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Five Reasons Why We Need Sadness
I do not like to feel sad, and I am sure that you do not like to either. But, sadness is essential to the human condition. In fact, it helps us in five important ways.
First, sadness helps us think through our priorities. Are we sad about something important, or are we caught up in distractions that should be ignored or even completely eliminated from our lives? If we were never sad, we would be less likely to identify the need for change.
Second, when we are sad it is often because we appreciate the happy times we have had, and we miss them. Living through Chicago winters makes us appreciate a beautiful spring day in a way that a Hawaiian would not understand. If every day were wonderful, we human beings would have a tendency to expect nothing less.
Third, sadness helps us want to improve our lives. Although I loved the job I had in my late twenties, the lack of social opportunities for single professionals in the city where I lived became the driving force behind my relocation to Chicago – a place that I had always sworn I would never live. However, it turned out to be the perfect move for me! When we are missing something or someone important, we are more likely to make changes we believe will help us find happiness or satisfaction.
Fourth, once we have experienced grief or loss, we are more empathetic with others who are suffering. My father passed away when I was in my twenties. Then, my mother died before I was forty – and had just become a mother myself. These losses were deep and lasting. However, in time they enabled me to listen to, and grieve with, friends and family as they experienced similar loss. In many cases, our common experiences have resulted in stronger bonds.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, sadness can bring us to our knees – asking God for help, healing, or relief. Years ago, when I went through a particularly painful time, I reached out to God in agony and emotional turmoil. I felt his presence in my life then. However, in hindsight, I can see his presence even more clearly. In turn, my faith and trust in him have grown enormously. He is more real to me, and more present in my life, than he was prior to that difficult period.
Sadness helps us for a time. However, if it lingers too long, or turns into clinical depression, outside help may be necessary. If that happens, be sure to get the support needed to move on.
Until we meet again,
The Entrepreneur’s Friend