Deep Sadness and How I Found Peace

Do you think much on your dreams? I’m not talking about your goals and aspirations. I’m talking about your actual dreams that happen when you sleep. What do you think of those?

Most of the time, I just wake up and say, “Well, that was weird.”

But there have been a few times when I wake up in a stupor. I wonder to myself, “Was there a message in that dream?”

Like just last Tuesday. I awoke having dreamt about a very close friend I had in high school. We’ll call her Suzie.

But what’s unique about this dream is that it wasn’t unique! I’ve dreamt about Suzie multiple times in the past five years—and yet, we don’t actually keep in touch. I’ve talked to Suzie more in the last five years in my dreams, than I have in actual life in the past twenty years since we’ve graduated!

So when I woke again to having been in her presence, I wondered, “Was there a message in that dream?”

I finally decided to take the time to set aside all other distractions, and get an answer.

As I pondered, another question came to mind.

You see, it’s all about how you ask your questions. If I asked, “Was there a message in that dream?” I could just get a simple answer of “yes.”

But if I asked, “What am I supposed to do regarding Suzie?” I will get a much more detailed answer.

So I asked that as well, “What am I supposed to do regarding Suzie?” (Having had dreams like this before of another high school friend, and discovering I needed to do some forgiving with him, I was pretty sure that these random dreams of Suzie were also telling me something.)

As I let my thoughts wander about Suzie, I started to feel an emotion that I recognized as sadness. Well, actually, I recognized it as disappointment, but I knew that “disappointment” was an emotional offspring to sadness, so I called it sadness.

I recalled the last time we spoke–about five years ago–and how I had learned some very difficult news from her. It felt like my heart was breaking. I was so sad at the time, and I did not know how to process or work through that sadness. So I just carried on.

PROBLEM: Often, deep sadness is too painful to acknowledge or face, and we don’t know how to deal with it, so we just try to make it through, day by day, hoping it will one day get easier.

Well, here I was, years later, revisiting that sadness. I felt it was telling me, “It’s now time to work through it. You have the tools. Let’s do it.”

Since I now know that our wonderful emotions always bring us a message of something we need to do, I wondered to myself, “What is my action item? What does my sadness want me to do?”

I know that the message in sadness is that there is something I need to let go of, but I wasn’t sure what that thing was. I scanned my memories with Suzie, how my relationship had been with her, the things we had done together. She and I had been like sisters! One of my dearest, closest friends. But after graudation, we parted on our own paths, and when we reconnected a few years ago, I learned of her difficult news that helped me see how much Suzie had changed since graduation, and how she had gotten herself into trouble. She did not want to stay re-connected with me, and didn’t really want me back in her life.

So Tuesday, I waited and thought and pondered and scanned and waited and wondered if I would get an answer to my question: “What do I need to let go of regarding Suzie?”

And suddenly, I received it. A thought came of the Suzie in high school saying to me, “I’m dying.”

It was all clear now. The action item from my sadness was that I needed to let go of the image I had of Suzie in high school. She had “died” and was no longer that person anymore. (Technically, I’m not the same me in high school either—whew! That’s a relief!) But all of my fond memories were attached to a person that didn’t exist anymore, that I was trying to hold on to.

Now realizing that, I visualized gathering up my high school friend and all of our wonderful memories. I imagined putting them inside a balloon, and then I let that balloon float away. I let it go.

Letting go of these things does not erase them from my mind. It just helps me see the memories more clearly–of good times with a dear friend. It disconnects the longing and expectation of that relationship to continue, and allows me to look back on that time in my life with happiness.

In the moment that I let that balloon go, I felt the deep sadness in my heart ease up. I felt lighter. I felt better.

I see now that I can pray and hope for the more recent Suzie (SuzieB). And I feel good about that. But holding on to what she used to be (SuzieA) will only bring me more sadness.

And I can still recall our sweet memories together, but now, I see them as memories with SuzieA, and not SuzieB. I can love both Suzie’s. And I can feel at peace about it too.

SOLUTION: Recognize that sadness is bringing a message of something that needs to be done. Find out what it is, and do it!

Perhaps this would be a very different experience if I interacted with her on a daily basis. I don’t know. But this was the experience that I needed and that I got to have because my sadness brought me the message. I’m grateful I recognized the thing it was telling me to do.

Ahhhh. Those care free days . . .

Now . . . let’s see if I have any more dreams of Suzie, shall we? I’ll let you know.

Are you experiencing any deep sadness right now?

Is your heart breaking a little because of a relationship that once was, but is no more—yet that person is still in your life?

Take a few deep breaths now. Do you feel that sadness in your body? It hurts the heart, doesn’t it? It’s hard to bear.

Go there. Don’t be afraid of the discomfort. It won’t last forever.

Ask that sadness, “What do I need to let go of?”

Quietly wait for the answer. Don’t listen to music. Don’t be watching youtube or netflix. Don’t be reading (unless it’s this post!) Give some one-on-one time to you and your sadness.

Did you get an answer?

Remember, letting go of something doesn’t mean you will never talk to someone again. And it doesn’t mean you have to forget every good thing that ever happened with that person.

It just means that you are letting go of the expectation, the longing, the desire, or the hope of what you want that relationship to be.

So did you get your answer?

Now visualize gathering it all up, and letting it go. Put it in a box and watch it drift away on the ocean waves. Stick it in a balloon and let it float to outer space. Or, if you know about Jesus Christ and His Atonement for you, place it on a plate and give it to Him directly. He is willing to take it, so you can be at peace.

Take a deep breath now.

How do you feel?

Do you feel better?

Is there more? Maybe there is some anger or fear intertwined in there as well. Click on the Anger or Fear tags to read more about those emotions.

And if you know someone who is also suffering with deep sadness, send this to them, and help them find some inner peace as well.

Recognizing the message in our emotions, and then acting on it, is REQUIRED if you want to feel better from your emotions. Shoving them down inside, or exploding with them won’t help us become better people. Don’t suffer day by day ignoring them. Realize what they are telling you and then take those steps to help you move forward to becoming a better person.

I know you can do it! It’s totally possible. You can receive the messages in your emotions. You can take those actions. And you can feel peace. You can do it!

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