From a young age, we are taught to avoid our feelings of sadness. We shush wailing babies and tell sobbing children to cheer up and stop crying. The message that sadness is meant to be avoided at all costs is passed down to us as children and internalized as we grow up. However, the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches us that every emotion, including sadness, has a unique, necessary purpose.
As humans, we are built to experience big emotions. We tend to ignore or avoid negative feelings because we don’t have the tools to handle uncomfortable emotions to transform them into something positive. But we can learn how each emotion cues us to new information, helps us make decisions, and allows us to express the fullness of our personality. Not only is sadness not cause to run away, but it can actually be a powerful teacher.
Here are 4 ways to transform sadness into something positive:
1. When you feel sad, pay attention. It’s a sign there’s something you need to examine closer.
Any negative emotion exists as an indicator of something we need to pay attention to. Sadness serves to alert us that something is troubling us and to help us reorient to get back on the path to joy. Any time we experience sadness, it is a call from our soul saying we aren’t paying enough attention to something or that we are doing something we shouldn’t.
Sometimes, when we aren’t finding joy, we need to play the role of detective in our lives to find out what else could bring us fulfillment. When you feel a shift mentally, physically, or emotionally, pause and ask if there is something you are supposed to be doing differently or to understand from this. When you discover what makes you sad, do something about it immediately. Don’t be afraid to shake up your routine or make a dramatic change.
Thank the sadness for bringing your attention to something you might have overlooked or deemed as something not important enough to address head-on. Inviting sadness to be your teacher is a sure way to start transforming it.
2. Embrace sadness long enough to learn from it. Then let it go.
We can learn a lot from our sadness. It can help us see situations more clearly, learn from our mistakes, and even motivate us to make powerful changes in our lives. Sadness is a necessary tool, but it often outstays its welcome. Staying in the space of sadness is ultimately counterproductive and creates a barrier that prevents us from experiencing blessings.
Work to discover the lessons that sadness is teaching you, but then fight to elevate yourself out of that state as fast as you can. The quicker you learn from sadness, the quicker you can overcome it.
3. Invest time in spiritual study and practice, even when things are going well, to help prepare for the times of challenge.
So often, people turn to spirituality in times of sadness. But when things start to turn around, they may become lax in their practice or stop studying altogether, forgetting that what brought them to a positive place is the wisdom and changes made in their life.
In the long-term, we are meant to be able to have the inner strength and wisdom to traverse any type of sadness and receive benefits from it, but to get there takes work. The only way to consistently have the tools to understand sadness and grow from it is through constant spiritual practice. Part of that is gaining more wisdom and developing ourselves.
Make sure you are investing enough time in study, spiritual practice, and internal transformation. If you take this path and really invest and preserve even when things are going well, you will be surprised at how you’ll be able to see the blessings in times of sadness.
4. Remember that your soul is perfect and made of endless potential. Sadness does not define you.
Many times, we let our negative emotions define us. We may start to think of ourselves as an angry person, a jealous person, or a sad person, for instance, rather than someone who occasionally experiences those emotions just like anyone else. It is difficult for us to see ourselves as the beautiful perfection of our souls.
Know that your soul is perfect, Light-filled, and full of potential. That is who you really are, even if you may be at a low point experiencing a challenge. Take time to connect to the perfection of your soul. Remind yourself of the great Light within you. You may experience sadness, but know that it is not a fundamental part of what makes you you.
Sadness is a gift meant to transform us for the better. Going through sadness with this shift in consciousness can help us get through to the other side of it happier and more elevated. Listen to the messages your soul is sending you when you feel sad. Get in touch with your true self and develop the tools you need through wisdom and spiritual practice. Embrace sadness as a teacher and then let it go, remembering that sadness is an emotion, not something that defines you. Your soul is perfect, powerful, and limitless.