Imagine a world without sadness, loss, or suffering where no one is ever in a bad mood. Tears are unheard of. You never wake up at 3:00 a.m. riddled with worry or anxiety about the future. Lovers never leave each other. Loved ones never die.
Immediately, I think we would all agree that this sounds pretty great, but according to bestselling author Susan Cain, it might not be so straightforward!
See, sadness, pain, and loss all play essential roles. Without them, life’s joys would be more mundane. The people you love wouldn’t feel so precious. And moments of happiness wouldn’t feel special at all. Without darkness, you don’t notice the light. If you’ve never tasted bitterness, you can’t recognize sweetness.
This week I read ‘Bittersweet’ by Susan Cain. The book has the subtitle ‘How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole’ and is, in its essence, a reflection on how a bittersweet state of mind can help us transcend pain – both on a personal and collective level!
According to Cain, the Bittersweet is a neglected but truly beautiful quality. She defines it as “A tendency to states of longing, nostalgia, and sorrow: an acute awareness of passing time: and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world.”
It’s the understanding that the tragedy of life is inescapably paired with its splendor. It’s compassion, sadness, modesty, hidden suffering and quietness, and the plangent allure of the happy-sad.
We hope you will enjoy this animated summary, where we will walk you through the essential pieces of wisdom conveyed in the book:
Voiceover credit: Deborah Dike on FIVERR
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