Hello there, everyone. Recently, I've been experiencing some more emotionally difficult times. While on the one hand, it sucks, on the other, it's given me a lot of great insights into myself and my life, and I can happily say that I am steadily recovering.
Today I want to discuss how one deals with sadness. It seems as though our culture does not provide many tools for acceptance and understanding of negative feelings, so I hope you will find this post a helpful resource for accomplishing these things. I'm not a psychologist or a therapist, but I can speak from my own experience.
One thing I realize that is most helpful when dealing with sadness, or any negative feeling really, is just feeling that feeling, very deeply. In fact, depending on whatever you are dealing with and whatever event or experience, or a combination of a few of those, has made you upset, you may be dealing with a whole wicked range of feeling. These might range from shame to anger to grief to everything in between. That is totally ok. Just let yourself feel those feelings, to the fullest depths that you can. When I am doing this, sometimes I cry for pretty much entire days. If you want to do that too and you think it will help, there is absolutely no shame in that!
Try to devote a non-busy day or weekend to this process. Definitely allow yourself time to just feel. You don't have to journal or analyze your feelings or even think about them at all, just let them happen, and let your urges dictate your actions. If you want to scream, cool. If you want to punch something, great. If you want to curl up into a tiny ball on your bed under your covers and whimper like a depressed puppy, go for it. Heck, do all three. Feel your feelings and let them out.
After a period of time spent doing this, you may either begin to feel like you no longer feel the feelings you were dealing with, or you may begin to understand that you can feel them without them being overwhelming and dictating your actions, like you were letting them do earlier. This is kind of a coming-down experience from the peak in the emotional roller coaster.
This is a good time to discuss and observe your feelings. There are many ways you can do this. What I like to do best for this stage is spend equally large amounts of time either talking to others about how I feel, or hanging out by myself, preferably in nature, the place I feel most comfortable. When I am alone, I spend a lot of time thinking about my feelings and trying to understand them. I sift through all the emotions I am feeling. I try to gather up every one of them, and then I go through them, one by one, and determine all the possible reasons I could feel that particular emotion. Journalling is also often a helpful way to do this, as is talking with others, as I mentioned earlier. Other people who care about you and who are good listeners can be especially helpful in helping you understand and even mitigate your negative feelings.
The ultimate reason for most my feelings, and the conclusion I often come to, is the feeling that I am inadequate, that I am not good enough. This belief can manifest itself as an emotional experience in a hundred different ways.
For example, let's say a friend insults you, or does something rude. You are surprised and upset. You probably feel angry at the person who did it, and also sad that they would do something like that. Maybe you feel sad because you think you deserved what they did, or because they think you deserved it. Maybe you think that you deserved it because you think that you are not good enough.
This is not the best example, but it does show how you can see a connection between each emotion. With each feeling you come across, simply ask why you feel that way. Eventually you will find an answer that you can no longer question, and this will usually be a deep-rooted belief, one such as I am not good enough.
Well, guess what honey? You are good enough!You are beautiful and perfect and unique in your own special way. You have not been treated the way you truly deserve. What you truly deserve is love, happiness, kindness, and compassion. I promise.
Even if you cannot fully grasp the above concept (goodness knows I have trouble with it), just finding the true root of your troubles, the belief that causes your negative feelings, is comforting in itself. Now you know what you must change, in order to feel better. You must work on that belief, and take it from limiting and depressing, to limitlessly positive.
These times of clarity are great, and for me, they are definitely the silver lining of sadness. However, often they will slip from our mind as daily life takes over again. Do your best to remember what you have learned about yourself, but also allow yourself to feel negative feelings. It's still okay to be sad. Just know that you can recover.
It's perfectly okay to go through this process more than once. I go through it extremely often, sometimes on a daily basis.
What I want to leave you with is the understanding that it's ok, and perfectly human, to feel less than 100%, whether something bad happened to you or you just feel lonely or upset, seemingly for no reason. Allow yourself to acknowledge these feelings and address your emotional needs without shame. We are all human. We all cry. So it's okay if you do it too.