The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Kahlil Gibran

What a relief! The sorrow comes first. The carving tool gets out of the way before you fill the vessel. Most of the search results for “sorrow into joy” point to the Bible. However, citing authority is less powerful than concrete example. Consider instead the rewards of PMA (positive mental attitude) and action.

Many success coaches, not only grief counselors, start their stories saying, “I’ve been there.” In the business world the shared sorrow is scarcity. Leaders show how they transformed that into abundance. If they had never had lean times, they would not recognize plenty. Someone who has never hungered cannot fully appreciate food. Hunger serves a purpose.

Online searches suggest that to grow a business, you should increase your failures. They are not the cause of the growth; they are the research that points the way to growth. After we recognize failure sadness, we replace it with something more desirable. Progress is improving on, not perpetuating, yesterday. That contrast builds our appreciation of tomorrow.

On the other hand, Jim Belosic suggested in themuse that it is better to take steps not to fail in the first place. A track record of failure is not an encouraging prediction. In personal development, a succession of confessions becomes a self-perpetuating pattern. Failure sadness has value only in the overcoming. It must be abandoned without repetition.

Sometimes I reserve an opposite viewpoint for a later article. Today I put the value and the detriment of failure sadness into a single discussion. I am suggesting a progression: wherever we were yesterday is sorrow compared to tomorrow because our path is always upward. We will not be limited to or deterred by the past. Because it is less pleasant than the future, we will distance ourselves from it and never look back.

In doing this, we do not turn our backs on people. Not going back to negative relationships means re-relating in more positive ways. Forgiveness is not being vulnerable to reinjury. It is repositioning so that the injury passes as we define the new world. Past sadness indicates being happy that a thing is in the past. Present sadness violates the title of this article.

The above article defines joy as growing. The school supplement acknowledges that there exists separately an appropriate present sadness (sympathy).

Is today’s article the cold shower on a happiness blog? Sometimes we need the foil that makes an object more visible. Recognizing any form of unhappiness is part of realizing life.

Recall from article 40 and school supplement 56 that the sense of happiness is intimately connected with what we expect. Article 58 reminded us “Success can be realized by performing up to a high goal, or by accepting as the goal something you can perform.” The satisfaction meter checks our connection with reality.

Indeed, sadness is an accepted mindset for some events and conditions. A celebration of life honoring the deceased includes sadness over a loss. Somebody else’s misfortune invokes sympathy. These are uncomfortable cases that rightfully develop our empathy. Appropriate sadness is necessary to life balance. Otherwise life is forced and artificial; failure to acknowledge is insensitive.

For those who are interested, I take note that the main article is structured as chiasmus (a form of Hebrew poetry—reflection of topics around the midpoint). Seeing that unintended sequence attached a feeling of poetry to what I had written.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

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