourself the next time sadness visits.
Decide on a set amount of time you will allow yourself to feel sad.
If you are indulger, keep it to a minimum. If you don’t allow yourself to feel on a regular basis, then you can be more liberal with your time.
Next time sadness hits, remind yourself that it is just part of the process of moving, expanding and changing.
Your opportunity is to no longer judge it but instead allow yourself to feel it while making decisions based on commitments.