"Mommies never cry," my three-year-old announced to me this morning as I was helping her get dressed for nursery school.

"Mommies don't cry?" I repeated to make sure I understood.

"No. Never." She confidently confirmed.

"So what do Mommies do when they get sad?" I asked.

"They don't get sad," she responded. "Mommies are BIG. BIG people know that when they want something, they should just ask their Mommies and they will get it, instead of crying!"

She was referring to the lesson we had read in one of her books, about the futility of crying in anger or frustration and the benefit of articulating one's needs or wants clearly.

But her words also brought to mind an article that a friend had recently emailed me about Newsweek's feature article called, "Happiness—Enough Already" just made me rethink the whole issue of happiness.

Fed by hundreds of self-help books "the happiness movement took off in the 1990s with two legitimate developments: discoveries about the brain activity underlying well-being and the emergence of 'positive psychology.'" But it quickly morphed into a push for ever-greater states of happiness that did not want people to "listen to their hearts" but to rather have them "clinically silenced."

According to Newsweek:

"Although 85 per cent of Americans say they're pretty happy, the happiness industry sends the insistent message that moderate levels of well-being aren't enough: not only can we all be happier but we practically have a duty to be so. What was once considered normal sadness is something to be smothered, even shunned."

Interestingly, new research is finding that being happier is not always better:

"Once a moderate level of happiness is achieved further increases can sometimes be detrimental to income, career success, education and political participation. On a scale from one to ten, where 10 is extremely happy, 8s were more successful than 9s and 10s getting more education and earning more. That probably reflects the fact that people who are somewhat discontent, but not so depressed as to be paralyzed, are more motivated to improve both their own lot and the lot of their community. In contrast, people at the top of the jolliness charts feel no such urgency. If you're totally satisfied with your life and with how things are going in the world, you don't feel very motivated to work for change."

So is sadness positive? Or are we supposed to always try to be happy?

There is a famous saying from one of the great Chassidic masters that although depression is not a sin, it often leads to many sins. And though happiness is not a mitzvah (commandment), it brings to many mitzvot.

Happiness indeed has many positive benefits, yet experiencing pain when something is not working out will spur us to grow. When a problem is defined, it can be eliminated and as the saying goes, "the knowledge of the disease is half the cure." There is tremendous inertia when it comes to changing our personalities, and when a person feels pained or saddened, this motivation can push the person to change.

While depression can be destructive, occasional sadness can be beneficial.

On the other hand, depression can paralyze a person and prevent him from solving those very same problems. This is the depression that the Chassidic masters describe as being worse than sin.

But, as Newsweek asserts, while depression can be destructive, occasional sadness can be beneficial, propelling us to do more, to act upon our circumstances and create a change. Sadness can allow us to express our inner emotions in creating intense dialogue with our Creator and in motivating us to bring about self-change.

That's as far as where we can effect change.

But once we have exhausted our abilities and our prayers, perhaps we need to reach the second stage of realizing and accepting that this is from a Higher will, a Will that indeed understands what is best for us—while still allowing ourselves the time and space to reach that acceptance, rather than clinically or artificially imposing it upon ourselves.

So I guess my little profound three-year-old was right all along. If we're BIG enough to realize that all we need to do is ask our Mommy, or our Creator, for the help we need (and big enough to realize that it's for our benefit when this is denied to us)—then maybe there truly is no reason to cry!

But perhaps until we get there, for those of us that aren't quite so "big"--and in order to promote our own self-growth along the way—there's nothing wrong with a little sadness. In fact, it may even be good for you!