As I was struggling yet again with technology – trying to sort out a brand new printer and tearing my hair out in the process – I remembered a quote “This too shall pass”.
I know from personal experience many times over that, even though it doesn’t feel so at the time, bad times usually do pass even if, sometimes, it feels like it takes forever.
Of course, I knew that sooner or later the printer was going to print. I was just letting my frustration get the better of me.
But that quote, “This too shall pass”, was a useful reminder because it put things into perspective.
Even the worst painful experiences in my life that felt like they would go on forever – like the breakdown of my marriage, the pain of loss of people I loved, the temporary loss of my health (bulimia, breast cancer, severe pains and depression) – they all passed and I became stronger and definitely wiser as a result.
It’s through challenges that we develop resilience, experience, wisdom.
The reason I chose such extreme examples is that, in times of intense frustration and stress, I tend to lump everything together.
But now I’m taking a different approach:
I now think, “OK, yes, I know this too shall pass but how can I make it pass faster?”
With the printer, the answer was simple: “Call the Geek Squad!” They’ve restored my sanity more than once – and they did it again so I now have a working printer which was faster than if I’d kept hitting my head against the proverbial brick wall.
But not all challenges lend themselves to a Geek Squad so what other options are there?
Here are some questions I’ve found very helpful in speeding up the process:
“What else can I try?” “Who else can I ask?” “Where else can I check?” are just some examples.
Sometimes the thing to do – especially when we experience pain – is to stay with it as opposed to, as I used to do, pretend it wasn’t so bad.
But staying in this painful space too long is definitely not a good idea because then it becomes far too easy to begin feeling sorry for myself, helpless and hopeless, which I’m not – though I sometimes forget.
The way out of hopelessness and helplessness, I have found over and over again, is taking action, any action.
That’s because, when you feel hopeless and discouraged, your energy levels never mind hope, are practically non-existent.
Taking action needs energy. It’s the difference between slumping in front of the telly and doing something as simple as standing up and picking up the phone.
Right now all I wanted was for the damned printer to work! What are my options? Call the Geek Squad! Easy peasy.
But what if I decided to take this further and take a look at what I want in my life – love, work, friends, family?
I remember times when my life looked hopeless or scary – when I was still in my marriage, when I left aged 60 feeling more fearful than elated, when I started living alone for the first time in my life, when I had to build the next stage of my life from scratch, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, when my experience of online dating convinced me that I was too old to find love again, when …
I remember making it a game, a fantasy – I ‘knew’ none of it would happen but, hey! it’s just a game!
And so I played the game of how would I recognise my soulmate if I ever met him? (that was in 2004 – I found my notes!), what was I good at that I could use to do something I loved? And what did I love to do anyway?
Then some spark lit up inside me and I sat up straighter. Maybe I could… perhaps it’s not that crazy, perhaps …
I started doing things that made me feel good about myself and that upped my energy levels too – small things that gave me the impetus to try out something new, to find out something else, to learn something different – and, over time, the ‘unreasonable’ and the ‘unrealistic’ became less so.
None of it happened overnight. Some things took a very long time but, as the poet Goethe said, “whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.”
Small successes will keep you going. One baby step after another, moving in the generally right direction.
And gradually, that saying becomes true. This too shall pass and life looks a whole lot better.
With love and gratitude,
P.S. My latest book, ‘Open Your Heart: The 7 Secrets Of Strong And Loving Relationships’ is now on Amazon!
P.P.S. I enable women to build strong and loving relationships, first with themselves and then with others.