In my previous article on sadness I mentioned I would later address what I
was asking you to look at in yourself. If we ask again, "What are some of the ways we keep ourselves from dealing with sadness?", we can look at six ways to counter what
might block us from moving through it.
First let's look at overwhelming type of sadness. We may avoid this because it feels like
way too much and we are not given a place in our everyday lives to feel it. Intense sadness is usually created inside by our minds giving the body signals of great urgency
to no longer hold back and by this point you would have trouble holding it back even if you tried. The situation of pain comes about from sudden loss, finally recognized grief. or a deep sense of surrender.
How do you handle this rush of emotion? Let it go! Stop trying to be contained and release what you have been holding, yet it is important to find a safe place to do this,
either privately or with a caring other in your life. Remember to give yourself the time alone you need, yet reach out soon before, during or after you allow yourself the
richness of experiencing what is really going on inside of you from something truly painful that has occurred.
Secondly, there is the bittersweet kind of sadness where we are happy for something or
someone else, yet we feel wistful at the same time. This comes from the seemingly happy or even joyous circumstance
represented in the moment by a scene in a movie or a our witnessing of a long struggled for success, or a wedding ceremony. In
this situation we keep ourselves from dealing with the feelings because they are mixed and it is hard to hold what doesn't match inside of us!
The important thing to understand here is to keep from judging yourself. So what if you are tearing up a bit when you
are so happy for a loved one, or you are feeling joy and warmth from the memory of a lost loved one? Love and accept what you are made of...different emotions and thoughts.
Thirdly, we often ignore feelings in the body that may be signifying sadness, simply because we are unaware that the body is the
most honest with us about what is the reality of our current state. You can start helping yourself get out of your head and intellect
which leads away from body feelings and just sit with them. This may be tricky to do as it sometimes is necessary to get some
guidance in going into the body and knowing the difference between what your head tells you and what your body knows more fully.
A fourth way we may neglect sadness is by medicating it with drugs, alcohol, excessive spending, eating, dieting or obsessing about sex or romance. These more serious ways of avoidance could utilize counseling
or some kind of professional assistance, at the very least group support.
Another (fifth) way we may run from sadness is when we are around others we want to hide our true selves from. This is equivalent
to wearing a mask that says to the world, "I am doing great!" when we may be crumbling inside. Although it seems that there is not
much room in our world to show our authentic selves and the whole myriad of human emotions in a work or social setting, we must
make the room! If the sad part of you wants expression then take yourself to a place where people can accept hearing about it or
seeing it a bit. Gently take off your mask and show the beauty in your real face.
Finally, a sixth way sadness is avoided is because of the false belief that we
have to be strong and that sadness is weakness. If there is one message you really can take in here, the most significant one might be that allowing
yourself to be vulnerable sometimes can show great strength in a person! Unless an environment feels extremely unsafe to you, it can be tremendously
empowering to show those around you expression of a tender feeling in some way and still stand strong inside of yourself. Then you will shine in a solid sense of balance.
Until next time, take care of yourselves and know that my heart sends you gold.
Carol Jaron, MFT