Author Susan Cain on ‘Bittersweet’

Susan Cain discusses her new book, "Bittersweet," about the power of the overlocked emotion that allows us to feel sad and happy simultaneously.

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(photo credit, Aaron Fedor)

(photo credit, Aaron Fedor)

SUSAN CAIN’S first book, Quiet looked at the underappreciated qualities that introverts, like herself, bring to the world. Now she has turned to an overlooked emotion or state of being that she identifies with, melancholia. In her new book, Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole, Cain argues that our culture’s obsession with happiness and positivity make many people resist or deny sorrowful emotions, burying them deep inside. Instead, she says we should embrace the bittersweet, “the recognition that light and dark, birth and death — bitter and sweet — are forever paired.” Cain joins us to talk about the power of this dual emotion that allows us to feel sad and happy simultaneously and how bittersweet feelings can help us see beauty in the world and find creativity and transcendence.

We recommend

The Atlantic, The Emotion Missing From the Workplace – Sadness is a central part of our lives, yet it’s typically ignored at work, hurting employees and managers alike.

The New York Times, In Defense of Melancholy – “But it’s also in those moments when we see a gorgeous waterfall or a painting that’s so beautiful that it makes us cry. That’s a spiritual impulse that we’re having. What we’re really seeing is an expression of that more perfect and beautiful world that we feel like we come from and that we need to return to.”

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