WHY AM I FEELING SO SAD?
Last weekend I was reminded that mastering our emotions by far doesn't mean that we don’t experience any unpleasant emotions anymore. Yes actually, mastering our emotions means that we still experience the waves of all emotions but that we can surf them instead of getting dragged under by them.
Sinking into the Blues
A few years ago before I knew everything that I know about emotions now, I can vividly remember days where I would feel myself sinking into an endless pit of sadness. Sometimes something would have happened and sometimes it seemed like it was for no reason at all. These times were the most uncomfortable of all.
The times that I couldn’t find anything to blame the sadness on also meant that I couldn’t think of a way to solve it either (no blame, no solution). I felt myself in this dark uncomfortable pit, for no apparent reason and no ladder to climb out. I would fight it, I would push it away, I would try to get myself to devise ways to escape the pit and nothing worked. I didn’t give up, I kept pushing, yet nothing seemed to help.
I can’t tell you how often I experienced this. It seemed to be just often enough to know that I had been there before but I couldn’t remember exactly when the last time was. Each time this happened, there I was again feeling really down and without energy… Now I know that I was feeling sad, miserable and even hopeless. I took what little bit of energy I had to try and get out of this pit, but nothing worked. And so this uncomfortable and even painful situation dragged on for days.
Riding the Blues
This past weekend I fell back into this pit without a warning or a reason in sight. I felt no energy or motivation to do anything, even though I had lots of things I had planned for the weekend. I felt grief, disconnected, empty, lonely (I was not actually alone), hopeless and guilty (for not doing all the things I had planned to do).
This time I didn’t push myself. I surrendered. I accepted that this was how I was feeling. I cancelled my plans and I did only what I felt like doing. I just let the feelings flow through me. I didn’t fight it. I didn’t try to change it. I just let it be the way it was.
You might wonder what this really looked like, so let me paint a picture for you. I slept a lot, I meditated, I journaled (as I know these are three things that do me a lot of good). I indulged in reading a book that I hadn’t given myself the time to read (because there are always so many things that are higher on my list of priorities), I took naps on the sofa when I felt like it, I listened to healing and peaceful music that I felt inspired to listen to, I ate yummy food that my body wanted (without going overboard and pigging out as I might have done in the past - the body never wants us to pig out), and I watched an episode from one of my favorite TV shows. This is all that I felt motivated to do and so I let myself do just that. (Note: all of these things were caring and loving towards myself. If you feel like doing something that is harmful to you or someone else, please seek professional help.)
In case this sounds like a regular weekend to you, let me just clarify that my regular weekends are normally filled with meeting friends or family, various different social events, also working on my business, administrative work, household things like laundry or cleaning, writing, etc. Do you see the contrast? Now this isn’t to say that one type of weekend is right or wrong, this is just to say that when my body and my emotions didn’t want me to do what I would usually do, I went with it and I accepted it. That’s the big difference.
By Sunday evening, I felt my motivation to do things creeping back. On Monday my full and flowing inspiration was back. I had my energy and drive back even stronger than before and have been more productive and inspired in the past two days than I would have been in the last four days had I pushed myself through the weekend.
This reminded me again (and I get reminded of this all the time), that there is immense power in letting our emotions flow through us naturally. I get it. This sounds terrifying. I used to feel scared that if I let myself feel sad I will get stuck and feel sad forever. Thankfully, I have learned that emotions don’t work that way. They only get stuck if we fight them and we don’t let them flow through us naturally.
So, here’s some food for thought for you, dear reader… what if feeling down or sad for some unknown reason was not such a big deal? What if it was just like having the hiccups? Uncomfortable, somewhat a nuisance but no biggie. We know with utter confidence that regular hiccups will stop at some point so we can just let them be (unless it’s obviously an inconvenient moment like while you are presenting to a large crowd or your bosses boss). What if we had that same confidence, that such moments of sadness with no apparent reason will also pass if we just let the sadness flow?
I can tell you one thing for sure... Feelings want to be felt and if we embrace our sadness, joy and serenity will naturally follow.
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