When I was a kid I used to sit and listen to the soundtrack of “Les Miserables” over and over. I was not depressed but I definitely think I must have come across that way! I just loved feeling the intense feelings that that musical brought out for me. In my mind, I was a romantic.
When I interviewed Susan Cain for last week's episode of Raising Good Humans Podcast we talked about her book, Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole. When I mentioned this detail about my own history, Susan told me that researchers found that folks who listened to the "Les Miserables" style of music listen to those songs 800 times compared with listening only 135 times of the more classically happy tunes. These “bittersweet” moments give the listener a sense of the sublime emotions, of transcendence and wonder. Susan pointed out that, in a sense, the musician is transforming pain into beauty and reminding us we are not alone. It makes sense that by sitting and experiencing that music the depth of feeling emerges alongside a true sense of connection and belonging. I loved Bittersweet because it acknowledges the difference between the good kind of intensity of feelings, and psychopathology.
If you love to cry at movies and listen to sad songs, that does not mean you are a downer. It may just mean you are a person who likes to feel things deeply.
***Quick sneak peek: (I may be a 10 on all of these)
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