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Why it's good to be sad sometimes

Spam Filter For Your Brain - Episode 54

Here's some good (and some possibly excruciating news) for you. Being sad doesn't mean that anything has gone wrong. Being sad is a normal part of the human existence.

Quite often, we can think when we feel emotions that we don't like very much that something has gone terribly wrong and they must be fixed. But actually trying to escape from our emotions is rarely a way to live a full range of juicy human life with all of the bits and all of the nutrients and all of the lessons and all of the ingredients that we kind of need to absorb to stay alive and thrive and grow.

Sadness is one of those feelings that we can really feel like we're drowning in. There's a heaviness and a sinkingness to it, and we associate it with probably quite a lot of times that we felt sad in the past. But also, it quite often comes along with a lot of stories and thoughts that we have about thinking it's going to go on forever and it will last forever, and we don't know our way out of here.

When in truth, it's pretty rare that you've probably ever found an emotion that lasts forever. I'd be guessing that hasn't ever actually happened to you since you started the whole living thing. Our emotions fluctuate according to the thoughts we have about what's going on around us, what we're feeling, what's occurring in the world and in our lives, and what sensations are going on in our bodies.

And trying to think of sadness as something which should be solved and fixed as soon as it arises downplays its importance and significance as to what it's there to teach you. Because there's probably a whole load of things in life that you do want to feel sad about; probably a whole load of political things you probably do want to feel sad about going on in the world right now. There's probably some things in the lives of people you love or possibly even your own life that it's quite a reasonable reaction to feel sad about.

But when we look at sadness as a problem, something to be fixed or to be escaped from, what we do is deny ourselves the experience of feeling the full range of our emotions and kind of reaching the full, like into the deep corners of our own personality.

And sometimes I think maybe we do that because we're a bit scared of seeing what might be in there. But maybe if we just allowed ourselves a bit of curiosity and allowed ourselves to humanise the experience that sadness is a perfectly normal human reaction to things that are sad around us, the thoughts that are sad that quite often it comes from empathy and being able to put yourself in the shoes of other people. And sometimes sadness is just a key part, an ingredient of loving wholeheartedly, loving the life around us. And loving people and wishing for care for people when you don't see that happening, sometimes that can really hurt. And I don't know about you, but I want to be sad about that. I want to be able to have a vocabulary to be able to relate to the depths and the breadth of human emotion that I see and wish for those around me.

I'm here to taste all of life, not just the good bits. I don't want some kind of shrink-wrapped, beautifully repackaged, photoshopped version of what life should look like. I'm down for the grittiness and trying to understand more about myself and what comes up for me in my brain and in my life when I allow myself to explore what this lifetime has to teach me.

So maybe sadness isn't something to be got rid of, at least not instantly. Maybe it's something to allow to sit around, see what it wants to tell you, see what it wants to guide you towards and what it wants to stop you from doing. Don't necessarily let it lead the way on all of the actions, but maybe giving it a little bit of time and see what messages it wants you to hear. That's something that you can kind of play with and dabble in without wanting to escape it.

Because when we try to escape these emotions, they get louder. It's just like they're not being listened to. It's like a kid yelling at you, trying to grab your attention.

So, what does your sadness want you to know? And not from a place of despair and negativity, but just as a guide towards when you may need a little bit of extra love and a little bit of extra healing.

And if you would like to look at some of that stuff together, I'd love to do it with you.

And if you just want some time sitting in the space of your feelings, I invite you to get all comfy and snuggly and allow yourself the space to do that.

I hope this gives you permission that not all emotions that sometimes feel quite heavy need to be rushed through. Sometimes, they can be incredible teachers.

I'm wishing your sadness much comfort and, slowly, for it to want to stretch and guide you back out into the sunlight again.

I hope this has been useful. I'll speak to you next week.


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