The Power of Having a Bittersweet Outlook On Life

The Power of Having a Bittersweet Outlook On Life

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, no one is and no one should expect to be happy all the time.


Well, there are many reasons but one would be that life’s hard sometimes and so it’s normal and appropriate to experience unhappiness (e.g. disappointment and frustration, sadness and anxiety).

Some even argue that without unhappiness we can’t really know happiness; that without the yang there can be no yin.

Whichever way you look at it, learning to accept and embrace the darker moments in life can make the lighter ones even more enjoyable …

via Thrive Global by Susan Cain

Once, when I was a twenty-two-year-old law student, some friends picked me up in my dorm on the way to class. I’d been  happily listening to bittersweet music in a minor key. Not the  Albinoni, which I hadn’t heard back then; more likely a song  by my all-time favorite musician, Leonard Cohen, aka the Poet  Laureate of Pessimism. 

It’s hard to put into words what I experience when I hear this kind of music. It’s technically sad, but what I feel, really, is  love: a great tidal outpouring of it. A deep kinship with all the  other souls in the world who know the sorrow the music strains  to express. Awe at the musician’s ability to transform pain into  beauty. If I’m alone when I’m listening, I often make a spontaneous prayer gesture, hands to face, palm to palm, even though  I’m deeply agnostic and don’t formally pray. But the music makes my heart open: literally, the sensation of expanding  chest muscles. It even makes it seem okay that everyone I love,  including me, is going to die one day. This equanimity about  death lasts maybe three minutes, but each time it happens, it  changes me slightly. If you define transcendence as a moment  in which yourself fades away and you feel connected to the all,  these musically bittersweet moments are the closest I’ve come  to experiencing it. But it’s happened over and over again. 

And I could never understand why. 

Meanwhile, my friends were amused by the incongruity of mournful songs blasting from a dorm room stereo; one of them asked why I was listening to funeral tunes. I laughed, and we  went to class. End of story. 

Except … keep reading the full & original article HERE