Petar Sardelich, LMFT/PT/MAC
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Utility of Sadness

We do some *ahem* interesting things with sadness.

Often, people ask us how we are. I think the real question is about how we feel, but we will oft answer "good" or "bad" or "not so good". All judgments about how we feel. Most of us would argue that "sad" is a "bad" feeling. If we can get past that, we may use another euphemism: "depressed". Our relationship to this thing is often not great.

When I left my office this morning (my second office at the Life Fitness Center, a group that provides a more holistic set of services), I was sad myself. I'd spent several hours with people who were in horrible circumstances, and had already been suffering. Mightily, and understandably, I might add. When I got to the light, I noticed a gentleman, probably 7ish, walking through the crosswalk with his mom. One of my licensures is in developmental disabilities and other related problems, and I noted his cerebral palsy right away. They were holding hands, and though his body was having a hard time- his soul certainly wasn't. He appeared really happy.

Behind my wheel though, I was pretty sad. For my clients this AM, and for him (though he was probably fine). Most of the time when we get sad, we find some way to resist it. We push it away with our minds, set our attention elsewhere, numb it with all kinds of different behaviors, even shame ourselves for having such feelings in the first place.

Would argue though, that my sadness, has great utility. Not only is it the most effective way to heal my losses, it certainly makes me useful to other people. Exactly how it heals grief and loss is not quite the gist of this missive, and takes time with a therapist/counselor/life coach to know how to do effectively and gracefully. Am certain that my sadness today assisted me in being kind and present for my clients, and likely would keep me "softer" when dealing with folk like the gentleman in the crosswalk.

My hope is that I never lose this. As long as I am sad about the suffering of humans, I have business doing the work that I do. The point of this though is that this is true not just in terms of my relationship to my clients or other folk in the world, but all of us in relationship to ourselves and one another in general. Honoring our sadness does more to "cure" "anxiety" (sorry for the consecutive quotes), relieve "depression", and make us available for intimacy than most any other thing I can think of.

Reconciling ourselves with sadness, and finding some "grace" in how we live with it, if the above is true, surely presents some great reasons we should stop treating our sadness as something repugnant.

On a different note: as a reminder, Judy McGehee and I will be on the radio/live stream/podcasting at the link below tomorrow from 1130AM until noon on the "Project Get Well America" show with Dr. Mark. The link for the show is here.
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