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Sadness… an emotion with very different characteristics compared to anger or frustration, which we explored in previous posts of the #YearOfEmotions. Sadness informs us that we lost something, something is over and we need to take time to grief it properly. We may lose a thing, a person, a hope, a belief, an opportunity, sometimes simply because we chose something else. And even if we decided to go for something better, very often things which we leave behind with that very decision still need a bit of our attention. Anger and frustration give us energy to act, while sadness forces us to stop, to turn toward our inner world, to give it time for digestion, grief, and saying goodbye. Many of us fight this feeling as it seems so unproductive, certainly uncomfortable. Yet, without saying goodbye to what doesn’t serve us anymore or simply cannot be ours, we allow it to be stuck inside us, not only influencing our physical and emotional health but also blocking us from going full power into new things. Grieving allows us to ultimately go further and create the space for something else to come. 

Sometimes it’s a matter of one evening under the blanket, with hot tea, stroking the cat; sometimes it can take much much longer. Anna needed two years to say goodbye to some aspects of her old life to be able to fully embrace a new adventure. For both of us the most difficult thing to let go are people. Some relationships are over and although we do realize it, it can take years before we let the person go. But once we do, the place is created for new people to come, much closer to who we are in this particular moment. And paradoxically some of those which we let go, come back after a while with new energy, allowing us to create new relationships without being stuck in who we were a long time ago.

Sometimes it helps to book time for sadness, let’s say two evenings per month. To give yourself the space and time to cry, to appreciate what was and to let it go. Journaling, small rituals, speaking with a friend - these all can help as long as we allow sadness to come and not escape from it. For many people sadness is uncomfortable, it’s not by chance that some seeing our tears will immediately say: don’t cry. Don’t. Encourage people to cry, if they need to. Crying helps to take things out and stopping somebody from crying doesn’t serve them, it only kills our discomfort of being around somebody who suffers. Cry, cry, cry! I (Anna) am a big fan of crying and in fact I use it now to get to know myself better. When I feel that something is wrong inside me, but I’m not sure what it is, I start to speak, usually to Andrea, about whatever comes to my mind around what I experience and I notice when tears come to my eyes. That's the point, something there is triggering. 

There is nothing wrong with being sad. It’s much worse to try and get rid of it without fully experiencing or understanding what sadness is trying to tell us. But sadness is scary. We may fear that once we open the box we will never be able to close it back. We may not be used to seeing ourselves or others vulnerable. And in fact, many of us cover sadness (as much as fear) with anger. Anger gives us power and paradoxically can be easier to accept. When you feel angry, try to go deeper and see - is there actually something behind? Let yourself be vulnerable, listen to your own feelings. There is an important message, which, even if uncomfortable in this particular moment, will help you in the long run.

And if you feel that you cannot face your sadness alone, ask a friend. Or a therapist. It really, really helps on your journey into life.

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