New Book by Susan Cain: Allowing Yourself Grief and Difficult Emotions

Susan Cain's New Book: Allowing Yourself Grief and Difficult Emotions


Author of the international best-seller The strength of the discreet, translated in more than 40 countries and sold to more than 4 million copies worldwide, Susan Cain offers this year The happiness of being sad. This book offers a response to the test of the pandemic during which many people have experienced a period of isolation, mourning and fear in the face of the disease. Gently, with kindness, Susan Cain invites readers to allow themselves to fully experience difficult emotions and grief in order to better bounce back.

Behind dark clouds often hides the sun. This is what Susan Cain argues in her book, which explains that a melancholic view of existence is not a weakness, flaw or problem. On the contrary: it conceals great strengths.

Do we live in a society where sadness, melancholy and grief are misunderstood emotions? Do you always have to be happy, whatever the situation? Should difficult emotions be repressed at all costs? Susan Cain sheds an interesting light on the question, drawing on her personal history and on our cultural and historical heritage. She shows that creation and melancholy are often inseparable, citing as an example the remarkable work of Leonard Cohen, whom she admires.

Living in the Moment 

Susan Cain has not been spared over the past few months. She lost her father and brother during the pandemic. 

“While working on this book and before they died of Covid, I thought a lot about death. I thought about it a lot, not to feel sad, but rather to be aware of it and really be able to live in the present moment,” she comments in an interview.

Since everything that happened with the pandemic, she finds this more important than ever. 

“It is important to live in the moment. It is very transformative to remember, every day, that we may not be there the next day, or that our loved ones may not be there. It means that we put down our cell phones and be with those we love, be at peace and do what we love instead of ticking off items on the to-do list. do.”

Social pressure 

Susan Cain points out in her book how much pressure society puts on people to be smiling, in good shape, always looking their best on social networks. Isn't that a trap, something totally wrong? She agrees. 

“While I was working on the book, one day I went to the hairdresser. When the person asked me what I was working on, I was hesitant to say that I was writing about sadness and difficult emotions.”

“Grief and sadness are not easy topics to discuss in everyday life. But I wanted to write this book precisely for this reason: you can't talk about it in everyday life… but on the other hand, artists express that. So do musicians,” she points out.

The power of art

These emotions, named and expressed by art, touch deeply the people. They thus have an immense power of transformation, of appeasement.

“In the pages of a novel or in a film, when these bittersweet emotions are expressed, they carry with them a form of transcendence, such a love for humanity and for our concerns that I wanted to know more . I wanted to understand this better so that we would intentionally linger on it, instead of stumbling upon a melancholic piece of music completely by chance.” 

♦ Susan Cain is an internationally renowned American author, coach and speaker.

♦ She studied at Princeton University.

♦ She founded the prestigious Next Big Idea Club alongside Daniel Pink and Malcolm Gladwell.

♦ Her previous book, The strength of the discreet, has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.

< /strong>The Happiness of Being Sad is being translated in 21 countries.


We are often taught to focus on our strengths, not our weaknesses. But we must not confuse weakness with a bittersweet temper or a “negative” emotional state such as sadness. Some of our leaders with true self-knowledge bravely confront their sadness, limitations, and temperament, which they learn to integrate into a fuller personality.»