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Love your Life Series, #8: Adopt a “This too shall pass” Mindset

The more attention I start paying to life, the more I realize that we spend a lot of time grabbing ahold of things and refusing to let them go. But what’s wild to me is that we don’t only cling to the great stuff, we also tightly close our hands around things that aren’t so great: dark or rough pasts, habits that don’t particularly serve us well, images of who we are– though we may have long outgrown them, or desperately want to outgrow them. Sometimes we cling so tightly that there’s no room for any change at all.

One of the things I’ve tried to be more intentional about doing lately is adopting a “This too shall pass” attitude. My younger self saw this is a pithy statement that people liked to needlepoint on to anything that didn’t move too fast. But my older, “wiser?” self sees the helpful truth behind the statement.

I’m trying to adopt a gentle, appreciative, self-loving approach to my body–even though it is stubbornly refusing to let me lose this last 15-20lbs. (I’ve not been able to break this plateau for over two years, no matter what I’ve done.) When I am able to tell myself that it will pass, I can remain positive about the process. When I’m fighting a craving for something I do not need, it’s helpful to remind myself that it will go away. (And 9 out of 10 times, if I get busy doing something else as I say that, it will go away.)

The saying is also really helpful, just as most people use it: when something really crappy is going on, there’s a tremendous amount of comfort in knowing that it can’t last forever. I love John Lennon’s words:

“Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”

Black and White picture of a porch with rain beating against the glassSometimes when I’m adamantly insisting on wallowing in “it”, it’s helpful to think about a cloudy/rainy day– which is just temporarily blocking a blue sky day. That blue sky day hasn’t really gone anywhere, it’s just not presently visible. But eventually the storm will move on.

But maybe it’s also really helpful to keep a “this too shall pass” mindset even when things are good. Life ebbs and flows. That’s what it does. I used to think it was most helpful to focus on life’s sunshine and rainbows all the time, but then as soon as a perceived setback or crisis occurred, I panicked. But remembering that all things–even the good things–pass seems to help keep the panic monster at bay. It reminds me that life, and the world, are all bigger than what’s in front of me. It reminds me that I’m a participant in the natural rhythm of life– the same rhythm of life that all other human beings experience.

One of the things I’ve realized as a personal trainer, and as a person on a quest to live her healthiest life, is that attitude makes all the difference in the world. The people that are able to keep a positive attitude (and I confess I’m not always a rockstar at this– I’m human too! But I’m also diligently working on it!) are the ones who see the greatest success. Having a “This Too Shall Pass” mindset seems to help people stay much more positive about life and its ups and downs.

Choose to have a mindset that keeps you ready for great change when things are tough, but helps you prepare for crappy times even when you’re on top of the world! Nothing is permanent– but your mindset as those changes happen determines how well you do at Loving Your Life!


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