We’ve all heard those annoying clichés people throw at us when we are feeling down, and most of us scoff at the ignorance of the people who say them. “What do they know about how I’m feeling?” But is there more to these sayings than simply sounding trite? Let’s take a look at some of those cliché terms now.
Many of the clichés we’ve come to know actually have a basis in religious doctrine, so I want to begin with a quick discussion of religion.
The basic principles of all religions revolve around the end of suffering. Each religion offers its own guidelines for how to create a peaceful life, and a peaceful world. Some of these guidelines are alike, some are unique and most are easily misinterpreted. It is up to the individual to rid these guidelines [or teachings] of thousands of years worth of misinterpretations. Only then will he or she discover his or her own true path to living a peaceful life.
“It is what it is.”
This isn’t a simple shrugging off of your feelings. When people say this, it often comes across crass – “Well, there’s nothing you can do about it, so get over it.” And we often feel hurt, because whatever this situation is to us, it is causing us pain. It seems like the person just doesn’t care, doesn’t it? Putting that person aside for a moment, though, let’s look at the saying itself. (Because this person may not care about you or your feelings; OR this person may love you dearly.)
So what does it mean? Accept the current moment. Accept the situation, however good or bad it is. Accept your contribution to the atmosphere of the current moment. Accept your ability to change future moments by learning from this moment.
If you can fix this problem, then fix it. That should really go without saying. but if you can’t fix it, use it. Use it as a learning experience. Use it as motivation for something else you will do in life. Sit with your hurt for a moment. Fully feel it (don’t push it away). Then get up, and get moving.
“The past is the past.”
You cannot change the past. Accept it for what it is. The easiest way to do this is to understand what you have learned from the past. Accept it, but do not forget it. Your feelings, thoughts, and actions of the past are what created the current moment. If the current moment is unsatisfactory, don’t “beat yourself up about it.” Anything you did to land you in this situation is all now in the past. You are not necessarily the same person you were when you did whatever brought you here. You probably aren’t even the same person you were three minutes ago.
Accept the past. Accept the present. Learn from both. The future is not set in stone. The only way to change the future us by taking action in the present moment, based on what you’ve learned from the past.
“You can’t take it with you.”
Our belongings have nothing to do with who we are. They are merely a reflection of our likes and dislikes. And, of course, our likes and dislikes are only a reflection of our interaction with the world around us. The true essence of our interaction does not need “things.” A person who is paralyzed, deaf, mute, and blind still has an essence – a soul. Without certain “things” a person’s body may die, but their essence lives on – be it in spirit, reincarnation, or simply in memory.
When our bodies die we cannot take out belongings with us. It is said that the rich can be just as unhappy as everyone else – and sometimes even more so. “Everyone else” can be happy to work toward accumulating those “things” that make life easier and more enjoyable. They can be overjoyed when they get them. The rich have already had it all. They know what it is to have all they need and more and, yet, they still experience unhappiness. That is because things are not important to the soul.
A perfect life is the life of a person who acknowledges and accepts life’s imperfections.