abstract figure sitting on white gravel against gray cloudy sky, head in hand, back curved.

Sadness is the feeling that is the opposite of happiness or joy: an emotion of unhappiness. It’s “the blues” or “feeling down.” Sorrow is the word we use for deep sadness, often from loss. Let’s hear what wise words people have said and written about sadness and sorrow.

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I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.

— Agatha Christie

In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that ….
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy.
For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

— Albert Camus

Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter — to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.

— Albert Schweitzer

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

— Alfred Tennyson

Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated.

— Alphonse de Lamartine

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

— Amelia Burr

No child should ever be too sad to play.

— Andrew Galasetti

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

— Anne Bradstreet

There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

— Carl Jung

There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

— Carl Jung

Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.

— Carl Sandburg

For there is one thing I can safely say: that those bound by love must obey each other if they are to keep company long. Love will not be constrained by mastery; when mastery comes, the God of love at once beats his wings, and farewell — he is gone. Love is a thing as free as any spirit; women naturally desire liberty, and not to be constrained like slaves; and so do men, if I shall tell the truth.

See who is the most patient in love; he has the greatest advantage. Patience is surely a great virtue, for it vanquished, as these scholars say, things that rigor would never manage. One cannot scold or complain at every word. Learn to endure patiently, or else, as I live and breathe, you shall learn it whether you want or not. For certainly there is no one in the world who doesn’t do or say something amiss. Anger, sickness, or planetary influences, wine, sorrow, or changing of disposition often causes one to do or speak amiss. One cannot be avenged for every wrong; according to the occasion, everyone who knows how, must use temperance. And therefore a wise man, in order to live in comfort, promises his lady forbearance, and she wisely gives her promise to him.

— Chaucer, ‘The Franklin’s Tale’

I love my past. I love my present. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve had, and I’m not sad because I have it no longer.

— Colette

Never does hatred cease by hating in return; only through love can hatred come to an end. Victory breeds hatred; the conquered dwell in sorrow and resentment. They who give up all thought of victory or defeat may be calm and live happily at peace. Let us overcome violence by gentleness; let us overcome evil by good; Let us overcome the miserly by liberality; let us overcome the liar by truth.

— Dhammapada

As only New Yorkers know, if you can get through the twilight, you’ll live through the night.

— Dorothy Parker

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.

— Dorothy Thompson

There’s no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.

— Edith Wharton

Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell.

— Emily Dickinson

My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,
So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

— Emily Dickinson

Bereavement in their death to feel
Whom We have never seen —
A Vital Kinsmanship import
Our Soul and theirs — between —

For Stranger — Strangers do not mourn —
There be Immortal friends
Whom Death see first — ‘tis news of this
That paralyze Ourselves…

Who, vital only to Our Thought —
Such Presence bear away
In dying — ‘tis as if Our Souls
Absconded — suddenly —

— Emily Dickinson

One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.

— Erich Fromm

I think that taking life seriously means something such as this: that whatever man does on this planet has to be done in the lived truth of the terror of creation, of the grotesque, of the rumble of panic underneath everything. Otherwise it is false. Whatever is achieved must be achieved with the full exercise of passion, of vision, of pain, of fear, and of sorrow. How do we know … that our part of the meaning of the universe might not be a rhythm in sorrow?

— Ernest Becker

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses;
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

— Ernest Dowson

The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.

— Eudora Welty

Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person. ln those transparent moments we know other people’s joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own.

— Fritz Williams

Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.

— Hafiz of Persia

Any mind that is capable of real sorrow is capable of good.

— Harriet Beecher Stowe

We rely upon the poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy and sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering I rush to them. They will give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.

— Helen Hayes

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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