10 Reasons You Like Being Sad (+ Is It Normal?)

Disclosure: this page may contain affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them. Read our affiliate disclosure.

It’s probably a strange thing for you to admit, but you enjoy being sad.

At least, that’s how it seems to you.

Because sadness isn’t an emotion we ought to enjoy—that contradicts the very definition of sadness.

Yet somehow, you find yourself in a place where feeling sad is seemingly preferable to other emotional states.

Why? Why do you like being sad when others strive so hard NOT to feel that way?

And is it normal to enjoy sadness? It depends. If you love being sad, it likely means you don’t have a good relationship with the rest of the emotional spectrum and the way you move up and down it.

Let’s explore why you might like feeling sad so that maybe you can find your way out of that hole.

Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist if you feel now is the time to move away from sadness toward something more neutral or positive. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.

Why Do You Like To Be Sad?

1. You have a low set point for happiness.

Every individual has a unique set point for their happiness. In other words, no matter what good or bad things occur in their life, they tend to return to a steady level of happiness over the long run.

A person’s set point is chiefly determined by genetics and conditioning—aka nature and nurture. So, if you have a particularly low set point for happiness, you may spend more of your time in a low mood than a high mood.

Since a low mood is the norm for you, it’s just something you’ve gotten used to.

In fact, emotions that are too far outside of your norm may feel unsettling. You may not know how to handle feelings of elation or joy, so prefer to be melancholy instead.

So it feels like you enjoy being sad because it’s more familiar. You know how to live life with a generally low mood.

2. Sadness is comfortable.

Change can be a terrifying thing. You have no idea what you’ll face in the future, what challenges are ahead of you, or what successes and failures are to come.

There are so many unknown variables that it can all feel overwhelming. And because it’s overwhelming, some people avoid trying to make progress against their sadness or depression.

Depression and dysfunction are comfortable if that’s all you’ve known for a long time.

So, why change? Why try to change? Why make myself uncomfortable when this sadness or depression are what I know?

Getting better is hard to do if you’re already worn thin by just trying to survive the mental health problems you may be experiencing.

It might not be that you want to be sad, but you’re too afraid of challenging your underlying sadness.

3. You feel hopeless.

The feeling of hopelessness is a common symptom that many people struggling with depression face.

Hopelessness is an amplification of negative feelings, of just knowing that there is no possible way that you can ever be better, happy, or feel good.

Those feelings and a lack of energy from the depression can make it so difficult to try to be better.

But here’s the problem: depression is a liar. It’s not an accurate reflection of who you are, the world around you, or what you’re capable of.

Granted, it’s easy to look around at all the pain, suffering, and turmoil in the world and be utterly depressed about it all.

But hopelessness makes those things worse because it keeps people from taking action. It’s far easier to be sad, depressed, and throw our hands up with how hopeless it all is.

4. Depression and sadness are easier than the alternative.

You may or may not know how much work goes into not being depressed and sad.

For some people, it’s not much work at all. They see a doctor, get a prescription, and their brain starts doing the things it’s supposed to be doing.

For other people, though? Yeah, nowhere near that easy. It takes some people years to find a solution for their mental health problems. Some people are medication-resistant and gain little benefit from treatment at all.

It’s hard to get mentally well. Mental wellness requires resources, support, and time that people don’t necessarily have. How many people have time to devote to their mental wellness when working, taking care of family, keeping a roof over their head and food in their belly, and all the other demands that life throws on your shoulders?

It’s just easier to be depressed and feel sad than the alternative.

5. The negative feelings have become your motivation.

Many people use their negative emotions as fuel for their motivation. They can strive for great changes if they are just angry with the world, their position in life, and the hand they have been dealt.

The sadness and despondence can turn into a bitterness that their life is going the way it is. Plenty of people use spite for motivation to strive for more.

The problem with this approach toward life is the lack of sustainability and damage to personal relationships.

To use a metaphor, anger and spite are the fuel for the roaring flames of motivation. The problem is that the flames consume their fuel as they burn, and sooner or later, there is no more fuel left. But you get so used to burning that you may not be able to turn it off, so it bleeds out into your personality, turning you into a bitter and angry person.

You may have known people like that in your own life. They’re just a miserable, bitter person because they’ve embraced their negativity and ran with it.

The other issue with this approach is that it dramatically affects your social dynamics. People who are happy and emotionally healthy often have strong boundaries to protect their peace of mind. And happy, healthy people don’t spend much time around miserable people because that negative mindset is contagious.

Instead, unhappy people often find themselves surrounded by other unhappy people. That harms everyone involved as they drag each other back down, like crabs in a bucket.

6. You are a cynic.

Cynicism is an easy trap to fall into. Every day, we are flooded with an unending deluge of everything terrible in the world.

And what about humans in general? Many just aren’t that good, and quite a few are terrible. Even the people we hold as heroes or the people we view as good humans don’t necessarily meet all the criteria that society forces on them to be good. And even those people come under attack because what’s their motive? There has to be some ulterior motive.

Cynicism is an inherently negative view of the world we occupy, and it’s extremely easy to be cynical.

But cynicism and blind optimism aren’t the only choices out there. A better choice is to focus more on the present and handle the present moment. Be sad when it’s time to be sad, be happy when it’s time to be happy, and walk through life assuming people are generally doing their best, even though their best may not be all that good.

Cynicism is not realism.

7. You may have an undiagnosed medical condition.

Chronic feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and depression may point to an undiagnosed medical condition. Mental illness is an obvious possibility, but it may not be. There are a variety of physical illnesses that can cause mood and emotional problems.

Diabetes and out-of-range sugar management can cause dramatic, negative mood swings. Thyroid problems can mess with emotional regulation. Hormonal problems and chronic pain can create significant problems as well.

It may be less that you’re addicted to sadness and more that you have an unaddressed medical issue that needs to be identified and treated.

8. You feel like you don’t deserve happiness due to past sins.

To some people, their sadness and misery are penance for guilt and bad decisions in the past. And sometimes “bad” is an understatement.

For example, consider a person who has long struggled with a serious substance abuse disorder, an addict who needed to feed their addiction. Addiction is an ugly thing. At its worst, it can cause people to lie, cheat, steal, break into places, rob people, and do whatever it takes to feed the addiction.

And there are plenty of times when these actions are not in line with the actual morals and beliefs of the person struggling with the addiction. When they gain clarity, they may look back on their past and see all the misery and suffering their addiction created for themselves and the people who cared about them.

To that person, they may feel like they deserve the misery, sadness, and guilt for these actions driven by addiction.

Plenty of society feels the same, but the masses can be wrong. Should those wrongs be forgotten or unaddressed? No. But neither should anyone feel like they deserve to be miserable for the rest of their life because they made some terrible decisions.

9. Past traumas affect your experience of life.

Most people will experience traumatic events in their lives. Personal traumas, assaults, child abuse, loved ones dying, car accidents, environmental catastrophes, addiction, suicide, pandemics…the list goes on and on.

It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what resources you have available, or how withdrawn you are from the world, trauma will visit all of us sooner or later.

People who have been surviving trauma for a long time may not even realize there is an alternative. And when they do experience the alternative, it’s so foreign and uncomfortable that they just retreat back into the sadness and depression that they know.

For instance, a child who’s been traumatized by the people who were supposed to love and protect them will have difficulty shedding those negative feelings and learning to love positive ones.

The harm can run so deep that the trauma survivor may subconsciously seek out negativity to feel comfortable.

10. Some people just like to be unhappy.

That may seem counter-intuitive, but some people just like to be unhappy in much the same way that some people like to be scared by horror movies or rollercoasters.

The theory behind it is that many people feel positive and negative emotions simultaneously or in a similar window. They feel negative and scared from the horror element but then feel the wave of relief with a resolved ending.

Sadness or depression is a catalyst for amplifying the positive feelings that follow, much like a rollercoaster.

Finding Out Why You Like To Be Sad

As you can see, there are several reasons that people dwell in sadness. Sometimes it’s circumstances outside of their control, like trauma and mental illness. In other times it’s a choice that the person actively makes. Some people are looking for motivation, and others seek punishment for the wrongs they committed.

The nuance of addiction to sadness and depression can be difficult to get to the bottom of. The easiest way to go about that would be to talk to a mental health professional who can help you get to the cause to address it and live a happier life. It’s a more complicated problem that is outside of the realm of self-help.

BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.

Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.

You may also like:

About The Author

Jack Nollan is a person who has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years now. Jack is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspective from the side of the mental health consumer. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.