“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” (Rabindranath Tagore)
When sadness knocks on my door, I welcome it in, talk to it, serve it, and treat it kindly. I then ask “Oh sadness, why are you here? What are you trying to teach me? Is there something I need to do? Something I need to learn?”
Sometimes it stays a couple of minutes, sometimes a couple of hours, and sometimes a couple of days. However long it stays, I make sure to extract all the lessons I possibly can. So that when it leaves, I am stronger and more fortified to take on life with all it has to offer.
Sadness does not always have to be accompanied by a personal loss, pain or failure. Sometimes all you have to do is reflect on tragedy, inequality and injustice plagued in our world.
However, and for whatever reasons it pays you a visit, there are gems it will leave behind-if you only take the time to search.
“…and it may be that you dislike a thing that is good for you and that you like a thing that is bad for you. God knows but you do not know.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:216)
Let me start by pointing out some basic differences between Depression and Sadness. Sadness is an emotion, real and part of our lives just like happiness and joy are. For someone not battling depression, it comes and goes with the regular ups and downs of life. Sadness should not decrease the quality of your life or stay for prolonged periods. Depression on the contrary is defined by continued feelings of hopelessness, loss of meaning in life, self-worthlessness and sadness.
With depression a person may not be able to contemplate on lessons, or search for gaps in their life to fill. Whereas with sadness, -if embraced, accepted and contemplated, one can learn some of the best lessons life has to offer. Let’s ponder!
The Quran says: “And all things we made in pairs, so that you may give thought.” (51/49)
When it comes to feelings of happiness we accept without question and fly where ever they take us. Many times we go through lengths of pain and sacrifice just to hold onto to the feeling. However, the story behind sadness is quite the contrary. We are conditioned to shun any feeling that doesn’t feel good upon contact. Most of our lives we spend running away, distracting and pushing back uneasiness caused by feeling sad.
In reality the attitude of “Seek only Joy and avoid Sadness” only sets us up for anxious feelings, and sometimes spiraling us into greater despair. We can’t escape sadness, it’s a facet of emotions that is normal and necessary for our progression in life. Just like happiness, it too will come and go, any many times without asking your permission.
I propose to welcome it and use it to connect with life at a deeper level. Every time we feel sad, a bit of our heart breaks. The way I see it, I get to piece it back together with the pieces of my choice. Eliminating toxic ones and welcoming, stronger, bolder, and more compassionate ones.
There has never been a time in my life where sadness has not made me change something for the better. It serves as a reminder to either, slow down, take a break, start eating better, spend more time with loved ones, help in the community, exercise, increase my worship and most importantly connect with my Lord.
Dealing with sadness in an appropriate manner will not erase it, but it will definitely lead to growth in you and your relationship with the creator. “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” [Al-Ra’d, 13:28]
Accepting it as just another emotion, instead of running from it will increase your compassion towards yourself and make you resilient as each step is a step of strength-this is empowerment.
Life is full of colorful emotions-even the big bad grey ones. We don’t have to like them all, but we sure can learn to cope with them all and be the best versions of ourselves we can be!