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The Pursuit of Sadness

Hi! I'm Mahrukh Khalid, a junior at Bahria University. I love to write and make people feel good about themselves, so I'll do just that.


What is Sadness?

An emotion we quite so often experience, but do we actually realize the true essence of sadness?

“The condition or quality of feeling or showing sorrow,” says Google on the matter.

But is that really all there is to it? The whole population on planet earth experiences this phenomenon despite having infinite reasons to be happy. Could sadness in reality carry a great role in our lives? Could it be that a human is unable to live without it? This sensation of emptiness has great value? Can happiness exist without it?

What does science suggest?

Other than sadness let’s touch a broader term, “emotions”. Emotions are something scientists have the least to speak about, though many have dug into the matter, each one present a different explanation as apparent below:

  • Joseph Paul Forgas, an Australian social psychologist, currently Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, found that sadness helps people assess situations more accurately because the feeling promotes a more detailed and attentive thinking style.
  • Linda Davidoff defines emotion as a feeling that is expressed through physiological functions such as facial expressions, faster heartbeat, and behaviors such as aggression, crying, or covering the face with hands.
  • According to Lisa Feldman Barrett, director of Northeastern University’s Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory, “Emotions are not your reactions to your world,” she tells Science of Us. “They are how you make sense of what’s going on inside your body in relation to the world.”
  • Evolutionary psychologists theorize that, “Sadness is the price we pay for our ability to form bonds with one another.”

To be precise, the easiest answer could be, “I don’t know why?”


Love for Sadness

Loving one’s sadness does not simply mean to ‘love’ it, it means to accept it, feel it, and allow it to flow through you like blood. It means to become completely engrossed with it, and still being okay with it. It means to live with it.

Though sadness may seem bad and feared by many, it is what allows you to cross bridges you never could have imagined crossing, and yes, you cross them, not jump off. Accepting sadness doesn’t make you coward it makes you brave and strong and become the person you are today.

“Sadness is the opportunity for change and can bring you up close and personal again with our desires and our truth. You know the questions: Who am I? What do I really want? And what is getting in the way? You may decide to make a U Turn in your life. You may decide to walk away from something big. You may decide to stay no matter what anyone else in your life thinks about your choices. Perhaps your sadness is giving you the opportunity and the forward motion to change.”

(What if You Could Love Your Sadness? :


Happiness without Sadness

Happiness and sadness are two aspects that go hand in hand, the polar opposites yet the perfect combo. You know what they say, “opposites attract”. Like sugar and salt, light and dark, hot and cold, winter and summer and so on.

And when I say, “opposites attract”, I mean it, because sadness attracts happiness and happiness attracts sadness. A brownie tastes best when sweet and salty, one cannot warm oneself without coolness and one cannot cool oneself without hotness, would we cherish the snow in snow, or the sun in snow?

Harmony in the world is maintained in this manner.

A survey on, ‘Can we have happiness without sadness?’ reveals, 40% said Yes and 60% said No. Thus, majority vote, it is obvious that we cannot have happiness without sadness.


From the top! ‘What is sadness?’ To be clear, no one knows, it’s an emotion by far and many people experience it in their own personal manner. Science doesn’t help much in the matter. But, I for one think that sadness is nothing to be scared about. We’ve all had tough times and somehow or another we got past it. Though you might consider it a wound that may never heal, you know as well as I do, it brought where you are today.


A wise man once said, “Sadness purifies the soul from hardness and arrogance and increases it in softness and humbleness.”

© 2017 Mahrukh Khalid

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