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This is one of a series
of brief articles on how to respond effectively
to annoying social behavior. An "effective response"
occurs when you get your
primary needs met
well enough, and both people feel
article offers (a) perspective on "sadness," and (b) ways of responding to someone
who's significantly sad. It assumes
you're familiar with...
This brief YouTube video provides perspective on
empathy, Are you empathic?
See how you feel about these
feel sad when...
something we love or need on (grief) and...
a living thing
we care about suffers pain or danger
Sadnessisn't "caused by" grief. It is a
phase of the emotional level of grief. As such, it
helpful, and needs to be allowed to
complete at its own pace.
Over time, normal sadness fades into
acceptance and peace - i.e. sadness is usually a
state, unless grief becomes
Sad thoughts and feelings come from one or
more of your
personality subselves who "activate." The
thoughts and feelings recede when the subselves
Non-specific sadness is a common
symptoms of "depression" - which may
actually be grief over some expected or actual
loss (broken bond).
People who experience significant sadness in
another person may become uncomfortable, and
feel they should reassure and make the sad
person "feel better." This is specially true of
adults and kids. Often this really aims to
lower their own anxiety around the sad person.
People who feel and show little sadness over
losses or others' pain are usually ruled by a
false self, and may be unable to
People who are "perpetually sad" are
probably ruled by a false self - like the
and one or
Guardian subselves. Freeing
true Self can allow sadness to
run its course and subside. (Lesson 1)
With these premises in mind, reflect: how do you
normally feel around a notably sad
person, and what do you normally do? Now
recall the last time you felt sad. What
did you need other people to do? Empathize?
Comfort you? Listen? Question? Reassure you?
Hold you? Distract you? Talk? Be silent?
can you respond effectively to a sad person?.
"Do you need
company, or would you rather be alone?"
you need now?"
Note the theme of these sample responses -
brief, direct, respectful, focused on the sad
person in the present, and acknowledging the
sadness without trying to discount, deflect, or
"fix" it. For contrast, consider these...
Responses to Avoid
"I know just how you feel."
This is an arrogant assumption. You probably
Focuses on the
future, not now.
"C'mon (Name) - it's not that big a
deal." This is a disrespectful
"Lighten up, will you? You're bringing
us all down with your gloom." Ditto
"Don't come out of your room without a
happy face!" (Implication - "Your
sadness is wrong/bad, and you're responsible
for our happiness.") A shaming
put-down to young kids.
"I remember when that (situation)
happened to me." Shifts the focus
from the sad per-son to you.
"Hey, everyone - welcome Prince/ss
Gloom!" A sarcastic, unempathic
put-down, and clumsy attempt to offset
sadness with humor.
"But look at the good side..." This discounts and invalidates the
great? She never let's things get her down!"
Implication - the other person is
not great (bad) for showing their
"It's more fun to be around upbeat
people, don't you think?"
criticism that implies the sad person is "no
. Note the theme of these responses -
arrogant, disrespectful, sarcastic, judgmental,
self-serving, and unempathic. Have you ever
received comments like these? If so, how did you
feel? Responses like these suggest a false self
is in charge.
This is one of a series
of brief articles suggesting effective ways to
respond to common uncomfortable and unpleasant social behaviors. This article offers (a) perspective on
sadness, and (b) examples of how and how
respond to a significantly-sad adult or child.
Effective responses are