How can we defend ourselves against sad news?

Trick question. We can’t.

There will always be sad news.  It can sometimes feel like sad news is everywhere.  

I heard tragic news this morning and my mind quickly went to…What if that happened to me?  What if that happened to one of my children?  To someone I love?

Sad news can feel overwhelming because of our emotional reaction to it.  So overwhelming that we want to make it stop, to cut ourselves off from the source.  Avoid Facebook, turn off the television.  Essentially, shelter ourselves so that we are only surrounded by our safe little world.

But why is that?  Why do our feelings of sadness, grief and heartache make us want to run or hide?

It is because of what is underneath them.


And THAT is where the beauty lies.

Behind those emotions is fear…

  • The fear of losing things in our life that are so precious to us
  • The fear of anyone we love feeling pain
  • The fear of experiencing a loss like one we’ve suffered before

But the fear could not exist without an incredible gift.

The capacity to love.

It is the love that we feel and have felt that is the source of that fear.  It is love that is so powerful that it binds us to all of humanity.  That’s why we experience sadness and grief from news that seemingly doesn’t even touch our safe little world.

If we stop for just a moment to accept our feelings of sorrow as intimately connected to our feelings of love, sad news no longer has to trigger a fear response.

How would that feel to never have to shield yourself from sad news again?  

The reality is that no matter how good a job you do of protecting yourself from it, it will appear at some point.  As long as you have love in your heart, that is a certainty.

So, the next time you hear sad news, I encourage you to try a new approach.

  • First, give yourself permission to feel what you feel.  Sorrow.  Sadness.  Grief.  Heartache.  Instead of being in such panic to bury it or push it away, let it in.  Breathe through it.  Cry.  Do whatever it is for you that comes with acceptance.
  • Second, bypass the fear and step right into love.  Use GRATITUDE.  Gratitude for all of those things you are afraid of losing or those things already lost.  Open yourself up to feeling that love instead of closing down because of fear.

Once we begin to see the emotions we are so quick to avoid as the gifts they are, we do not have to fear them anymore.  Instead, we can accept them because they show us the amazing beauty and love we are capable of.

So this morning I sat with that tragic news and let the sadness in.  Before I let fear tighten around me, I allowed myself to cry.  And after letting it go, I filled that space with gratitude for all of the things I love.