Symbols of Sadness ( +5 ways to spot)

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In this brief guide, we will discuss some common symbols of sadness and how to deal with sadness.

Symbols of sadness and their meaning

Symbols of sadness can be found in various places like art, nature, or even out behaviors, and most commonly people associate darkness, monochrome colors and weathers like rain or thunder with sadness. 

There are also some symbols of sadness in mythology as well, and many people associate certain flowers, plants and words with sadness as well, and the other symbols of sadness are also found in literature and especially poetry.

To add to these symbols of sadness, there are also various symbols in our dreams as well, according to the various dream interpretation guides in the psychological literature, specially the works by Freud and Carl Jung.

According to Carl Jung, who has written some great works about the interpretation of dreams from a spiritual perspective, says that some symbols of sadness in our dreams can come from our collective unconscious as well, or from the various other aspects of our personality that may not be totally known to us.

It is a curious thing, but people also tend to notice symbols of sadness a lot more when they are experiencing sadness in that moment and sometimes they may also pay attention to symbols of sadness they may ignore otherwise.

This is because we tend to pay attention to more stimuli that are in line with our mental state, and that agrees with our emotional state, and it may even be considered a form of confirmation bias.

In art, Symbols of sadness have been a device that poets, writers, musicians, and artists have used for centuries, because sadness is one of the most primal and strong emotions , and no matter what the art form is, symbols of sadness can be used to touch people’s lives.

Many symbols of sadness are usually centered around the common things we do when we are sad, like cry, which is what is associated with the sadness symbol that is rain or drought, or wanting to be left alone, which is often what people tend to associate with symbols like darkness or empty rooms.

Symbols of sadness also tend to revolve around darker colors and monochromatic things, because research about color wheels and depression has shown that people suffering from sadness or even depression tend to relate to more.

In fact, it has also been seen that people tend to choose darker and more monochromatic colors when they are sad or depressed, and they may often choose lighter shades when they are happier.

Symbols of sadness in Literature

Symbols of sadness in literature can be just about anything that is tangible or visible or appeals to senses in some other way, and that represents an abstract idea of sadness, and usually authors may use symbols of sadness in literature when they want the reader to feel a certain emotion at a certain time in the story.

Furthermore, to understand symbols of sadness in literature, we need to first understand what Symbolism means, and this is a concept that refers to a manner of representing things by using symbols, or attributing symbolic meaning or importance to objects, events, or relationships between characters.

In literature, symbolism may help when the reader is reading a story for instance, and they are able to tell that that a heroine is vain about her looks when there is always a mirror around her, or when she is frequently associated with the mirror, or in the particular case of symbols of sadness in literature, it may be that someone is perceived as being sad when they are surrounded by rain, thunder, extreme drought.

In many cases, symbols of sadness in literature may often just be any condition that signifies great difficulty and loss can usually be a symbol of sadness, and usually the speaker of literature states things related to the symbol and they are meant to symbolize the concept they want to represent.

A brilliant example of symbols of sadness in literature is the poem Ode to the West Wind, which talks of thunder and rain and heavy winds, all of which signify great difficulty, and in this poem Percy Bysshe Shelley ends the poem with the line “If Winter comes can Summer be far behind”?

Here the seasons he is talking about represent happiness and sadness. He is talking about it in terms of the changing of seasons but what is implying is that if you are experiencing bad times you will experience good times as well eventually.

Going by this symbolism, winter is another common thing that is used as a symbol of sadness, because it signifies a harsh environment, and an overall difficult way of life, because things are cold and there is no comfort.

In fact, winter is also associated with depression, which is evident in seasonal affective disorder, which is a fairly common problem and is something that tends to come around more around the colder weather.

Symbols of Sadness in Music

Music is one of the best art forms to exhibit symbolism and specifically symbols of sadness, like in the song “Burying a friend” Billie Eilish uses symbolism to talk about her own struggle with mental health issues and how she dealt with suicidal thoughts.

Even people who are generally not suffering from mental health issues can enjoy sad music and music that is filled with symbols of sadness because it can be very cathartic to do so, and according to many people the most commonly employed instruments to portray sadness is the Violin because of its haunting melody and it is therefore used often when a sad melody is to be played.

In addition, Minor chords are chord progressions commonly used for symbolizing sadness in pieces meant to be emotional.

In addition, another symbol of sadness in a dream can be darkness and blurriness. Not being able to remember dreams or remembering them in a hazy manner may also be a symbol of sadness as it may mean that you are not at one with your subconscious.

Symbol of Sadness in art and visual mediums

Symbols of sadness in art and visual mediums are usually about color, and the use of darker or muted colors, or colder colors that are extremely contrasted against each other, can be strong symbols of sadness in paintings.

In some paintings that feature people, figures shown as reaching out can also be considered some effective symbols of sadness and everyone knows about the biggest disputed symbol of sadness in paintings is the Mona Lisa, a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci depicts beautifully how easily debatable symbols can be in visual mediums.

For each symbol, there may be many interpretations, like the Mona Lisa has, because critics have discussed for decades what the meaning of Mona Lisa’s smile is, and many people see it as sad.

Use of Symbols of Sadness in Mental health

While symbols of sadness are great in art and as a medium of communication, they can also be put to use to understand the condition of the individual’s mental health.

In personality tests like the Rorschach Inkblot test and the Thematic Apperception Test, the individual is given different stimuli and they are meant to formulate a variety of responses about these cards.

People are asked to tell stories in Thematic apperception test and they may often involve themes of people getting happy endings and losing things that are precious to them if the person is sad, and these stories have many other symbols of sadness as well, that may help clinicians formulate theories about the personality of the test taker.

Flowers as a symbol of sadness

Flowers that symbolize sadness may usually be ones with cool shades like purple and blue, or even dried flowers with the petals and leaves falling out, while daisies or happy flowers may symbolize happiness and joy.

Flowers can signify many things depending on the context like they may be used to say I’m sorry, I’m so happy for you, get better soon, and so on, and a good example of this is red roses , which no one can see without thinking of valentine’s day or of romance in general, that’s how powerful symbolism is when it comes to flowers.

Symbols of sadness in movies and videos

Symbols of sadness in movies and videos can often be seen in the trope of someone going somewhere by a vehicle with huge glass windows that signify the distance between them and the outside world, and they may have their head against it while it rains outside.

One of the most commonly used symbols that shows sadness in movies and tv shows is rain and thunder, but some flowers, especially dried ones to show decay and death, or animals and birds like ravens or cats can also be used as symbols of sadness in movies and tv shows.

Loss is another signifier of sadness and as a symbol for this in movies and tv shows, one might see someone falling or someone reaching out, fear can be shown by quick jerky movements and mystery can be symbolized by dark birds like the Raven.

There are countless symbols in movies and tv shows, and most of these symbols of various abstract concepts seek to enhance our cinematic experience by not only engaging our eyes and ears but also the primitive centers of our minds that are dealing with complex emotion that goes beyond the sensory modalities.


In this brief guide, we discussed some symbols of sadness, as well as how to deal with bouts of sadness.

Sadness without any cause can be worrying, and should be taken seriously because it can often mean that the person is depressed, or perhaps has a serious mental condition that should be attended to.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

In some cases, persistent sadness that doesn’t seem to be related to any particular cause can also mean that it’s dysthymia, which is a disorder one needs to get help for.

If you have any more questions or comments about the symbols of sadness please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Symbols of Sadness 

What is a symbol of sadness?

Rain is a common symbol of sadness.

Rain tends to signify and symbolise sadness in music, art, literature, and many other forms of expression, and this is usually because rain has elicits feelings of depression, darkness, and exhaustion and the atmospheric shifts associated with depression and darkness tend to be associated fairly often with depression because they can make people feel quite gloomy in their day-to-day lives as well.

Rain is also associated with seasonal affective disorder, and therefore it can make people feel quite melancholy.

What flower symbolizes sadness?

A flower that symbolizes sadness is Hyacinth, as it tends to signify sorrow and regret.

What symbolizes loneliness?

Things that symbolize loneliness may be darkness, empty rooms, hunched over figures, tears or rain and thunder.

Fear of loss and death can also symbolize loneliness, and in some cases, dark colors, or even monochromatic colors can also symbolize loneliness.


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