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  • Writer's pictureElfreda Manahan-Vaughan

Five Sayings to Get You Through the Hard Times

At some point in our lives we have had someone say something that suddenly put what we were experiencing in perspective. As a coach and trainer, I regularly share sayings to help clients and students to understand either their experience or to give them greater understanding of the topic I am teaching, from Mindfulness to Stress Management. There are a number of sayings I use on myself too and I want to share them with you here. You may already know some of them, but I am hoping if you do this will act as a pleasant reminder, especially if you are faced with a challenge, at the moment.

It Is What it Is

This phrase is often used in modern teachings of the Buddhist Four Noble Truths. The actual origin in print, is in the Nebraska State Journal in 1949 and is attributed to J. E Lawrence, according to the New York Times. The reason it is used in Buddhism and Mindfulness is to demonstrate the importance of seeing things as they are and not falling into the trap of two of the Five Hindrances of Meditation, Grasping and Aversion. When you take things at face value without adding to them with your own story of woe then, you can let go of things easily or find a solution. I often tell the story of a broken cup when I’m teaching. A broken cup, is just that, a broken cup, but for some people it can be much more. It can be the cup ‘you broke on purpose even though you knew my grandmother gave to me for my 10th birthday and now I will never have another one like it’. These kind of reactions, can stay with us for hours even days and often have a negative impact on our relationships with others. Being able to accept it as it is and let it go, frees us from the second Noble Truth, the cause of suffering, craving or attachment.

That Which You Resist Persists and Grows Stronger

The first time I heard this saying was in a book by Ariel and Shya Kane, Working on Yourself, which I have written about in previous blog posts. I love this saying as it reminds you that the more you push against what you don’t want the harder things will become. It also links to the Five Hindrances of Meditation and more specifically, Aversion. The more we try to stop things from being the way they are the worse they often become. It’s like trying to stop your thoughts, you can’t, you can only redirect your thinking into something more useful. If you’ve ever been on a diet and gave something up and then found yourself stuffing your face with the very thing you’ve been trying to avoid then, you know exactly what this saying means.

Where Your Attention Flows Your Energy Goes

I am guessing by now you are seeing a pattern here. The above saying I was reminded of when attending training with Dr. Joe Dispenza. When we continually focus on our problems or keep looking back at what has gone wrong or forward to what we think might go wrong we miss out on what is happening right in front of us. If we invest all our energy in feeling bad, worrying, complaining or feeling helpless then it’s only natural there isn’t a whole lot of energy left for anything else. In NLP we talk about ‘Present State, to Desired State’, if you focus on what you want, rather than what you don’t want then you are more likely to spot the opportunities that will get you what you want when they come along. If you focus on what is wrong, you’ll just get more of the same. If you get up in the morning and decide you are having a bad day then, you are more likely only to notice all the negative experiences and very likely to dismiss or delete the fact that you have had lots of positive experiences too.

Cells that Fire Together, Wire Together

This next phrase is a simplified version of Hebbian Law. Basically, what it means is that connections made between cells are continually strengthened over time through repetition and habit. It’s like walking through a grass field and eventually creating a mud path. Habits in thinking make strong connections and so if we think negatively then we reinforce beliefs we have about the world and ourselves. Telling yourself you are no good at something, or that you can’t do something or repeatedly telling yourself that you are unlucky, that life is hard or that ‘this is just the way I am’ become self-fulfilling prophecies and, much like the previous saying, you will use confirmation bias to prove that it is true. In NLP we talk about Deletions, Distortions and Generalizations. These are the missing ingredients when someone states a belief about themselves that is not true but because they believe it is true, they have lots of proof to back it up because they have deleted, distorted or generalised the truth. Students are great at this, ‘I am no good at Maths, ‘I can’t draw’ and so on.

This Too Shall Pass

This last one I know you probably all have heard but it’s worth including it because it links with all the earlier ones. Things never stay the same for long. Time moves on, we learn new things, we grow as a person, our tastes change, and problems somehow always seem to resolve themselves. However, if we are caught in a cycle of pessimistic thinking then we often see things as permanent, pervasive and personal. I’ve mentioned this before in my writing about the work of Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology. When we are optimistic we realize that things change quickly, just because one area of your life has problems doesn’t mean every area has, and you are not always the reason things are the way they are.

If life is the way it is, and you give up resisting what is happening and give attention to things you want, knowing that the more positive habits you create, the stronger the neural pathways in your brain then, it is easy to see how your problems too shall pass.

Thanks for reading. If you are interested in my coaching or training then get in touch, 00353868373582, or via PM.

I hope our paths cross again in future,


Mind Coach, Meditation Instructor

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