Happiness And The Right To Be Sad

Happiness and the right to be sad

鈥淚t’s okay, 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 absence of discomfort, frustration, sadness Therefore, there is no room for these types of emotions when associating them with personal failure, and therefore they tend to be hidden.

Happiness is not the denial of sadness

It is common to hear: but if 鈥測ou have everything鈥, 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 usually find is that Well-being for most people is associated with having, rather than being ; and it is natural because we have learned it since childhood: such a person is happy, even though he does not have much money; or such a person is unhappy even though he has a lot of money, as if one aspect were conditional on the other.

What is it to have it all?

This is when the premise that if I have a good economy and health 鈥淚 should be happy鈥 begins to blur, because paradoxically many people, in these favorable circumstances, report a feeling of 鈥渆mptiness鈥, whose meaning is the 鈥渁bsence of鈥 and that is when the question arises: absence of what? The answers are usually linked to those aspects that we downplay: absence of meaningful relationships, absence of self-love, absence of a goal or meaning that is not linked to having something material.

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Having it all, then, could be directed towards those aspects that 鈥渇ill or give plenitude鈥 which They have more to do with the relationship we establish with ourselves in relation to the interpretation of the world and others.

Listen in the void

Many people who come to the consultation report that they do not feel listened to, that as soon as they try to talk about their pain their speech is interrupted with advice so that they are not sad, or with phrases like “let’s not talk about sad things”, which would not be bad if it were said after having given rise to the expression of sadness freely and widely, but it usually interrupts the sufferer. And that’s when the problem arises: sadness is condemned and it remains unexpressed with all its emotional intensity inside the person.

Sometimes there is relief only in sharing the sadness, even if the listener does not give the great advice or solution, because by speaking it and feeling heard, the person’s psyche organizes the cognitive content and can have an impact on better management. emotional.

But, On the other hand, there is listening to ourselves in silence, without fighting without condemning ourselves with thoughts like “again, me feeling bad”… rather listening to what the symptom of sadness or “emptiness” wants to tell us. When it appears, it usually has a function, it makes us realize something that it would be good for us to observe, change or strengthen.

It can be related to our habits, to our relationships with others or with ourselves, to forgiveness, to the absence of meaning. It is difficult to listen to it because it is not pleasant, but if it were it would not lead us to wonder about what to change just as if we did not feel pain in our hands over the fire, many of us would have them roasted and useless.

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That is why it is important to give way to sadness naturally and without condemnation. Of course, it is worth clarifying that depression is very different, which requires another type of analysis that I will surely write about another time.

What is happiness, then?

I think this concept is very diverse and has to do with individual motivations and characteristics, but if there is a common denominator that I could observe, it is that it is related to the way we manage or self-regulate our emotions

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

If happiness were the absence of negative or sad sensations, it would deny our human nature, and the key is the direction we give to those negative feelings: we accept them, we express them, we understand what they want to tell us and we act, or on the contrary We hide them, we deny them, we condemn them and we let them appear in an outburst because we do not give them space… those outbursts, when they carry a very high burden due to having denied them for a long time, become important problems related to the mood.

Well-being or happiness, then, is based on emotional management that has little to do with hiding or denying negative affect, or with a state of constant joy. Rather, it is about expressing, giving rise to and understanding the message that underlies the emotions without judgment, without guilt but with actions.

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