Every one of us, inevitably, encounters the occasional downswing in life. Sadness can manifest so differently for each of us — sometimes we want to get through it quickly, by pushing the feelings down, while other times we may not even see a way out. So how do we move through the gray-skied moments in life without ignoring the emotion behind them?
While it might be uncomfortable in the moment, sadness isn’t altogether a bad thing. It’s normal — part of the human experience, really — to feel low or melancholy for a while. With time and practice, we can start to accept these moments as they come, and as what they are: temporary, and in some ways, necessary. Not only can darker times help highlight the sweeter moments that follow, they are also a crucial part of self-growth. Letting ourselves feel sorrow helps us examine and understand the source of the pain, so we can come out the other side of sadness stronger, more self-aware, and better prepared to face whatever comes next.
Here, we’ve gathered wisdom from writers, leaders, and creators to help you move through sadness without judging yourself — and to remind you that this, too, will eventually recede.
If it's a broken part, replace it / If it's a broken arm, then brace it / If it's a broken heart, then face it
— Jason Mraz, singer/songwriter
Don't be ashamed to weep; 'tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time.
— Brian Jacques, novelist
You are allowed to feel messed up inside and out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective — it just means you’re human.
— David Mitchell, comedian and writer
Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.
— Vicki Harrison, author
To weep is to make less the depth of grief.
— William Shakespeare
Someone I loved once / gave me a box full of darkness. / It took me years to understand that / this, too, was a gift.
— Mary Oliver, poet
Sadness is more or less like a head cold — with patience, it passes.
— Barbara Kingsolver, author
Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.
— Khalil Gibran, poet
It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.
— Lena Horne, singer and actress
There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope.
— George Eliot
There you go… let it all slide out. Unhappiness can't stick in a person's soul when it's slick with tears.
— Shannon Hale, author
You can't keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.
— Sharon Creech, author
Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.
— Denis Waitley, motivational speaker
The place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.
— Ivy Baker Priest, politician
Night has always pushed up day / You must know life to see decay / But I won't rot / Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot
— Marcus Mumford, musician
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all.
— Emily Dickinson
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