This, too, shall pass.
It is a saying we hear often. People will say it to us when we are going through something difficult, and while there is profound truth and wisdom in this mantra, it can also be tricky.
We must be careful about when and how we say this phrase to others and how we think about it ourselves, especially these days.
So, how can we embrace this in an authentic way amidst our own challenges right now?
How Can We Embrace “This, Too, Shall Pass?”
A big part of embracing “this, too, shall pass” is reminding ourselves that good and bad times don’t last. We can surrender to life’s ebbs and flows, including when we go through something difficult and when we go through something great.
The tricky thing about this phrase, though, is that it sometimes minimizes the experiences that people have.
People go through many challenges and difficulties throughout their lives, and it’s essential to be mindful of this. It’s also important not to compare our challenges, pain, or suffering to what other people are going through.
Imagine someone who is sick or has lost someone close to them. Telling the person that “this, too, shall pass” can be insensitive. It may not speak to the challenge or pain of the moment they’re experiencing.
“This, too, shall pass” is similar to the common saying that “everything happens for a reason” or that “there’s always a silver lining.” While it’s all true, saying these things to people doesn’t often support them or honor their experience.
Remember to be Mindful
We must be mindful when we say these phrases to others – and ourselves. It’s critical to acknowledge the difficulty and challenge of particular experiences with empathy.
We’ve all been through painful things and figured out how to get through them. None of us have been through a global pandemic before, and we are just now beginning to really deal with the impact and difficulties it had on our lives, culture, and economy.
What Can You Control?
Experiences teach us things, and while we can’t control everything in life, what we can control is how we show up.
There are really only two things we can control – our attitude and our effort. Everything else is out of our control.
We’ve all made it through and survived 100 percent of the challenges we’ve endured up to this point in our lives.
We’re All in This Together
Our world has gone through unbelievable stress, challenge, difficulty, war, change, and more throughout history.. But through our adaptability, resilience, grit, and good fortune, we as individuals, families, communities, a nation, and the world have figured out how to overcome these challenges. This doesn’t mean there’s no loss, pain, or impact, but we do know how to get through hard times.
It’s important to acknowledge that life is often an emotional rollercoaster, it’s also critical to allow ourselves to feel the emotions and trust that they will pass – that we will get through it. It doesn’t mean we know exactly when we will get through it, but that’s all a part of the process.
Remembering that we’re all in this together and that this, too, shall pass are two essential things we can hold onto in the midst of everything going on. Remembering how strong and resilient we are and knowing that we will get through whatever we are dealing with are essential things for us to focus on as we navigate any challenge we face.
How do you work your way through challenging times? What can you do to support others going through difficulties? Feel free to leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
Mike Robbins is the author of five books, including his latest, We’re All in This Together: Creating a Team Culture of High Performance, Trust, and Belonging. He’s a thought leader and sought-after speaker whose clients include Google, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, Schwab, eBay, Genentech, the Oakland A’s, and many others.