Bittersweet: How Sadness Is A Superpower With Susan Cain - Ep 138


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By Sharleen Joynt & Andy Levine, Sharleen Joynt, and Andy Levine. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

This is Sharleen's all-time favorite Hot Topic conversation. You will probably also learn more about Andy's mind and thought process here than in any other episode Shandy's ever done.

Are you deeply moved by sad music? Do you find comfort in a rainy day? Does the word "poignant" resonate with you? If you answered "yes" to these, you just may be the Bittersweet type. (Spoiler alert: so are both Sharleen and Andy!) According to our esteemed guest, author Susan Cain: "Bittersweetness is a tendency to states of long­ing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute aware­ness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world." She argues there's great power in the bittersweet outlook on life and why our society has been so blind to its value. We discuss everything from being inherently melancholic in a happiness-obsessed culture, to navigating being a Bittersweet type's partner, to several existential questions of Andy's.

To say this episode was a highlight of Shandy's near two years of podcasting is an understatement. And be sure to listen to the Shandy Debrief to understand why speaking with Susan meant so much to Sharleen!

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0:00 - Welcome To Our Esteemed Guest, Author Susan Cain!

3:21 - What Does “Bittersweet” Mean?

4:35 - What Strengths And Weaknesses Do Bittersweets Have And How Do Those Play Out In Relationships?

6:56 - Advice For Non-Bittersweets In Relationships With Bittersweets?

9:50 - Is There A Correlation Between Bittersweetness And Introversion?

11:24 - Sad Songs And Lullabies And Fragility And Mortality

21:35 - Are Some People More Predisposed To Melancholy And Is It Cultural?

26:41 - Is Sadness More Potent An Emotion Than Happiness Or Contentment?

29:27 - Is There A Correlation Between Bittersweetness And Intelligence?

31:37 - Is It Possible To Be Truly Happy And A Great Artist?

33:55 - Are We Sadder Than We Would Be If We Weren’t In A Happiness-Obsessed Society?

35:53 - What Might Bittersweetness Or Melancholy Actually Be Depression?

38:14 - How Can One Overcome The Fear Of Joy When Joy Is Fleeting And The Loss Of Joy Hurts More Than Joy Itself?

40:22 - Is It Possible To Let Go Of All Of Life’s What-Ifs?

42:00 - Is Ignorance Of The Bittersweet Bliss, Or Is Bliss Discovered Through The Bittersweet?

43:57 - Without Death, Would There Be Human Motivation To Do Anything Ambitious?

45:29 - Andy’s Dark “Would You Rather” Question

52:14 - Awareness Versus Acceptance Of Importance

54:13 - Is One Of The Reasons For Today’s Prevalence Of Mental Health Issues Because Parents Are Not Giving Children A Proper Version Of Reality?

57:46 - Her Advice For Finding Purpose And Motivation After A Long Period Of Sadness

1:00:05- From A Shandy: “I Feel The Most Sadness After I Make A Big Life Decision, Even When I know It’s The Right Choice. Why Is This?”

1:03:49 - Tips For How To Not Absorb Others’ Grief

1:05:14 - Another Existential Question Of Andy’s

1:08:50 - Shandy’s Final And Self-Indulgent Question

1:13:10 - Shandy Debrief

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164 episodes