A king gave his wise men a challenge. “Create a ring that will make me happy when I am sad.”
The wise men succeeded. It was a plain ring with an inscription etched into the metal. It read, “This too shall pass.”
During times of hardship, the king would notice the inscription. It would remind him that hardships always pass, even when things seem hopeless. He would stop worrying and appreciate life rather than spending all his energy trying to fix problems.
But of course, the ring had an opposing effect as well. Whenever he felt jubilant, the ring reminded him that joyful circumstances change as well. Nothing lasts forever.
I used to hate this kind of story. It left me feeling empty. It drained my energy. Trying hard seems pointless if nothing lasts.
But today, I am a wiser man. If I was appointed to the King’s council of advisors, this is what I would tell him.
“Your Majesty, your wise men spoke the truth with this etching. Yet there is more to be said. While circumstances always pass, the strength of your will can endure. When you choose a purpose for your life, your steadfast pursuit of that purpose can remain a source of joy in both good times and bad.”
In other words, make your life about something worthwhile. Choosing to do so gives you an anchor of strength and joy. You can even pledge allegiance to a cause that will persist beyond your life. Achieving some end is not the goal. Living your life in full pursuit of what you truly believe in…that is the goal.
During an argument with your partner, you may feel as if the love between you disappears. This can be disconcerting.
Some women have asked me what it means about the relationship. “If we truly love each other, shouldn’t that feeling of love persist even in the middle of a fight?”
Love did not disappear. You just stopped feeling it for a short time. The feeling of being in love was suppressed while defending yourself in battle mode.
When the feeling of love is temporarily suppressed, don’t panic. Remember the words, “This too shall pass.” This will prevent you from doing or saying things you later regret. But there’s something more.
Love is something inside of you. It is a part of who you are. When you choose to love someone, it is an act of your will. Love is an active choice, not just a feeling.
Some people look for love “out there” as if it is something to be discovered. I believe love is a part of who you are. When you choose to love, you are bringing to life the choice you have made about what matters to you in this life.
Relationships will always have ups and downs. Work hard to improve your relationship, but don’t let the circumstances of the moment define your happiness.
Focus instead on your chosen purpose in life. Choose a purpose that brings you joy.
Always on your side,