Hosting Sadness

Sadness is a difficult emotion to endure. The longer it lingers, the harder things get. If you, or somebody you spend a lot of time with, is sad, it is something that you need to address.  If somebody near you is sad, there is little you can do to change their mood.  You can be aware of their mood and try not to expect happiness from them. You don’t need to induce happiness in them, because that could just frustrate you both.  If you are the one who is sad then the same applies. Recognize your sadness and don’t expect anything else.

This doesn’t mean that you resign yourself to a life of sadness. This means that you acknowledge your current experience of sadness. Excuse yourself from being happy for as long as it takes. Then, spend quality time with your sadness.

If you are planning on spending a lot of time with your sadness, you can give it a name. You can call it depression, heartbreak or loneliness. You can call it Tristan, or Sadie, or Winifred. You can call it Sir or Ma’am or Teacher. When you give it a name, you will see your sadness as a visitor, a guest of your psyche. You can treat it with respect and courtesy.

Take your sadness out for a walk. Don’t expect it to get lost on the way, just walk with it.  Look at the world with it. If you see beauty on your walk, don’t expect the beauty to make you happy or give you a break from your sadness. It is just beauty seen with sadness. If something makes you laugh, that will not be offensive to your guest, that will just be funniness mixed with sadness.

If you are going out with friends, you don’t need to introduce your sadness, but you could. You need to remember that your sadness is there with you, like a third wheel. It is like babysitting your little sister on a date. Take your sadness to yoga, sit with your sadness in meditation, take it to therapy, exercise it, feed it beautiful, nutritious foods. Your guest will appreciate the hospitality.

When you are spending time with your sadness, be careful about how you treat yourself and the people in your life. Sadness often invites anger and anger looks for ways to express itself. If being with your sadness causes you to hurt the people around you and you see it happening, then apologize. If your sadness causes you to hurt yourself, then apologize and forgive yourself.

If you treat your sadness with patience, kindness and compassion, it will eventually leave.  When it leaves, say goodbye. Thank it for the lessons it taught you, and invite it back again for a shorter visit.  Sadness will come and go. You might as well make a comfortable place for it in your life.

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