sadder and wiser

sadder and wiser

More knowledgeable or experienced after having gone through something unpleasant or unfortunate. We came through the economic disaster sadder and wiser, hopefully better prepared for such disasters in the future. I left the dinner sadder and wiser, understanding just how entrenched her family's bigotry still is.
See also: and, sad, wiser
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

sadder and/but wiser

Enlightened by an unfortunate experience; learning from one’s mistakes. The pairing of these two thoughts appears in the concluding stanza of Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1798): “He went like one that hath been stunned,/And is of sense forlorn:/A sadder and a wiser man,/He rose the morrow morn.”
See also: and, but, sad, wiser
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer