Why you shouldn’t beat yourself up for feeling sad

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In the new age sense, feeling sad can be considered a horrible thing spiritually. One can go to the extent of hiding their feelings and not sharing how they feel with anyone to appear strong. Over time, they’d get so used to lying to themselves about their feelings that they’d end up in an identity crisis.

This also often happens with people who always want to always be the “entertainers” in their social environment and have the energy, drive, will, motivation to have fun fun with others. They consider their social identity of utmost importance.

However, one must realize that sadness is an important emotion even if you want to advance spiritually and be joyous all the time.

I have often feared losing happiness and not allowed myself to experience my true feelings in the process of making sure that I don’t get sad. Thankfully, Nichiren Buddhist texts proudly boast of the philosophy not trying to develop a “Pollyanna” attitude amongst its practitioners. It does not brainwash people to live a “hunky dory” life, even thought it encourages its practitioners to be joyful and strive to have a high life condition. Rather, it wants its practitioners to experience happiness from within in their daily life by finding the correct ways to cope with their problems.

Even The Secret is also often criticized for propagating the notion that people should always be happy, otherwise bad things will happen in their lives.

  1. Nichiren Buddhism: The concept of the 10 worlds– The life state of Buddhahood/Enlightenment isn’t permanent. It comes and goes because of the existence of the 10 worlds. We go through all the 10 life conditions  during the day- of hell, hunger, animality, anger, humanity, rapture, learning, realization, Boddhisatva and (my favorite) Buddhahood. One has to keep practicing and invest in faith and study in order to maintain a high life condition. After my first transformation, where (I believe) I experienced my highest life condition (of Buddhahood) because of regularly applying the principle of true happiness and gratitude, I was extremely scared of losing such a beautiful feeling and going back to my previous low life state. In this effort, I often lied to myself when I was unhappy and hid my feelings . I’d beat myself up if I went into a low life condition.  I was also rigid with accepting to my friends that I was in a low life condition and that something was bothering me. I now realize that it is human and natural to go into low life states, but now that I am in the practice, whenever I have challenges and going into a low life condition, I can turn to KR activities to fight them, maintain a high life condition and emerge victorious over my obstacles, rather than just mechanically (externally) force myself to be happy through pressure and self beating.
  2. LOA– Negative emotions can be helpful in the sense that they can help you understand what you dislike and don’t want. They can be helpful in building the roadmap to what you do want, what does make you happy and then you can decide to go after that. Hence, always know what makes you feel low, accept it and work on manifesting what makes you feel joyful. Also, if you avoid your negative feeling about something (even if is to try to be positive), you’re telling the universe that you don’t take yourself seriously enough and making a negative cause in the long run.
  3. Psychology and emotional intelligence– Sadness is as important an emotion as happiness. As one must experience joys naturally, one must also experience their sadness naturally. In the words of the shrink in the movie Sybil, “feelings are like breath. We all know what happens when we hold our breath”. One must hence experience their emotions, identify them, express them in order to overcome them. In fact, if you don’t suppress your negative emotions, you’ll feel happier much faster than you’d expect you would, because that’s how the brain’s natural coping works.

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