We don't want to open ourselves to our own sadness. Who wants to be that vulnerable? All that loss, that grief, that avalanche of sorrow? Why would we sign on for such a thing? So many times people tell me they're afraid that if they start feeling their sadness, they'll never stop crying. But here is a radical idea: The ability to be sad is a blessing.

In our childhoods, we were taught that sadness is a sign of weakness. Remember your own childhood: Were you ever called a cry-baby? Or made to feel ashamed of your tears? Did you somehow internalize the message that you were supposed to stuff those feelings, put on a brave face, chin up and all that? I'm here to tell you that you need to do the precise opposite. Feel it. Feel it all. What's the worst thing that can happen? When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are experiencing a blessing. We are offering ourselves the opportunity to see and experience life authentically, without defenses or screens keeping us from our own true nature.

There is an exquisiteness to sadness and pain. It has a quality and resonance that is unique. It's a way we all can relate to one another, because we all feel sadness. Were it not for our judgment of that emo-tion, no one would have a problem feeling it. Sadness is socially unacceptable—we're conditioned from day one to understand sadness as a sign of weakness—so people refuse to experience it and it accumulates weight. Its density grows in the body. Look at the body language and posture of someone who is experiencing a depression: They seem to carry a weight on their shoulders. They're hunched over. They can hardly get out of bed. It's like a weeping willow tree as opposed to a mighty oak. The oak tree is firm and elegant and upright. The weeping willow has allowed the burdens of life to bend it.

The key is to shift your experience of sadness. Grief? Loss? Tears pouring down your cheeks? Good. Feel it all. Know that you are one of 7.2 billion people on this planet who experience the same thing. The rejection of sadness further separates you from your own wholeness. Lean into it. Breathe. Accept. Embrace and embody the blessing of sadness, because where there is acceptance, judgment no longer has any power. When you let this energy wash over you, there will be an intensity to it, but as you keep allowing it to flow through you, it will eventually diminish. Allow life to do its job.

Panache Desai is the author of Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33-Day Path to Purpose, Passion & Joy, from which this excerpt was taken.


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