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How Sadness Can Unlock True Happiness

couple relationship therapy happinessTimes of sadness can be difficult to live through, but in fact, they are a time of huge growth and expansion. Tough circumstances compel you to look deep inside yourself and recognize all that you have to be grateful for. If you let it, sadness teaches you that you have the capacity for change, which leads to greater overall life satisfaction. Learn more in I Hope I Screw This Up: How Falling in Love with Your Fears Can Change the World.

What if we started to look at our “negative” emotions differently? I know we’ve been taught that we need to strive for happiness all the time, but what if embracing the entire spectrum of our emotions is the key to unlocking a level of well-being that is way beyond the limited scope of happiness?

I can remember a time when I was sitting on a plane and feeling pain because I was thinking about letting someone go who had been a huge part of my life (not Amber, she’s fictional). I sat with this huge pain that I had been dealing with for a while and then just started crying. As soon as I let go enough to let those emotions through, I felt this huge release and a new power on the other side. I had been holding on to this pain for a while, years actually . . . and all it took was a couple of minutes of accepting it, then about thirty seconds of tearing up, and then it was gone. After about three minutes of truly facing and accepting this pain I had been holding on to, I was able to access an entirely new level of freedom.

What that experience taught me is that when we listen to, accept, and embrace our sadness (or anger, frustration, boredom, etc.), we learn more about who we truly are and the types of limiting beliefs we may be living under. When I say “accept” and “embrace,” I don’t mean just give up or sit in a bad mood, allowing your mind to convince you of how terrible the world is. I mean totally change your perspective on your emotions and begin to appreciate and honor them as a guidance system that is leading you to a new, freer version of yourself. I mean letting the shell of your mind fall apart as you just sit with every ounce of pain it throws at you. Allowing yourself to fully experience every emotion that you feel is the gateway to actual transformation. There is no emotion, experience, or situation that is bigger than what you are. You are capable of growing beyond anything if you allow yourself to be with it.

The next step is to embrace those fears.


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