Archives For Love Maps

What is Sadness?

June 25, 2011 — 6 Comments
Tears are tasteless by Megyarsh, on Flickr

What does it mean to be "sad?"

Is sadness the opposite of happiness? Clinicians, do you have a real definition? It seems ridiculous, but I’m not entirely sure I know.

During some quiet time, my wife and I were sharing answers to a few of the questions I’d read while flipping through the Love Maps app from the Gottman Institute.

The question for me was, “What was your partner’s happiest moment?”

That one was a easy – our wedding day. If you saw the smile on her face that day, the choice was obvious. Her face literally hurt at the end of the day. We talked about why that day made her happy. She talked about feelings of love, joy, accomplishment, and even relief. Like I say, an obvious choice.

But then the obvious discussion point coming back to me was “What was the saddest day in your life?”

“Hmmm… It depends on what you mean by sad,” was my reply. “Is sad the opposite of happy? I’ve felt misunderstood, hurt, frustrated, lonely, anxious, left-out, pained, and have even felt feelings of loss - occasionally in combination. Would my saddest moment just be one of those moments or is ‘sad’ something different? I’m not sure I’ve ever felt just plain ‘sad.’”

So my question is, by definition is “sad” in reality a combination of other emotions or is it something unto itself? e.g. If I am lonely am I a kind of sad, or is it possible to be lonely and sad.

Ya, some days I think too much. ;-) I look forward to reading your comments.