When I think back over my life to times when I felt extreme sadness, I notice it was also a period when I went through considerable personal growth. If you’ve lived longer than a day, you know that sadness is a natural emotion that is a normal part of life. Breakups, broken promises, friendships lost, and death are some situations where sadness is pretty much guaranteed. So what can we take away from this emotion? How can we move through life experiences where sadness is guaranteed and take away the valuable lessons? Here’s how:
Sadness is temporary. This is the very best news with regard to sadness. This is also the one point that allowed me to take away the lesson from life experiences that were accompanied by sadness. What I learned first is that the amount of time I stayed in sadness solely depended on me! It was totally up to me how long I decided to stay in the emotion. I knew this when I transitioned from the Army and initially fell into a state of sadness. It was a daily decision to decide to focus on the positive during that time in my life. I had to take action to move in the direction of progress.
Set realistic goals. When I was fighting my way out of my sadness, I had to set realistic goals for myself and celebrate small successes. I got out of bed – it was time to have a party or do a celebration dance! Sadness hits us all at varying degrees of intensity. There were days it was hard to get out of bed so a party was justified. Then there were days when it was hard to make it through the day without crying and when I did – I danced! Your journey through sadness is yours to take and your life situation will determine the intensity of the sadness you experience. Take the journey one step at a time and learn your lessons as you work your way through it. Don’t forget to celebrate your small successes!
Embrace growth and lessons learned from sadness. I learned so much by going through my period of sadness during my transition from the Army. The first thing I learned was that I had an ineffective and unhealthy system for processing my emotions. So when I was sad – I was SAD. It was hard to get out of bed some days and I cried a lot other days. The second thing I learned was that I was responsible for changing my situation. Because of this revelation I took action to change my situation. I was honest with myself and I got help to move toward progress. The third lesson I learned was the act of compassion – toward myself. Oftentimes we are our worse critics. During this period of time in my life, I needed compassion and understanding from those around me but more importantly I needed compassion from myself. So I stopped beating myself up, accepted that I am only human, and opened myself up to change. This was when real progress was made during my transition process.
Today, I am happy to announce that my happy days far outnumber my sad days. The skills I learned during this experience have changed my life for the better. Are you struggling with sadness today #BattleBuddy? I challenge you today to take steps to move through this period of sadness towards your happiness.