“I think we all have these stories, you know, whether they come through bereavements or betrayals or, or whatever, we, we all have these losses…There's something about having been immersed in this bittersweet tradition and understanding the pain of separation and understanding the desire for a union and understanding that the loves that we lose, that we might lose particular loves, but that we never lose love itself. I think that's like the real thing that's really made me come to a place of peace,” so says Susan Cain, former lawyer and bestselling author of Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole. In her first book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, which spent eight years on the New York Times Best Seller List, Cain urged us to hold space for the introverts among us. In Bittersweet, she implores us to hold space for our sorrow and longing. Through research, storytelling, and memoir, her book explores the value of a melancholic outlook on life and what it stands to teach us about creativity, connection, and love.
Our conversation moves through many facets of what Cain calls “the bittersweet tradition,” exploring all the ways in which allowing ourselves to experience the cosmic sadness simultaneously opens us up to transcendant ecstasy. We are creatures who simultaneously lose and love, who separate and long for home, who experience the bitter along with the sweet, she tells us, and it is in these extremes that our sorrow and joy have the opportunity to meet, unexpectedly bringing us closer to the sublime beauty of life.
The ecstasy of engaging with sorrow…14:15
The most fundamental part of our emotional DNA…25:00
Writing your experience…43:00
Opening to a different frequency…54:43
MORE FROM SUSAN CAIN:
Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Listen to the Bittersweet playlist on Spotify or Apple Music
Watch Susan’s TEDTalk: The hidden power of sad songs and rainy days
Follow Susan on Twitter and Instagram
Check out The Next Big Idea Book Club—a nonfiction subscription book club curated by Susan Cain, Macolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink
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