The One Concept We All Need to Accept for a Happier Life
Best Man Speech: “I met Caleb when I was 15. I’ve been with him through a broken collar bone when he got sacked in football, being suspended from school when we well…let’s just say got in trouble. I’ve been with him through his first heartbreak and I will never forget the night he told me he was going to marry Jackie. You two are meant for each other, I knew it from the first time I saw you together. So, let’s raise a glass to Caleb and Jackie, today is a day filled with happiness but remember, This Too Shall Pass”.
Can you imagine?
Have you ever been having the time of your life, laughing, smiling, you are feeling so happy and then someone says to you, “This too shall pass”? Probably not!
That phrase is usually only used when you are going through a challenging time in your life, not something you would hear at a wedding, birthday party, the excitement from a promotion…am I right?
This too shall pass is a Persian phrase that reflects on the temporary nature or impermanence of anything and everything.
An early English citation of “This too shall pass” appears first in 1848. It was also notably used in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before he was president in 1859.
This too shall pass means that the difficult things you are facing will pass, but it also does mean the amazing things you experience will pass as well. In other words, impermanence.
What is impermanence?
Impermanence is the state of accepting that everything is temporary. Acceptance of impermanence is not meant to make you a Debbie Downer. The idea is that it allows you to cope more easily with challenging times if you can accept that life is fluid.
If you come to the conclusion that life is not permanent, and neither is anything in it (relationships, children, job, physical capabilities, financial status, etc.), then you are more likely to react gracefully when something in your life changes.
Impermanence can give you hope that the painful moments you are facing will not last forever. It also can encourage you to work on being more present because the truth is that you, your relationships, your job, and your mental state will not always be in a permanent state of happiness and bliss.
“When things are bad, remember: It won’t always be this way. Take one day at a time. When things are good remember: It won’t always be this way. Enjoy every great moment.” –Doc Zantamata
What can you gain by learning to accept impermanence?
- You accept that bad things will come to an end
- You accept that good things will come to an end
- You accept ALL emotions are fluid and will not last forever
- You accept that life is dynamic, not static
When you are happy, enjoy it! Treasure those moments and be as present as you can be. When you are hurting, feel it, acknowledge it, learn from it and know it will not last forever. You never know if your next moment will be a good moment or bad moment, but what you do know is that whichever it is, it will change.
How do you accept impermanence? Well, you already have before and probably didn’t even realize it. Think back to the last time you had the cold or the flu. You didn’t say to yourself, “Ok, this is it. It’s been a good life. I’m dying.” Ok, maybe you felt like that for a second, but in reality, you knew that it would last 3-5 days and you would feel better again. That is practicing and accepting impermanence.
Embracing impermanence in my life has made me more mindful of living in the present and more emotionally grounded. It also reminds me that things will happen in life that I don’t have control over, but I get to control how to respond to them.
Let’s try that Best Man Speech again…
“I met Caleb when I was 15. I’ve been with him through a broken collar bone when he got sacked in football, being suspended from school when we well…let’s just say got in trouble. I’ve been with him through his first heartbreak and I will never forget the night he told me he was going to marry Jackie. You two are meant for each other, I knew it from the first time I saw you together. The advice I give you today I’ve learned during my own journey. In my own marriage and in life, I have learned to embrace impermanence. You will have amazing moments together, that will pass. You will have challenges you will face, that will pass as well and be replaced with happy moments again. This journey you are on together is fluid and will forever be changing, embrace all of it! It’s all a part of the ride you are taking together. Oh, and have lots of sex! Let’s raise a glass to Caleb and Jackie!”
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