Why You Should Feel Sad When You're Moving Forward

When you change your mind—and I’m not talking about switching from the chicken burrito to the beef—but really change how you feel about something important to you, it’s natural to experience a feeling of sadness.

Last year, I left behind my identity as someone that experiences chronic depression. For a decade, I surrendered to the belief that I was a victim to my neurotransmitters, that I was born with some sort of defect that meant my brain didn’t produce enough dopamine and serotonin, and that I would be in and out of periods of depression for the rest of my life.

The story of how that all went down is a long one, but when I changed my mind about a deep-seated belief that I held for over 20 years, I felt an immense amount of sadness. I was leaving behind something incredibly painful and destructive, yet I felt badly about it.

I believe that this feeling was a form of grief, and I have experienced this each time I’ve gone through a similar process of changing a core belief.

Grief is a feeling of sorrow over someone or something that you’ve lost. And when you feel sadness over changing your mind, you are grieving over a piece of your identity that you have lost.

It’s like losing a part of the person you are the closest to in the world.

Even though you may know deep down that you’re changing for the better, you’ll still experience feelings of hesitation, a resistance to loss, and an irrational attachment to the old piece of you.

At times, it may even be enough to halt the transformation.

Recognize the grief for what it is, and understand that it’s an inevitable part of the change process. It’s not an emotion to be ignored or run over. Give it space, and move forward when you’re ready.