Understanding melancholy(10)

I would like to present my personal view and own experiences with melancholy here. Melancholy is often frowned upon as a negative emotional state. I find this view very superficial and one-sided. Just as you seek the cool shade under a tree on hot days, it is also permissible to place your heated feelings under the shade of melancholy. So the shadow sides should not be judged sweepingly as bad or evil. Later, I would like to focus on the creative and creative aspects.

There are moments in life when you are happy, funny, euphoric or even in love. But equally, there are moments when you feel less well. You feel listless, hold a grudge, and are just plain sad. But these feelings also need to be lived through. They are additional colors that enrich your life with new impressions. Accept your feelings and be sure of one thing:

No one should tell you how to feel. Do not put chains on yourself about how you should feel. You don’t have to tell yourself you’re in a good mood when you’re really sad. In the long run, your feelings can’t be suppressed anyway. They will only come back stronger.

The meaning of melancholy

The melancholic was already mentioned in antiquity and in the Middle Ages in the doctrine of the humors and temperaments. In each case, four types of people were classified, who carried all types in themselves, but in whom only one sap with the corresponding temperament was dominant.

Melancholic: black bile, thoughtful and sad.

choleric: yellow bile, excited and easily irritable

Sanguine: red bile, cheerful and active

Phlegmatic: white bile: frugal and tired

With these charming designations people were classified at that time and depending on the excess of a juice, appropriate treatments were adopted to restore the balance (like bloodletting).

I will not go into the astrological classification here. In addition I would like to note that humans are clearly more complex and multilayered.

From the historical origin it can be concluded that the name itself is not flattering. That’s why it’s even more important to talk about the potential benefits of Melancholic Phases.

Unfold new layers of your personality

It is not prescribed to anyone to always be a funny go-getter. If your environment pushes you into a role, you have to stand up for yourself. You don’t have to entertain anyone and you certainly don’t have to fulfill any clichés of your background.

There are many reasons how you can fall into melancholic phase. Heartbreak, uncertainty about the future, bad changes, negative stagnation or confrontation with death.

I went through a breakup within a year and subsequently lost four people. Often, misfortune rarely comes alone. I’m sure you, too, have experienced many consecutive days of misfortune. Emotional wounds can take the wind out of your sails for months. Sadness is something completely normal and can last for a long time. Take as much time as you need. Grieve thoughtfully and you will see that you get to know yourself better.

It is not necessary to relate your melancholy to yourself. Your own ego should be given little consideration here in itself. When you lose someone important, your thoughts go to your time together. You reflect on his/her attitude to life, principles and goals. The further you explore your memories, the more profound your shared experiences seem.

Perhaps here is a tipping point where you look at life itself differently. It’s the day you begin to take an interest in poetry. Poetry without the ulterior motive of having to impress anyone. Poetry for you and your close confidants.

Schluchsee in the Black Forest
Schluchsee in the Black Forest (Southwest Germany)

Poetry the sister of melancholy

How many songs are about heartbreak, lost friends or the end of all good days? There are quite a few, aren’t there? In every pain there is also a spark of art. Mostly the way leads back to joy and love of life. Until then, you should open yourself to your pain and let the poetry work on you.

Creative phase

In the greatest need, one becomes inventive. Whether the personal situation is worsened from the outside, it is self-inflicted or whether one only imagines the hardship plays a lesser role. What matters is how one perceives the situation.

Challenge or torment?

Learn to separate burdensome situations from the rest of your life. Don’t allow yourself to lose focus for a better life. Try to see every bad circumstance as an additional challenge. You will soon realize that you can grow from obstacles. Perseverance and passion move mountains of pain.

Learn to separate burdensome situations from the rest of your life. Don’t allow yourself to lose focus for a better life. Try to see every bad circumstance as an additional challenge. You will soon realize that you can grow from obstacles. Perseverance and passion move mountains of pain.

Flow forward

Use your passions as an outlet for your frustration. That way you can turn the bad into something good. You can’t just think frustration away or ignore it. It is like energy searching for a purpose. Give the energy a purpose and don’t fight against it. As soon as you use the energy for yourself, you enter a flow consciousness state.

In this state, you experience ease for tasks that are normally very strenuous. Now this is described in a very rudimentary way. Using the flow for yourself will help you especially if you want to become efficient. In melancholic phases, it will help you to maintain your creative creator phase.

How do you describe colors to a blind person? It is difficult to describe the state. People who have experienced the flow state should be able to understand it.

Examples of how people with melancholy have created their best masterpieces:

Goethe with his work Faust

Mozart with his work to loneliness.

Paul McCartney with his song yesterday

Pablo Picasso’s paintings were created during his blue period.



I do not want to put melancholy on a pedestal here and say: It is best to be melancholy. If you turn away from everything beautiful and curse the light, you will fall down the cellar stairs. There is hardly an extreme that is good for you in the long run. We should accept melancholy as a part of our life. When the spirit comes, we should listen to it and learn from it.

Most will not experience such a phase frequently. See it as a gift to yourself the next time you get melancholy. Give your inner self a chance to express itself. Your heart finds peace when it can express itself. In a song, in a poem, in a story, in a picture or something similar. When your personal sun goes down, you recognize your fixed stars. You just have to look up long enough for the clouds to give way and allow you a glimpse.

Look ahead and do something new

Now you are asked

Your thoughts are welcome in the comment field

How do you deal with strokes of fate?

Please write in the comments

Thank you

Book recommendation

If you have lost a person, the advice of Seneca can help you. Don’t be put off by the title. In the end, his book is about living your life without fear of death.


Her an lovely clip about this topic: Lesson by Courtney Stephens, animation by Sharon Colman Graham. From the youtube channel TED-Ed


Veröffentlicht von Chris

Monthly one blog articel about reading, growth or inspiring ideas (in english and german).

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