Sadness Can Become an Addiction
Sadness is just as necessary as happiness. But in Western society in the past few decades, we’ve been made to feel a false sense of happiness that keeps us from experiencing healthy emotions that are necessary for growth. Apparently, it’s only valid to put on a happy face, like we’re not allowed to feel and show emotions that don’t fit in with this obsession with being happy all the time.
Sadness is a necessary emotion, but when it becomes a recurring state or an addiction, this is a sign that you have to focus more on improving the management of your emotions. Even in times when sadness is natural, like after the death of a loved one, the diagnosis of an illness, or the loss of a job, it can become an unhealthy emotion when it reaches a very high intensity or lasts for too long.
Another more maladaptive type of sadness is the kind that comes from not loving yourself. This is the result of unconsciously looking down on yourself, and is not related to a lack of affection from other people. People get sad and don’t feel like doing anything when they perceive that others don’t understand how they feel inside.
Life doesn’t care about what you want. Its purpose is to give you what you need at all times.
When does sadness become maladaptive?
Sadness is considered one of the basic emotions, as it’s an innate affective reaction, present in all human beings, and necessary for proper emotional regulation in negative situations.
The presence of emotions like sadness in our lives is normal and adaptive. It helps us to adapt to reality when we experience physical or psychological separation, loss, failure, disappointment, the absence of reinforcing activities, chronic pain, etc.
This emotion stops being adaptive when it’s accompanied by other symptoms like difficulty falling asleep, sleeping too much, apathy, loss of hope, negative thoughts about oneself or one’s life, or some other disruption in your life. Then you have a problem.
The presence of negative, distorted thoughts and feelings about reality leads to sadness and hopelessness. Sad people see themselves as worthless and get carried away by these emotions, leading them to abandon their usual activities. So not only do they perceive themselves as worthless, but they also abandon the activities that could counter this value judgment, which validates their beliefs.
This is where the vicious cycle begins, as they swap their routines and fun activities for a negative mood, without realizing that these activities could help them improve their situation and prevent their bad mood from intensifying. This creates a dynamic in which inactivity breeds more inactivity.
“Avoid pleasure that provokes sadness.”
Self-esteem can fight against sadness
The most maladaptive kind of sadness is not the feeling that nobody loves you, but the negative impact of not loving yourself. The origin of this sadness is not other people’s hate, but one’s own contempt, which manifests in wallowing thoughts.
In some cases, the origin of this tormented state is found in the absence of care, affection, and love in the first few years of one’s life. The poor management of one’s emotions during childhood plants the seed for the manner of relating to sadness described above.
Self-esteem is important because it concerns yourself, your way of being, and your own personal sense of worth. Therefore, it can affect the way you interact with others. There is nothing in the way you think, feel, decide, and act that escapes the influence of self-esteem.
Having a well-adjusted self-esteem helps control the negative thoughts and feelings about oneself and others that feed into sadness. A good sense of self-worth pushes away the hopelessness, melancholy, and sadness that lead you to neglect and abandon pleasant activities.
True security has nothing to do with your external circumstances, which are governed by universal laws that you can’t control. It’s more like an internal emotional state that allows you to live with confidence, courage, and bravery.