When our beloved departs from the earth, when we have terrific falls in our lives we all experience sorrows and many other things which make our life bitter. We experience sorrow.

I want to know how we can overcome these and experience a release from sorrow in our lives?

  • 2
    Lou Marinoff's Plato, Not Prozac!: Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems addresses precisely such problem.
    – RodolfoAP
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 16:39
  • I made some edits. You may roll these back or continue editing. You can see the versions by clicking the "edited" link above. There might be comfort from religion especially if it is related to a death in the family. I am thinking of an answer that might be more general. Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 16:39
  • This looks to me more like a psychological question. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 18:48

4 Answers 4


(I don't find this to be a philosophical question, I find it to be a psychological one. So I am going to give a psycho-therapeutic answer, which is by necessity mostly opinion.)

What is the real motivation for 'overcoming' sorrow? What does this actually mean? It implies that sorrow is some kind of domineering enemy that is by design intended to limit us. Those are the kinds of things that one overcomes.

But sorrow is an evolved response. It has a purpose, or it would most likely not persist across a wide swath of the evolutionary tree. It is therefore not likely to be maladaptive in a real, natural state of existence.

So what is the objective effect of sorrow? What are sad people better at? Sad people are more realistic about the effects of their actions. They have temporarily suspended the optimistic bias that comes naturally to animals. Presumably, a period of greater realism has some way of protecting or developing them, if one presumes that emotional reactions are evolved to preserve a species.

Having lost someone upon whom one had a certain level of dependence, may require seeing many things in a more realistic light. The intrusion of negative options might be an opportunity to really weigh them objectively against our usual reality, which has a positive bias.

Like all emotions, we can become too comfortable with a given state, or too prone to enter it. But I think we defend ourselves against emotion too forcefully, and not realistically enough. We should not dwell in and depart from the world when we are scared or sad, because we are in doing so preventing any learning. Earlier generations of humans simply did not have our level of safety and could not do this if they had wished. The demands of life were more urgent.

But we should not be focused on getting away from or doing away with negative emotions. We should be focused on engaging the world in all our different internal states, and paying attention to how things are different.


I overcome sorrow by accepting it. By definition human beings feel sorrow under certain circumstances, just as we feel joy at other times. Experiencing feelings reminds me that I'm a human being, a thought which always makes me feel very happy. In other words, I 'own it'.

When a loved one passes away, I don't experience any sense of catharsis from grieving until after I have wept real tears, freely and uninhibitedly. Stoicism doesn't work for me.

Yet the sorrow never completely goes away even then, because my love for the person whom I miss so much doesn't die with them. So again: reminded of my humanity because I'm aware of being capable of feeling love for other human beings.

The ability to feel emotions appropriate to my circumstances confirms my identity as a human being. And that knowledge makes me feel very happy.

That's why I always try to honor my feelings.

Psychology Today, 5 Ways to Honor Sadness Instead of Distracting From It, by Erin Leyba LCSW, Ph.D. (Jan 03, 2016):

Making room for sadness is an important component of psychological well-being.


The simplicity of this question is beautiful, however, the complexity of its answer demands wisdom. I would first consider that sorrow can have several existential sources. Where the sorrow came from would have a direct influence on how the sorrow is dealt with.

Most often this is dealt with in the area of theism. For instance, Buddhism would imply in it 4 noble truths that first and foremost, "Life is suffering". The end of Buddhism is to rid the life of suffering which could also be interpreted as sorrow. I would argue that to rid oneself of sorrow would make you less than human.

We are called human beings my friend, not human doings. We are created to exist. Sadly, we exist in a world that on occasion will bring sorrow into our existential realities. What we do with the sorrow will affect all of our co-existing existential realities. We see this in how people allow tragedy to shape who they are. Two primary things can happen when someone experiences sorrow. They either get better or get bitter. We are best to heal and find something that is tested and works practically.

That being said, I believe whole-heartedly that we must overcome sorrow with the help of a theistic framework to be free from its haunting effects. In the times of deepest sorrow, we see the deepest religious writings emerge. I am reminded of an interesting fact about the letter from James in the Christian Bible. The book of James was written in a day when the Jewish Christians had been forced out of their homeland by their own people. James, the brother of Jesus, opened his letter with these words, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (Js. 1:2-4 NKJV)

If we allow suffering to be a teacher, we will gain wisdom in ways that otherwise we would have never have accessed. If we allow suffering or sorrow to be our torturer we will soon find the weight of our suffering will hinder all normalcy. I do hope that this has been a help. If you would like to talk further on the subject, I am very willing.

Your Friend,


  • sir, are you free now?
    – Akash. B
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 14:54
  • This is not a philosophical answer, but a motivational-religious approach of sorrow. Completely disagree about it being the selected answer. Sorry for your loss, but this answer has no place here.
    – RodolfoAP
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 3:23
  • I am sorry that you feel that way, my friend. I was not aware that there must be a separation between religious thought and philosophical thought. Philosophy, according to Merriam Webster definition 1a states: 1 a (1): all learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts (2): the sciences and liberal arts exclusive of medicine, law, and theology a doctor of philosophy (3): the 4-year college course of a major seminary... Wisdom is wisdom, my friend. If it works, I say use it.
    – Bill Scott
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 3:31

There are different types of sorrows irrespective of religions. People choose different techniques to overcome these according to their character, abilities etc. This may vary according to their age, living condition etc.


Since sorrows are related to our mind, the most important thing is, whatever we do to overcome sorrow must be useful to pacify our mind also.

The following links might be helpful to reach a conclusion:



You know that almost all religions have propounded different ways to eliminate sorrows. See what Buddha said about sorrow:

According to the Buddha, sorrow and suffering are caused by attachment, specifically to a particular outcome or possession. By freeing themselves of all attachments and cravings, individuals can also free themselves from suffering and sorrow.

You know that all these are different aspects in different perspective. We can't say this is wrong because many people believe it, practice it in their life and eliminate most of their sorrows. Similar may be the case of many other religions, organizations, communities etc.

You may have seen some people who visit old-age homes, orphanages, rehabilitation centers, hospitals etc just to see the sorrows/sufferings of the inmates. Even these visits or other services can help them to forget, eliminate or overcome their own sorrows. Even a an atheist would agree with this idea.

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