There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. 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.” ~ Carl Jung
I’ve been thinking about loved ones these past few days– family and friends. I know too many who find themselves placed in the unwitting roles of cancer warriors—battling several types and phases varying from early onset to Stage 4. Recently, someone close to me experienced the violation that comes with a mid-day home invasion and theft of personal items valued near $10,000. My heart goes out to those in Japan who are coping with the aftermath of the mammoth earthquake and tsunami.
So, I’m sad. I’m not going to try and snap out of it either. Sadness is part of our existence. It’s not defeatism; it’s empathy. It’s realization there are problems and challenges. There are those aspects we can control, and those we cannot control. Embracing all our feelings, good or bad, can help us ride the ups and downs of life. I think it’s unfortunate that we often see sadness (or other emotions we peg as “negative”) as something to push away.
In addition to clients dealing with involuntary job loss and subsequent job search, some in this mix are close loved ones. To a person, every one of them has experienced a range of emotions that include, yes, sadness. If asked, I tell them to embrace the feeling. Embrace but not wallow. The thing about sadness (not defined as depression), is that it will go away. Then it’s time to move to what can be controlled and focusing on opportunities.
In a job search, here are a few basics where you have some power:
• Attitude and self-talk—what you believe and tell yourself silently in your head
• Amount of exercise, rest, and nutrition you give yourself
• Number of hours per day you spend on your job search
• Type of activities you will focus on in your job search
• Taking a course to keep your skills and knowledge fresh and ahead of the curve
• Researching your target jobs and companies
• Developing a great resume, letters and other marketing materials
• Daily time for spirit-boosting activity, i.e. playing with your dog, reading an inspirational book, spending time with a good friend
Sometimes the way out is to just go through it. This is not personal. It just is. Everyone gets their share of unhappy and painful times. Sadness is a natural response.
So I’m going to sit quietly with this feeling of sadness. It’s not my identity. It’s a natural emotion. It will pass. Until then, I will just let it be.