Two Kinds of Sad People

Please Note:  This is a post by guest author S. W. Atwell.  The views expressed are entirely her own.  If you yourself would like to post as a guest author on this blog, please contact me by email.

— Paul Sunstone

There are two types of sad people.  One type does not contribute to the happiness of others.  He may be of the withholding sort:  One who believes that any happiness he gives will be subtracted from his own, small store.   He may be the sadistic sort: One who takes whatever is ill in himself and uses it to make others unhappy.  He might even seem ravenous in his desire to impose misery, as though he were consuming something in return for his contribution.  Perhaps he feels as though there is a finite amount of unhappiness in the universe and that he decreases his own large burden of the stuff every time he imposes misery on others.

The other type of sad person is not unkind.  He may feel sad because he has experienced loss.  He certainly feels sad over the misfortunes of others.  In this way, he is invested in the happiness of others.  While he can become happier if his own fortunes mend, he can also become happier when he knows that others are happy.  He has an urge to contribute to the well-being of others.  It is not uncommon for him to discover the depth of this urge when he finds consolation in caring for the needs of others at a time when the reasons for his own deep sadness are beyond his own control.  Whether fortune smiles or frowns upon him, his own happiness multiplies when exposed to happiness, whether that happiness is located inside him or in the hearts of others.

The sadistic or withholding sad person experiences happiness and sadness as elements to be measured in mass or volume.  The sad person with the warm heart understands happiness as an organic phenomenon, with the gametes from one source of happiness meeting and multiplying with the gametes from another source of happiness.  His sadness is a soil that welcomes and grows the seeds of happiness.

© S.W. Atwell (2011)

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