If you don’t know how to deal with sadness, you can never be happy.
Someone I met yesterday wanted to know if there is a way to avoid sadness. I asked her why she wanted to avoid sadness. “Because I intensely dislike being sad,” she replied. “Then”, I replied, “What you can do is to examine the futility of sadness and drop it, let it go. You can’t avoid sadness. But you can let it go.”
Nobody wants to be sad. Yet sadness is unavoidable. It is a natural human state, that’s how you will feel when you don’t like what is happening to you. Life is not in your control. So there will be times when you will feel sad. When you feel that way, hold that feeling close to you. Examine it. Dissect it – who or what is causing your sadness? Is there anything you can do about it? If you can, fine, go ahead, do it. If you can’t, ask yourself, is there any point in continuing to feel sad? The moment you come to this level of clarity over whatever’s making you sad and what you can do about it, your sadness will disappear. This is how you deal with sadness – simply be willing to accept it for what it is and move on! This is what is called ‘celebrating sadness’!
Celebrating happiness is easy. We all know how to do it. We share. We radiate positivity. We spread cheer and goodwill. Sometimes, we party. Interestingly, the same approach will work for sadness as well. Surely, a party to share your sadness will work as well as a party to share your joy! We don’t know it works because we have not tried it. Why? Because society has conditioned us to restrict celebrations to happiness and has associated sadness with a state of mourning. The truth about Life is that unless you have learnt to accept and experience sadness fully, you can’t experience happiness! Osho, the Master, has a beautiful perspective to offer here: “Celebration is unconditional; I celebrate Life. It brings unhappiness – good, I celebrate it. It brings happiness – good, I celebrate it. Celebration is my attitude, unconditional to what Life brings.”
Life’s really about experiencing what comes your way. And over what comes your way, you – and I – have no control. The real question is, how do you want to live your Life? Do you want to live it lamenting that nothing’s in your control? Or do you want to celebrate the fact that because you are not in control, because you don’t have to control, because you have nothing to control, you are free?
I choose to celebrate this freedom every day. I ask myself when I am confronted with a situation, and an emotion connected with that situation: is there anything I can do about this? If I can, I go do whatever I can to fix the situation. If I can’t, I let it – the way I feel about the situation – go. And I remind myself, in either context, not to sweat over the situation or the emotion it brings along with it! This is my learning from Life: celebrate it for what it is, the way it is, as it comes!