In order to both survive and thrive we need to take everything with a grain of salt, celebrate the small things and get through the small stuff. 12 Step programs are keen on ‘one day at a time,’ but I want to offer up the only two strategies you’ll need in life (and I thank my mom for these bits of wisdom):
This Too Shall Pass and Onwards and Upwards
If you feel incredibly down, in a valley in the peaks and valleys sense, or a depression in the bipolar sense – read all about the plights of mental health woes here in another article of mine – it’s most important to remember these two mantras. Sometimes the world deals us blow after blow, and it might be the worst few months you’ve ever faced – you might have lost a friend or a loved one, or a job or a prospect. Whatever the reason, how we cope with these kinds of situations helps define us as a person – without the struggle, we’d never appreciate the good that comes our way with as much of our hearts as we do.
This Too Shall Pass teaches us that no matter how bad it gets and no matter how bleak it might seem, there’s only up from here to go. It reminds us that we’ve been through worse – and we survived. We’re strong people, and even in the worst-case scenario we can always remember some other kind of time or even compare our experiences to those we see in media or read in books. People have gotten through these traumas.. so can you. It’s not meant to belittle or take away from your pain, but give you some solace in knowing that recovery is possible. You got this!
Onwards and Upwards teaches us to continue putting in the effort in order to see better manifest itself in our lives. Keep trying. Keep on swimming. We must be the masters of our own destinies and fates – leaving it up to The Powers that Be (your God, her Shiva and my Science) is taking the backseat and back burner to our own lives. You have to be the mastermind and the architect, the engineer and the manual labor in effecting your own change. Nobody else will do it for you.
What can these mantras tell us about how we should react to the mountains, as opposed to the peaks? The euphoria or mania that we sometimes experience when things are looking up? Sometimes we might get taken away by the rollercoaster of emotion that happen to us in the most joyous of times – whether it be Christmas, a new baby, graduating medical school or just an unbalanced amount of chemicals in your brain along with misfiring neurons. Whatever the reason, these sayings are just as powerful now as they were in our lowest of lows.
This Too Shall Pass lets us know that we can always expect the buzz and elation to eventually go away – and to prepare ourselves for more battles at a later date. It’s not meant to take away from the joy we’re experiencing, but rather to give us a sobering look at how to prepare for the coming days. We can always enjoy ourselves – and thoroughly – while still being ready for the future. An excellent example is in the honeymoon stage of new relationships: most of us have felt it, and some of us have ended up in a world of hurt once the pheromones wore out. What’s the lesson? Always have a steady head and try to remember the consequences of our actions and decisions, even if they were seen in a different light – by a later you, by your friends or family, or by society at large.
And when we think of Onwards and Upwards, we can remember that – on a scale approaching infinity – there is actually no limit to the amounts of joy and success we can fit into a day. When things are going super well it’s best to build on that momentum and see if we can make it even better, achieve more things or invigorate ourselves to do more, see more, be more than if we didn’t have that extra motivation. This allows us to keep pushing forward – as masters of our own success – and build the building blocks of a better, safer, happier future. Even if we consider the eventual trough or downturn in our internal state, we can lay the foundation and plant the seeds of further wealth, happiness and prosperity the next time we’re back on our uppers.
Remember – you are the master of the universe. You are the commander of your destiny. You are the sole reason you’re still here, and the sole reason you should keep on moving forward. This might be contrary to some of your beliefs, but at least try to read it and apply it in a way that works with what you believe to be true – the more active you are in your own life and your own situation, the more effect you’ll have – and the more of what you want will manifest. You can attribute these changes where you like!
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