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 will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.

— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

To bow to the fact of our life’s sorrows and betrayals is to accept them; and from this deep gesture we discover that all life is workable. As we learn to bow, we discover that the heart holds more freedom and compassion than we could imagine.

— Jack Kornfield

Grief is really just all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.

— Jamie Anderson

Sorrows gather around great souls as storms do around mountains; but, like them, they break the storm and purify the air of the plain beneath them.

— Jean Paul Richter

Only you and I can help the sun rise each coming morning. If we don’t, it may drench itself out in sorrow.

— Joan Baez

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.

— Joseph Campbell

We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.

— Kahlil Gibran

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

— Kahlil Gibran

… joy and sorrow are inseparable. . . together they come and when one sits alone with you . . . remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

— Kahlil Gibran

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

— Kahlil Gibran

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh….

— Kahlil Gibran

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh….

— Kahlil Gibran

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.

— Leo Buscaglia

The cure for all ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows and the crimes of humanity, all lie in the one word ‘love.’ It is the divine vitality that everywhere produces and restores life.

— Lydia Maria Child

The cure for all ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows and the crimes of humanity, all lie in the one word “love.” It is the divine vitality that everywhere produces and restores life.

— Lydia Maria Child

I mourn in grey, grey as the sleeted wind the bled shades of twilight, gunmetal, battleships, industrial paint.

— Marge Piercy

The secret source of humour itself is not joy, but sorrow. There is no humour in heaven.

— Mark Twain

I would never trust a man who didn’t cry; he wouldn’t be human.

— Norman Schwartzkopf

I would never trust a man who didn’t cry; he wouldn’t be human.

— Norman Schwarzkopf

Most days I live awed by the world we have still, rather than mourning the worlds we have lost…. So much beauty I often laugh, and my day is made. Still if you wanted to, I think, you could feel sadness without end.

— Paul Bogard

Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

— Percy Bysshe Shelley

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

— Rabindranath Tagore

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

— Robert Frost

Everyone is overridden by thoughts; that’s why they have so much heartache and sorrow.

— Rumi

Nothing on earth can make up for the loss of one who has loved you.

— Selma Lagerlöf

Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

— William Blake

Never forget that the purpose for which a man lives is the improvement of the man himself, so that he may go out of this world having, in his great sphere or his small one, done some little good for his fellow creatures and labored a little to diminish the sin and sorrow that are in the world.

— William E. Gladstone

I have been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and a sword in my hands.

— Zora Neale Hurston

I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all.

— Zora Neale Hurston
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