“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant.”

-Paul Coelho.

When you are in the midst of unhappiness, finding reprieve from unrelenting sadness seems absolutely impossible. No matter how hard you try, you’re unable to shake loose from the all-consuming, heavyhearted, deep feeling of sadness. It swallows you whole.

That’s exactly where I was. Swallowed so whole by sadness that I didn’t know how not to be sad.

And even though I was desperate to feel better, I found myself silently defending my right to my sadness. Because, look, who wouldn’t be – who couldn’t be this sad, after everything that was said and done.

We make the mistake of believing our sadness is a measure of how deeply we’ve been wronged. We think if we let go of our sadness, we’re somehow declaring that what happened really wasn’t that big of a deal.

So we hold on tight because it’s our way of justifying to ourselves, and to everyone else around us, just how deeply we were hurt, wronged or betrayed.

And that’s where I was stuck – wanting to feel better but not being able to let go of my sadness

But then I learned something that finally allowed the death grip of sadness to loosen its grip on me:

The depth of your sadness is not a measure of how deeply you’ve been wronged.

Regardless of what your partner may have done, as long as you believe that the depth of your sadness must equal the degree of their betrayal or the sting of their unkindness or deception, you rob yourself of your ability to embrace joy.

Your partner’s behavior can be unacceptable, absolutely horrible, and you can feel unbearably sad about it, but know this: The degree or depth of their ‘wrongness’ does not depend on how sad you are and for how long. You can be happy, without it ever changing the fact that what they did was, and still is, wrong.

You have to separate your feelings of hurt and betrayal from your ability to create happiness. They are two completely different things.

The fact that your partner lied, broke your trust, crushed your heart – whatever it is that has happened – those actions sit on their very own shelf of truth, and your ability to create your own happiness sits on its own shelf, waiting for you to reach for it.

Your capacity to move beyond your sadness does not dismiss the truth about how deeply you have been hurt. But if you allow your sadness to become your measure of how true it is, then you can never let go of it.

Your need to remain perpetually sad will prevent you from being able to experience joy, and ultimately, move on.

But if you are brave enough to peer into the broken pieces of your heart and look through the rubble, you’ll find your very own ‘star dust’ that contains all your wisdom and strength. And if you allow it, it will reveal the truth about who you really are and all that you are capable of.

You can either allow what happened to define you, or see it as the opportunity to redefine yourself.

So instead of using your sadness to define the depth of your partner’s wrong doing and how deeply you’ve been hurt, allow the fact that you’re still here – standing – despite how deeply you’ve been hurt, to be the definition of your strength, resiliency and courage.

Let your, strength, resiliency and courage, be the measure of your willingness and determination to reclaim your life. Allow it to be the measure of your ability to heal your heart, transform your life, love again, trust again, and embrace joy, despite all your pain.

Let that be the creed you live by -– let your courage, strength and resiliency, your desire to have more, be more, give more, live more fully – be your defining rally cry.  Don’t ever settle for ‘obligatory sadness’ – choose joy and let it go.