Passages from The Positive Power of Sadness

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

I take quotes from empowering books and share them with you.  This gives you a quick dose of knowledge and inspiration. Perhaps something you can apply in your life right away.  I also give you my viewpoint of the quote.  These are short podcast episodes for your busy schedule and we tend to retain important points easier.

This also gives you a glimpse into a book which you may have never heard of and make the decision to read it.

Here are FIVE quotes from the book, The Positive Power of Sadness: How Good Grief Prevents and Cures Anxiety, Depression, and Anger by Deb Brock and Ron Johnson. This book may be useful to your life.  Grief of all kinds is experienced throughout life. Grief can mean a loved one has passed away, a loss of a thought or idea or vocation, any major loss in life which brings immense sadness.

1. Defensive blocks are created after the storm of grief. Once the initial shock and profound aloneness that has been generated by a major loss has passed, we come out of the brief, timeless void and begin to find ways to grapple with our loss.

These defensive postures temporarily buffer us from the emotional storm we are in.  Much of the anger people experience in the early portions of grief erupts out of a sense of injustice.  There is something very important about this kind of anger in that it gives people a platform from which they can challenge what is otherwise unchallengeable: God, the universe, nature, or other people.  We simultaneously love life and believe in life, on the other hand, we hate life.

My thoughts: This extreme measure mentioned is typically after the passing away of a loved one.  I understand that is called death.  We usually like to use the word passing away as it is gentler and they still live on in our mind, so it is not completely death.  Unless you no longer think about them or have good thoughts from cherished memories.  Anyway, defensive postures are after the storm of tears and incredible sadness.  The defensiveness is natural and that is when you are angry.  You are very sensitive and can get angry over someone not being present for you in this difficult time. Your general life views have faltered with questions of “How can this happen to me?, I am a good person and have done nothing wrong, and that goes the same for the person who passed away.”  This can apply to a living loss also, or someone who is living but not existing in your life.

Obviously you are going to hate your life.  Something has worked against you and all your wonderful beliefs. This is natural .  If you are religious, you will hate God, if you highly believe in a God.  You are exploding and think the world is against you or unfair or unjust and everyone is evil or out to harm you.

Once you get past this cyclone of mad thoughts, things will settle.  My point is the naturalness of this is human.  Don’t harm yourself anymore than you are.  IF you are a cold unfeeling person or sociopath then you will be unemotional, but you are a loving, sensitive being and you need to flow with the hard emotions or get help from a specialist to release and discuss them.

2. Reaching out is difficult for many people for several reasons.  No one comes to the need for people in the grieving process without natural resistance to truly facing the loss.  Reaching out for help while one is in the grieving process is difficult because doing so forces the person into recognizing that the loss is real, that this loss leads to real grief, and that grieving does not magically restore what was lost.

When we go through grief and again that can be of many forms from losing a relationship, a financial loss, a career, a plan or a part of ourselves defeated.   This loss can create difficulty in reaching out to people.  You want to know that people care and will have compassion and will listen. However, you do need to be picky on who you want to share all those deep feelings of grief.  Not everyone are capable listeners, or can relate, or have compassion.  Some people are cold and they don’t want to hear hard stories and sympathize.

They are uncomfortable with the topic and may not care about your situation. Also, you will be alert and sensitive to people who may choose to express themselves unwisely, as they don’t know how to communicate either. This can be choosing the wrong words or making matters worse.

When you identify the person or persons or group to expose yourself, you are creating a layer of yourself that is about to unfold.  Yes, you are a sensitive and vulnerable human.  What is wrong with that?  Nothing! Just because you hear "Be Strong" does not mean you can’t expose the part deep within that experiences pain.  I always emphasize “Express, don’t Repress.” When you expose and become vulnerable with feelings with the right people, they appreciate your authentic reveal as I call it.

3. When I am in a state of fear, I will not be able to honestly and honorably examine what I have loved and lost.  Instead, I will become defensive.  Sadly, that is where most people reside: in a state of fear and potential shame.  Shame is based on fear that something is undeniably and irreparably wrong with me.  If I think there is something terribly wrong with me, it is understandable that I would not want that terrible thing to be obvious to everyone.  So I hide.  And that’s where most people reside, at least in their interpersonal relationships. 

When someone is defensive easily they are harboring shame. Shame is the foremost reason people resist feeling sadness because if they feel sad, they will then have to admit to errors they have made in life. This type of grief seems based on a poor decision.  A poor decision in selecting a person for a relationship, a career, a type of lifestyle, or any other strong decision.  When that thing or person that is lost and grief is faced, the person may feel shame as it may not have been the best choice.  Or it could be shame that they lost something special to them and it is somehow their fault which is far from the truth.  They think the world and people have to be fake by projecting happiness or positive all the time.  There is no shame in sadness or something not working out, and that shows one is a real human of vulnerability and humanity.   4. Ideally when a trauma occurs, we can prevent post-traumatic stress if we can act fast and be removed from the traumatic environment.  The sooner we are out of the trauma experience, the better we usually fare.  Additionally, the sooner we receive sufficient environmental support, physical comfort, medical assistance, and even simple assurances of safety and concern, we do better.  And of course, the sooner we can process our feelings that were put on hold, the sooner we can finish the trauma.

Trauma is the outcome of various experiences and some may be easier to exit than others.  True, if we are able to remove ourselves from a traumatic experience soon, we can get the support needed right away.  Support takes courage also, as you may need to contact a therapist, a support group, or medical doctor or be taken to a place where you feel safe.  That can be a challenge in itself.   The key is to get help no matter what has brought about your traumatic pain, and never be ashamed or afraid.  If this has to do with protection, you check with legal services in your area.

5. When you think about something in the past that was sad, or when you think of something in the future, the brain will see it as happening right now.  When you think about something in the past that was sad, or when you think of something in the future that could be sad, the brain registers these thoughts as immediately present.  This has a lot to do with depression. It is a given that one will experience extreme sadness in one’s life.  You may have been through the experience or may be at this moment.  You already know it, but give your mind a break from reliving those bad days.  Those pictures in your mind are damaging.  You know it happened and accepted it as your reality, but giving too much time to seeing it will make you extremely depressed and unable to do the productive daily tasks you need to thrive in life.  You will be unable to seek new possibilities or new joy if you keep reliving and revisiting that awful sadness you went through.  You already know it, so if it comes your way let it be temporary by looking at it, then replacing it with something that is good for you. It takes practice and time. Those were some Healing Minds tips to use today inspired by the book The Positive Power of Sadness.

Hopefully something inspired you to move forward in life while building your mental strength.

If you have any comments or feedback, please email me at Thanks so much for joining me and please check out the next episode.

This is Tania, and until next time,  "A healthy lifestyle begins with the mind."

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