I would imagine most of us have heard the adage “This too shall pass.” Because the phrase is so familiar, so mundane and ordinary, we tend overlook the power of its eternal truth. The phrase reminds us of the impermanence of all things and the idea that nothing lasts forever, neither the good nor the bad things.
We know intellectually that things pass and that change is an ongoing process. When life sucks, we say, “This too shall pass,” and hopefully it does – but here’s the hitch: when life is good, it, too, inevitably will pass.
No problem lasts forever. Difficult situations often bring out qualities that otherwise might not have risen to the surface, such as courage, faith, and our need for one another. All of our experiences can help us grow.
Before things do pass, however, here are some ways of managing those inevitable and difficult times:
- Relationship with Oneself – This is the pillar that influences every other relationship in our life and is central to our wellbeing. A good guide is to be as kind and respectful to ourselves as we would be to a good friend.
- Relationship with Others – Having strong relationships with others is the central tenet to a good and happy life. Make sure we give and receive the love, help and support that makes life worth living.
- Manage Emotions – We cannot control what we feel, but we can keep ourselves from letting those feelings take control of our lives. Be aware that when you are in HALT: hungry angry, lonely and tired you are vulnerable.
- Time – Be mindful of focusing your attention on the present moment rather than turning toward the past with regrets and “coulda, shoulda, woulda’s” and projecting into the future with the “what ifs.”
- Limits – know your limits and learn to say “NO” where necessary with conviction.
- Structure – Keep structure to your life. Participate in things that have sustained you in the past and new things that will sustain you in the present.
“This too shall pass” is a simple and powerful phrase that gives us hope and can soothe us when we are in the middle of a painful situation by remembering we have survived difficult situations before and we will adapt and survive now. Cherish the good times. Replay those joyful moments in your mind and enjoy them.
Reflection: I may not be able to control life circumstances, but I can learn to manage myself during these times.
Today’s Practice: What in my life passed that I never believed would?