Sadness honors the loss that comes with change. In a world where change and loss are inevitable, the willingness to have sadness allows us to remain fully alive. Put another way, sadness is part of feeling and healing loss that allows us to risk caring and attaching again.
A stoic or “pain-blocking” approach assumes that feeling sadness or continuing to care and attach in a world of inevitable loss is illogical, even irrational: “Why care about people, places, and things that we will lose, and then feel the subsequent loss which causes us pain?”
When a person becomes terminally hard or calloused in heart against sadness through logic, drugs, fantasy, and so on, they lose the capacity to care, attach, and participate in life on life’s terms. This person loses more when they intend never to lose again.
A person becomes impaired when they are in denial, blind to, or ignore their own make-up, which can occur because of the trauma of loss. The good news, however, is that we do not have to be destroyed by loss. We can rediscover the courage of caring.
Sadness is the struggle we enter that expresses the pain of loss. People who do not become calloused, honor loss with their sadness. They do not stop missing whom or what was lost. Grief is forever with us in this life. But those people do become prepared over time to care again, to risk attachment again, and to find life again, in spite of the cost of caring.