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aneedleinthehayy's avatar

When you're sad, does saying to yourself "This too shall pass." help you and make you feel better?

Asked by aneedleinthehayy (1198points) September 20th, 2008

I’ve found that, to me, these four words are the most profound and moving words I’ve ever read/heard/spoken. What about you?

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24 Answers

Vincentt's avatar

It does help to realize that, in five years, I’ll probably hardly remember it. Of course, when something really bad happens, this could only make it worse…

scamp's avatar

It does help to know that in some situations. I try to look at things I’ve been through and conquered in the past. I try to tell my self, “If I got through that, I can get through this.. which essentially is the same thing.

JackAdams's avatar

Nope. Not at all.

wildflower's avatar

It helps, but only if it’s preceded by “This is how I feel” and “I’m allowed/entitled/justified to feel this way”....

Kayty's avatar

Never once has it helped me.

Harp's avatar


But, to really be effective, one has to apply the same dictum to all emotional states, pleasant and unpleasant. Realising that sadness is transient is one thing; we’re all anxious to see it leave. The hard part, and just as important, is coming to grips with the fact that happiness is a transient state, too.

As much as we would like to pin the swing of the emotional pendulum over on the “happiness” side of its arc, that isn’t possible. It must, and will, swing back (in the healthy human psyche, at least).

Looking at the whole emotional spectrum through the lens of “This too shall pass” leads to what may best be called “equanimity”, the ability to let the pendulum pursue its swing without getting attached to any point along its path. True equanimity is as close as humans can come to being freed from suffering.

JackAdams's avatar

I feel much better, when I say to myself, “He too, shall die.”

augustlan's avatar

Speaking solely of depression, it helps immensely. I suffered many, many bouts of severe depression, during which I’d feel the pull towards suicide. In time, each of those dark periods eventually lightened. I finally realized that it always would get better. Every. Single. Time. That took a huge load off of my shoulders. The “permanent solution” no longer had any power in my mind. I was able to be sad, even wallow in it occasionally, all the while knowing it was temporary.

sacaver's avatar

I think it helps for some people, others just seem content to wallow in their own self pity. Personally, I’ve always lived with the belief that life sucks because, for the most part, we want it to.

@JA: “he too, shall die” man, you crack me up sometimes.

asmonet's avatar

That’s my mindset in a nutshell, don’t think I’ve ever actually said it to myself. But I’m pretty optimistic in general. I think it helps to feel that way. So yeah, I guess it does?

loser's avatar


Nimis's avatar

It usually does. But after saying it for ten years
(about the same thing), it kind of loses its sheen.

Then you got to move on to sayings like shit happens
or when life gives you lemons, kick it in the groin.

scamp's avatar

@Nimis aint it the truth? ha ha!!

marinelife's avatar

It helps me when I am able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Sometimes it takes a bit of time when I am in mid-crisis to reach that island of perspective.

MacBean's avatar

I’m with Nimis on this one. It helps with the small stuff. But after saying it for years about the same thing, it stops being helpful in that situation.

wundayatta's avatar

About six months ago, I had my first depression that took me to the place where I believed it would never end. Fortunately, it did end, with the help of meds and maybe with the help of therapy (I’m still not convinced therapy does much).

So when the next one hit, and I was headed for that same place, my wife reminded me that I had survived the first one, and I remembered that it could end. That was very useful.

By the time the third one came, I could tell myself that it wasn’t forever. But then, the shrink also told me they would get shorter and less deep over time. They’re a little more variable than that, but on the whole, it is true.

The worst thing is the sense of powerlessness. I do everything I’m supposed to, and then, all of a sudden, BOOM! I never know how long they’ll go for or how deep they’ll be. Sometimes I start coming out, and get thrown back in. Everyone always asks whether there are events that trigger them, but it seems to me that mostly it has nothing to do with what’s going on in the world.

And then, I feel bad, because I know that eventually, life, itself, will pass. And I want to make the most of life, but when the depression comes, I can’t, which makes it doubly bad. Even when I’m feeling ok, there’s still this kind of constipated feeling. I really want to shuck off that predilection for depression, but somehow, strain as I might, I can’t get it to come out.

Carol's avatar

The older one gets, the less comforting the words.

Allie's avatar

Sure. It helps to remember that the bad day is just one bad day and that tomorrow will be another day. Eventually, I/you will get over whatever it is that is bringing me/you down. Sometime it helps to have a friend who snaps you back into the swing of things. I have a few of those. =)

loser's avatar

It sure isn’t working for me right now.

augustlan's avatar

I’m sorry to hear that, loser.

Allie's avatar

We got’cho back, L.

loser's avatar

Thanks, y’all!!!

philosopher's avatar

Yes because I have already survived a lot.

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