Have you ever gotten caught in a downward spiral
because of a decision you had to make,
a plan that fell through,
or perhaps something someone said to you?
This past week, I was reminded of a memory from my younger years that speaks to this type of experience.
Why am I sharing this?
Perhaps it’s in perfect timing for a situation in your life, or simply a reminder of what you already know.
Here’s some context:
My dad is a man of few words. He was not one to get involved in my personal life and certainly didn’t feel comfortable talking about feelings, which was often confusing for me, being the sensitive soul that I was.
Nevertheless, when I was 20 years old, my dad taught me a very wise life strategy to deal with a seemingly downward spiral moment. It’s super simple and has an amazing way of bringing perspective to any tough time – immediately.
On this particular day, my dad shared this valuable technique during a painful moment that I was certain would drown me. (It may sound dramatic, but that’s how I experienced it). I had just broken off a relationship with an abusive boyfriend that I had felt a deep connection with. It was a soul-aching, past-life kind of connection that was… well, toxic. I knew it was the right decision, but I was heartbroken. It was a Sunday morning, and I had been sobbing for hours. Finally, my dad entered my bedroom and wrapped me in his arms. No words. Just love. No judgment. Just Love. Shortly after, my tears stopped flowing and my breathing returned to normal, and he said to me: “If you really think about it, will this matter to you in 5 years?”
The 5-Year Test seemed ridiculous and profound at the same time. I shook my head no and laughed a little, as I immediately saw how myopic my vision had been, weighed down by the heaviness of my emotions.
My point in sharing this with you is to show that when emotions and situations start to get the better of you, you can shift your focus with this refreshingly simple question: “Will this matter to me in 5 years?”
If the answer is yes, the person or situation may be worth fighting for. If the answer is no, you can loosen your grip on the situation and begin to focus your energy on what will matter in the long run.
If you want to take this simple process one step further for maximum impact, ask yourself, “Will this matter when I’m dead?” That may sound dramatic, but it’s very important that we choose our battles in life and only give our time and energy to what really matters. Everything is temporary. The good stuff and the not-so-good stuff. So, cherish the good and know that the tough times will not last forever.
The secondary takeaway from my dad’s example is that when people are hurting, it’s not a matter of what you say or how you say it. It’s simply a matter of showing up for them. Plain and simple.
How will you use this information in your life? I’d love to hear. Let me know in the comments below.
P.S If this message would inspire someone you know, please pass it on!