Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sad only masquerades as sad

We have four basic feelings:
Happy – Sad
Anger – Fear

It's pretty clear why happy and sad are antonymous. Anger and fear? Well, they go back to primitive times when it was all about fight or flight – fear and flee or get angry and fight (we're very courageous when we're angry).

It's very easy to know when we are happy, angry or fearful. The physical feedback our body gives us is easy to detect. But sadness? Sadness will throw you off.

The thing with sadness is that it only masquerades as sadness. In most cases the underlying feeling is actually anger. Why does this happen? It's all part of our socialization process: We're taught from babyhood that being angry is not good, that we should stop crying or having that fit. And so we replace anger with sadness.

The other day I was feeling really sad. I had had a good day but something in one of the meetings made me feel down. But looking closely at the situation I was actually angry with myself for not doing something.

The important thing with recognizing this is that anger needs room to vent. If you don't recognize it and leave it as sadness it will build up and eventually explode.

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