Life will inevitably have some sad moments. It’s important to understand how to get through those moments and become stronger than ever. Kyle Cease, author of I HOPE I SCREW THIS UP, shares how sadness can ultimately lead to growth.
I’ve come to learn that sadness is a time of growth. It’s when I expand into the newest version of myself that I’m able to experience even more happiness than I ever have. Instead of sadness being a thing that I’m just supposed to avoid, I’ve come to learn that sadness is my teacher. I’m not saying sadness is better than happiness either, but there is a depth to sadness that happiness doesn’t have. It forces you to look inward and truly appreciate the things you have in life. If you think about it, a happy, feel-good movie doesn’t really make you appreciate life the same way that a sad movie does. After a sad movie, you walk out of the theater and are so grateful just to be alive. After a happy movie you just want to eat a bunch of cheeseburgers. at comparison isn’t to scale . . . or even accurate . . . or true at all; you can have a massive amount of insight from a happy movie too. e point I’m making is that there’s something about experiencing sadness that changes us, that expands us, that renews us. Being happy is great, of course, but it’s the low moments of our lives that give us the insight and tools to thrive during the high moments.
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.
When you cry, you release something. You’ve changed. You’re lighter and suddenly you have a new perspective. Sometimes, right after we cry, we might even laugh. When we hold back our emotions and sweep them under the rug (often with Facebook, Netflix, and Roseanne) we put one more thing in the way of us and the flow of creativity and expression that wants to come through us in each and every moment. When we hold on to the trash bags that the gener- ations before have handed us, we limit our ability to reach our true potential. We are meant to be constantly flowing and moving and changing, not to be these fearful stagnant beings that are only trying to protect themselves from fears that were passed down from their cashew-farming great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents.
We are on the edge of evolution right now. We are transforming what it means to be alive. We’re learning that the way we’ve played the game in the past no longer applies. We are change. We are love. We are sadness. We are all of it, and the moment that we embody that is the moment that we create true freedom, peace, and love in this world.
Just remember, sadness can lead to happiness.