Over the last five years coaching individuals and teams, I’ve seen a lot of people in deep pain within their personal and professional relationships.

The human condition demands that we endure hardship and difficulty on some level but for how long? Do we have to suffer in perpetuity or are there ways to turn the table on our perspective so that we can use adversity to our advantage?

I’ve watched many people release their mental, emotional, and physical pain in an instant. What they say about their state of mind before and after that release is on opposite ends of the scale. Before, they seemed beat up, frustrated, hurt, and constantly questioning. After, they felt relieved, clear, refreshed, and certain.

So, what changed for them?

In my experience, it’s three little words.

Here are the game changing phrases that have helped many find new freedom:

1. To into For – When we experience obstacles, it feels like life is coming at us and happening to us. We get frustrated that our road to success is littered with bumps and roadblocks. However, if we were to welcome those bumps as a necessary part of our journey designed to help us wake up to ourselves, the sudden jolts could be used to spur us on to a greater part of our higher being. Instead of obstacles happening to you, see your obstacles happening for you as a valuable lesson that only your soul can receive through your hardship. Receive it as the golden path to your growth.

For example, you may find yourself in a stalemate with your boss. What if you started viewing your resistance as happening for you, providing a space to focus less on the messy details and more on a unifying attitude of cooperation with management? Seeing a disagreement as a lesson that is teaching you how to do something that will ultimately serve you could be the breath of fresh air that puts the power back into your hands.

2. If into When – Many times we feel like our pain will never end. We get stuck in stagnation and the suffering persists. However, most pain is temporary. We can adjust our thinking, shifting if the pain will ever end into when it will. This too shall pass. When we change our if into when, the mind begins to assume an end date and prepares for it. When we change our focus off of the pain and into the time and space without it, life gets better immediately. We can then look forward to a pain free life. And sure enough one day it comes to a natural completion.

3. But into And – Have you ever heard someone describe a person so beautifully then follow up with but and negate the whole compliment? Like this, my co-worker is a very smart woman, but she isn’t a good teammate. The but negates the first part of the statement which shifts the focus straight to the undesirable part.

Using and keeps the compliment alive and adds to the feeling as well. My co-worker is a very smart woman and she is improving her team skills. Big difference.

When I began using and as my conjunction of choice, I saw, heard, and felt everything more inclusively. It changed my perspective into a space of connection rather than separation.

And is a conjunction that joins two or more items. When used in all of our relationships, it can make a person feel included and valued.

There is a solid foundation of thinking that our most intense pain is centered in feelings of disconnection from others and ourselves.

By changing three little words in your vocabulary, you can elevate how you relate to others and step into a better version of yourself.

Adjusting To into For gives you an understanding that your obstacles are there for you to conquer and a necessary part of the journey to ultimate growth. Welcome those obstacles in.

Changing If into When gives your mind comfort and anticipation that suffering is temporary in nature and the end is on its way.

Lastly, replacing But with And offers a bridge of validation and connection to others and yourself that will serve you for a lifetime.

Relatively simple to implement, these three little words can have a tremendous impact on your perspective and bolster your ability to find solutions amid life’s toughest difficulties.