Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.
- Carl Jung
We all like to feel good – happy, excited, charged... However, when negative emotions creep in, such as loneliness, sadness, anxiety, and fear, we may think that there’s a problem with us. Or we could feel that we can’t deal with the feeling. In turn, we sometimes rely on other coping mechanisms to escape the perceived negative feeling. We might even start to avoid situations that elicit these horrible feelings, and will do anything to get rid of them.
Another way of coping could be accepting that we all have, from time to time, negative feelings. The more we learn to tolerate and live with sadness, the less threatening it may become. By making sadness our friends, we become more resilient to adversity, and strong, because we can go on living our lives even though we feel bad.
Sadness is also important because it helps us to reflect and evaluate our lives. Through feeling sad, we are able to identity the things that bother us, and which areas of our lives may need work. Only by doing this can we truly change. After all, it is when we feel sad that we are open to change, because if change takes place we are likely to feel better.
The media portrays sadness as a negative, suggesting that sadness should be avoided at whatever cost. However, what they fail to say is that avoiding sadness is an impossible feat, and counterproductive to living a fulfilled life.
If we want to live a life that is filled with reflection, patience, and openness, we have to cultivate an acceptance of negative feelings. As absurd as it may seem, to be happy one must be sad.