In a state of sadness, you are in a state of grief and hurt that wants to heal.
We feel sad when we personally identify with the problem and its solution and feel lacking in addressing it. This means we feel a sense of responsibility and blame ourselves for not having the means to make a difference. This helplessness and hopelessness feels awful and so often we do our best to minimize it by not fully acknowledging it.
Metaphorically, we are just hiding it away in the closet. Of course, this means that it still exists even if we turn our attention elsewhere. However, if we clean out the closet we can sort through the aspects that hold the sadness.
Feeling Helpless or Hopeless
Deep sadness occurs when you feel helpless in your own capacity to make a difference or hopeless that any difference is even possible. There is a loss of relationship that you have not worked out how to give of yourself to prevent. The extent to which you want things to be different (better) and believe that the want will not be met is the sadness.
It may be a type of learned helplessness where you have tried repeatedly and failed and this experience has led you to believe in certain constraints. Perhaps you have witnessed something many times over a period of time such that it appears endemic or intractable.
It may be a sense of hopelessness due to the pain you see out in the world or that you yourself are directly experiencing—for example, the many apparently unresolvable dilemmas of our social fabric. Things such as the choice between paying a living wage and being able to stay in business. Perhaps you have to choose between being fully there to parent your child or putting food on the table. It could be knowing that your opportunities in life are influenced by your gender, sexuality, or ethnicity. So there is pressure to choose between being yourself and being accepted.
We don’t want to be Helpless or Hopeless
These feelings are uncomfortable precisely because they draw attention to our humanness. They reveal the level at which we do not know. And, also the things that as yet we have not been able to handle. What if it is ok to feel helpless and hopeless.
It is possible to change your relationship with this discomfort. Initially, you have to allow yourself to acknowledge the varied nature of life pursuits and the ways in which they embed both what is wanted and what is not wanted. There is no concrete foundation or right or wrong to provide structure here. There is just an opportunity to accept and embrace what is with compassion.
As you allow yourself to let it be, sadness will manifesting as peace instead of grief and hurt. The more permission you give yourself to stay in the ambiguity the more open and forgiving you become. Over time, this leads to a greater appreciation for the moment itself however it presents.