Sadness Amidst The Celebration
Updated: Jan 3
The walls we build around us to keep out sadness, also keep out joy. ~Jim Rohn
There is angst in the silence of the night.
There is sadness in the midst of the celebration.
A few days ago, I realized I had settled into a dreary drizzle of sadness. My heart was heavy, I didn’t want to do the merry and bright, I was just sad. It seems my sad is as loud as my celebration this year. I feel my happy is just hard.
The reality of sadness has been somewhat disheartening to me, because I love celebration. The holidays are prime celebration time and I want to feel anything but sadness. Sadness felt like something shameful, especially since I am by nature a person who makes a habit of practicing gratitude.
But sadness is a necessary part of the emotional landscape.
Looking at the outward appearances of life, I have absolutely no reason for sadness, which adds guilt or shame to the pile of unwelcome emotional guests.
The good news for my extroverted self is, I am not alone in the cold climate of sadness. One of the most loved bible personalities, King David, felt sorrow and sadness and wasn’t afraid to admit it and wrestle with it.
From David, we can learn Practice Biblical Principals in dealing with our sadness.
In Psalm 42:5,11 and 43:5 David is evidently feeling distraught and alone, wondering where God is and he asks himself this question:
"Why are you in despair (sunk down) oh my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?"
It’s like David is saying to Himself, “Hey dude, what’s the matter with you? Why are you feeling so discouraged and downcast?”
He even goes so far as to address that this is not his norm. He’s a celebratory kind of king. He likes a good parade and party.
“I used to go along with the throng and lead them in the procession to the house of God with the voice of joy and thanksgiving.”
Wow, King Dave, can I identify with you…
So, what do I do? What can you do?
We can look to the pattern David sets forth in the word and try to learn from his example.
1. NAME IT
What is the actual feeling?
David used words like despair, disturbed, sunk down.
Take a few moments to choose a word or two that captures what you are feeling.
I have compiled a few helpful tools and tips in identifying feelings.
CLICK here for your free downloadable HOW I’M FEELING TOOLKIT.
2. STATE THE PROBLEM WITH CLARITY AND CONFIDENCE
I feel ____________.
We have been conditioned and taught to stuff it and smile. We have not been given permission to feel what we feel and acknowledge that feeling so we can begin to explore and move through that feeling. Give yourself the gift of self-compassion this holiday season and be real with yourself in the stillness of your own silent night.
3. ASK & KEEP ASKING
Start with the problem and keep asking why.
Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota, developed what he called Five Whys. It was an iterative question-asking technique used to get to the root cause of a problem.
Take time and dive deep into the WHY. Don’t try to spiritualize your way out of the sadness. Lay the guilt and shame aside as you explore the feeling.
Here in the calm depths, you will be able to access what is at the core and know your heart.
Why do I feel __________?
Bear with me as I share my own exploratory journey of the Five Whys. This process took a little time. I had to change the ‘why’ question a few times to allow myself to explore. I have wept through the process. It was not easy. I have had to sit in the feeling to explore the feeling.
I feel weepy. Why are you weepy?
My kids are not with me on Christmas and I miss celebrating and doing Christmassy things with them.
Why do you miss celebrating with them?
We had atypical, traditional holidays. There was celebrations with people, contests, no school, opportunities to bring joy to others, and a home overflowing with people and laughter.
Why did you have these atypical, traditional holidays?
I wanted to give my kids and others the gift of joy, celebration, and beautiful holiday memories, and teach them about giving joy to others.
Why was it important that you give these gifts?
Giving fills my heart with joy.
4. DO IT
In his article, “Keep Asking Why,” Colter Reed says, “Keep asking until you get an answer you can act on.”
I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Psalm 43:6
David searched his heart and came back to his action step,
Praise God, acknowledge Him as Savior.
Understanding the why of our emotions helps us move through them. Then we are empowered to add action steps to help resolve the issue.
My deep dive into my why has given me insight as to why I feel weepy.
I have not created experiences for others this holiday season.
I have not offered the gift of joy to others as I am created to do.
After sharing this with my husband, not only have I committed to being home next year during the holidays, I have actually already blocked two dates on my calendar in December 2023 to host some atypical holiday festivity.
If you find it challenging to shake the sadness, please reach out.
As a Women’s Lead-Hership coach, I can help you Discover where the sadness is coming from, Define opportunities for you to connect with your feelings, and Develop the BEST YOU for 2023 as you learn to live, lead and love from authentic YOU.
BE-COME the beautiful Lead-Her God Created you to be in 2023.
Be sure to download the copy of my HOW I’M FEELING TOOLKIT to help you on your self-care/self-awareness journey.