When I feel sadness, my whole body seems to be drained of energy. A soft, tear-colored mist diffuses from behind my eyes and down into my chest. I want to curl up in a comfortable armchair or under a warm comforter. I want to let myself think about this thing, so precious that I lost. 

There are two ways of looking at the treasures that life takes away from us. We can think that they are gone, or we can rejoice in having collected them, in having been enriched by their encounter and the adventure they have given us. Sadness has the function of allowing renunciation. 

The great paradox is that it allows us to let go of our treasures, to set out again towards new adventures, rich inwardly from what we have experienced. 

We often speak of the appeasement that comes from accepting our emotions. We forget that it is through sadness that we can let go of our expectations, of our disappointed hopes, of our demands contradicted by our humanity. 

Let us not be afraid to live our sadness fully. It is not depression. The sweet melancholy of renunciation is the shortest path to joy. 

Is this strange? 

If we allow sadness to hibernate, joy will awaken all the more in the spring. Renunciation is not a loss but a renewal. 

Our heart can only grow and if it breaks; it is only to let the seeds of compassion grow…

Isabelle Leboeuf is a psychologist and psychotherapist. In her practice she integrates hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and compassion-focused therapy.

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