“Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go.”
Nothing Lasts Forever
The only constant in life is change. No matter where I am, everything around me is continually altering.
When I go outside, the temperature is different from when I ran in the morning to the time I walked in the afternoon.
This type of change applies to everything in life.
Even the house I live in will eventually change – whether it’ll be decomposed into small particles or renovated into a new building. And in terms of feelings and emotions, there will inevitably be times of sadness and joy.
For example, when I go on backpacking trips, I experience a sense of adventure. By enduring the long and strenuous hikes, I gain a sense of accomplishment. In addition, I get to see new and beautiful landscapes.
Deep down, I know this journey will come to an end and I will return home eventually. However, I don’t let that bring me down. Instead, it allows me to enjoy my vacation even more, by fullying plunging myself into the experience.
The opposite is also true.
I’ve had feelings of discomfort and pain during my hiking trips. For every steep hill climb, I know there’s an endpoint. A place where it flattens out and I will have time for recovery. As a result, I embrace the struggle and put in my best effort to enjoy the tough challenge. Truly understanding nothing lasts forever empowers me to do the following:
Show gratitude and appreciate the happy moments
Embrace the dark times
The Law of Impermanence
Everything (things, people, feelings, etc.) are impermanent. They will eventually fade away. Fully comprehending this fact, there’s no need to cling to anything.
It’s against our natural instinct to let go of things we desire. That’s what makes it so difficult to do. Since deep down, we don’t want to believe nothing lasts forever.
We tend to wish for feelings of sadness to dissipate, while we want joyful moments to last for an eternity. However, they are both necessary for you to experience the full human experience.
Without the lows, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish the highs. Going through the valleys, you’ll learn to have a greater level of appreciation for the peaks.
Thinking that “This too shall pass” works in both ways.
If you’re currently in a wonderful place, chances are high it will end. And in times of joy, you know that feeling will also eventually be gone. Therefore, to fully embrace happiness is to completely immerse yourself in it.
On the contrary, if you’re in a dark place such as a crisis, know that it’s not eternal. You can smile understanding there’s light at the end of the tunnel. At some point, this part of your life will dissipate. Believing the good times are ahead, you can learn to honor the struggle.
Avoid Cravings and Aversions
Naturally, we seek comfort because of our desire to live as long as possible. Therefore, we tend to want more pleasurable moments and start to build cravings for them.
And on the contrary, because of our desire for safety, we despise discomfort. Due to the unenjoyable feeling, we begin to build aversions for times of hardship. We do all we can to avoid pain and suffering.
We numb ourselves with external substances for instant gratification. When we experience discomfort, we stop immediately and back away. However, it’s in those struggling moments we grow the most.
For example, when you exercise and push yourself beyond your current capability, you will feel uncomfortable. This is especially true when you lift heavier weights than you’re used to. During those last few reps, you’ll feel extremely tired and physically drained. But if you can push through, you will break down the muscle tissues in that particular body part. And with proper rest and nutrition, those same muscle fibers can be rebuilt to make you stronger.
There’s a fine line between pain (sharp feeling) and discomfort.
Chasing a comfortable and safe life is unadventurous. A journey without trials and tribulations isn’t worth living. Instead, pursuing a meaningful life is.
Inevitably, you will have times of mishap and moments of victory. It’s the valleys that make you appreciate the peaks. But understanding nothing is permanent, you learn to value each precious moment, positive or negative.
If life were a constant state of enjoyment, there would be no contrast. It would be a straight or an upward line.
The beautiful experience of life is to have both the unavoidable ups and downs. It’s designed for you to feel all the emotions life has to offer.
The most difficult thing to do is to fully embrace the present moment.
When we take time off from our job to enjoy ourselves, instead of appreciating our self-love, we tend to think about everything but our vacation. This could include work-related activities or things we need to do after we get back home.
However, when we are working; we think about the opposite. We dream about our next trip or spending time away from home. By doing so, we miss the most valuable gift of all – the moment we currently have. That’s the only thing which is guaranteed.
Although chances are high that tomorrow will always be there. But in reality, that’s not absolute.
Anything can happen between now and then.
Change is inescapable. What you’re experiencing will be gone sooner or later. Therefore, treasure what you love and make peace when it’s gone. Also, power through the struggles knowing there’ll be an end.
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