Melancholy as a source of strength
In today’s consumer society, fun and constant entertainment, an overly positive attitude to life and energetic youthfulness are the measures of all things. For moments dominated by melancholy thoughts and deep sadness, there seems to be no room. These emotions, which are summarized under the term “melancholy”, are therefore associated with mental upset and depression by many people. However, melancholy is described by psychologists and philosophers as an important trait that provides a source of inner strength and depth in the fast-moving modern world.
What is melancholy?
Few people dare to openly admit that they are melancholy, for melancholy, sadness, and gloom do not quite fit into the notion of success, youth, and strength. Melancholy is the typical symptoms of the superficial fun society and is therefore often perceived as a morbid and abnormal. Those who at times do not feel the need to show their cheerful, carefree side are happily “cheered up” by their fellow human beings. However, those affected simply want to live out their worldly pain and be on their own instead of having to behave in the same way in every situation in life as partners, friends, family members, and colleagues expect it to.
When one’s own life or the circumstances of society are occasionally perceived as bleak, sad or simply negative, psychologists speak of melancholy. Melancholy people often react to certain situations or experiences with tears, withdraw and privately give themselves to their gloomy thoughts.
Melancholy as a character strength
People who can also tolerate negative feelings and in certain phases feel an inner emptiness are anything but sick or abnormal. After all, melancholy is a widespread state of mind-affecting a significant percentage of the population in the Western world. Not only adults, who often feel the seriousness of everyday life, are now and then melancholy, even children and even more highly developed mammals go through a phase of melancholy. This emotional state is part of human existence like feelings of joy, sadness, anger or love. Important philosophers such as Heidegger and Aristotle have even called melancholy an important character trait that has great potential. The ability to form deep thoughts is not only a sign of a multi-faceted personality but also an important prerequisite for creativity.
Melancholy people are much more cautious with their fellow human beings, able to empathize with others and also grant them moments of sadness and weakness. At the same time, melancholy is also associated with the ability to illuminate life on many levels and to reflect on individual aspects profoundly. Therefore, melancholy people are often scientists or highly talented artists with innovative ideas.
Melancholy is increasingly gaining in importance in today’s superficial society. People whose soul is now and then covered by a gray veil should therefore not hide this character trait but use it specifically to further develop creative thoughts and strive for knowledge. Melancholy does not have to be covered with exaggerated cheerfulness, because this costs valuable energy, which can be invested much better. Those who consciously indulge in melancholy phases and the end recognize the positive aspects of life can regain their strength to master the everyday challenges in a prudent manner.