Happiness and the right to be sad

“Nothing is happening, don’t be sad, come on, dry your tears and smile… It seems that this way the problem ceases to exist, at least for others.

Our Western culture insists that well-being or happiness is the use of discomfort, frustration, sadness.. Therefore, these types of emotions do not lead to associating them with personal failure and therefore tend to hide.

    Happiness is not the denial of sadness

    It is common to hear: but if you “have it all” why are you sad? It is true that if we do not cover our basic needs, it is difficult to build rewarding experiences, but what I generally come across is that the well-being of most people is associated with having, rather than being; and it is natural because we learned it from childhood: such a person is happy, although he does not have much money; or such a person is unhappy even if he has a lot of money, as if one aspect were conditional on the other.

    How does it feel to have it all?

    This is when the premise that if I have a good economy and good health “I should be happy” is blurred.Because paradoxically many people, in these favorable circumstances, refer to a feeling of “emptiness”, the meaning is “absence of” and this is where the question arises: absence of what? The answers are usually related to aspects for which we downplay importance: absence of meaningful relationships, absence of self-esteem, absence of purpose or meaning that is not related to something material.

    Having everything, then, could be oriented towards those aspects which “fill or give fullness” which they have more to do with the relationship we establish with ourselves versus interpreting the world and others.

    Listen in the void

    Many people who come to the clinic report that they don’t feel listened to, that as soon as they try to talk about their pain, their speech is interrupted by advice not to be sad, or by phrases like ” one does not speak of sad things ”, which would not be false if they were said after giving rise to the expression of sadness freely and widely, but they are generally interrupted for the patient. And this is where the problem arises: he condemns himself to sadness and it remains unexpressed with all its emotional intensity inside the person.

    Sometimes there is relief only in sharing the sadness, although from the listener the right advice or the solution is not given, for by speaking it and feeling listened to, the psyche of the person organizes cognitive content and can result in better emotional management.

    But, On the other hand, we listen to each other in silence, without fighting, Without condemning ourselves with thoughts like “again, I feel bad” … rather by listening to what the symptom of sadness or “emptiness” means to us. When it does appear it usually has a function, it gives us an idea of ​​something that would be good for us to observe, change or strengthen.

    It can be related to our habits, our relationships with others or ourselves, forgiveness, meaninglessness. It is difficult to listen to it because it is not pleasant, but if it was, it would not make us wonder what to change.Just as if we hadn’t felt pain in our hand on the fire, many of us would have roasted them and had them useless.

    That is why it is important to lead to sadness naturally and without condemnation. Of course, it should be clarified that depression is very different which requires a different kind of analysis which I will surely write on another occasion.

    What then is happiness?

    I think this concept is very diverse and has to do with individual motivations and characteristics, but if there is one common thread that you might observe, it is that it relates to the way we manage or self-regulate our emotions.

    So is happiness the absence of sadness? Not necessarily, it has more to do with the intensity of sadness and the place we give it. Sadness must be expressed and pain too, because they fulfill a liberating function, Transformative and even creative; sometimes discomfort leads us to make decisions that generate a change that does us good even if sometimes the path is not very comfortable.

    If happiness were the absence of negative or sad feelings, it would negate our human nature, and the key is the direction we give these negative feelings: we accept them, we express them, we understand what they mean to us. and we act, or on the other hand we hide them, deny them, condemn them and let them appear in a fit of anger so as not to give rise to them … these explosions, when they carry a very heavy load for having refused them since long, become major mood problems.

    Well-being or happiness therefore relies on emotional management that has little to do with hiding or denying a negative affection., Or with a state of constant joy. Rather, it is about expressing, eliciting and understanding the message underlying emotions without judgment, without guilt, but with actions.

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