Which emotion describes me well

Saudade: What emotion does this Portuguese word express?

Last update: 13 February, 2018

Saudade is that empty feeling we feel when the person we love is far away. It is this flame that burns within us and never goes out ... The warm breeze that brings back memories of our home. Or the melancholy feeling of knowing that someone or something might not come back to us.

Saudade is the presence of absence. The longing for someone or something that we remember fondly. However, with the certainty that this memory will remain in our past. A deep emotion that is like a mixture of sadness and affection. It leaves us with the bittersweet taste of something that will never come. And yet we keep hope.

“Saudade for a brother who lives far away.
Saudade after a childhood waterfall.
Saudade to the taste of a fruit that will never be found again.
Saudade after the father who died, after the imaginary friend who never existed ...

Saudade after a city.
Saudade after ourselves when we see that time does not forgive us.
All of these saudads hurt.
But the saudade that hurts us most is the one after our beloved. "

Miguel Falabella

Saudade - a powerful word

No German word expresses this very special feeling. The feeling that comes from a happy memory and hurts at the same time. But the Portuguese know this word. They express this feeling with the beautiful word Saudade. A mysterious word that is rich in meaning.

Many linguists have studied it and tried to find out its origin. But they came to no conclusion. It is also very difficult to define exactly what the word means.

As abstract and difficult as this word is to classify, it encompasses a whole collection of emotions and feelings. These evoke something that is far removed from the feelings of the present. In essence, it is as the Portuguese writer Manuel Melo described it: “Bem que se padece i mal que se disfruta” - like the good we suffer from and the bad we enjoy.

We can also look at it from a philosophical perspective. Ramón Piñero describes this term as a state of mind that arises from a feeling of loneliness.And so the different kinds of loneliness can trigger different kinds of saudades. There is one that we perceive objectively in our circumstances, and one that we experience subjectively, in silence.

Other explanations relate the word to our attempts to get back to a basic sense of security. For example, through the death instinct, as Novoa Santos explained. Or through the emotional awakening that our place of birth triggers. The meaning of this word encompasses so much. But we can agree that it is a mental state.

Beyond nostalgia

Sometimes people define the word saudade as a form of nostalgia. But the scent of this word goes far beyond nostalgia. Feeling the saudade isn't just about missing something. You go even further: you are yourself Aware of the importance of certain people and certain moments in life. You know that nothing in yourself will be the same as it used to be.

We could also say that this term describes the breaking of a wave on the beach of our consciousness. A stormy sea where absence reaches a sense of presence by overflowing our inner world. Then it happens that we remind ourselves of those eyes that we will never see again. Or the skin that we will never touch again. The smell of the place we grew up in, the garden we played in when we were children. All while we lay in the sun and watch it slowly but surely go down, away from home.

The saudade is where the happiness of memory and the sadness of absence meet.

Romantic writers understood this well. Because as the writer and actor Miguel Falabella said, be the most painful Saubade the one addressed to someone we still love dearly. The one we associate with the void. This emptiness comes from the certainty that it is impossible to be together again.

But we accept it as fate. When a sad breeze touches our face, we remember how happy we were. It is a beautiful, but also a painful way to love.

“The most painful bath is the one after the beloved. For his skin, his smell, his kisses. After his presence and even his agreed absence. "

Miguel Falabella

Soften the bittersweet taste of memory

The saudade hurts. But one side of her is happiness. When we feel it, we remember the happiness and feel the sadness. Because we know only too well that we cannot get this happiness again.

It's about learning how to enjoy the bittersweet aspect of memory. It is paradoxical, but comforting.

“The saudade is the thing I felt while writing it. And that's what you probably feel after reading. "

Miguel Falabella

In particular Saudade means to feel life with every fiber of our body and to appreciate everything around us. Every moment, every detail, every person. All can awaken this unique emotion within us that is somewhere between pain and happiness.

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