Sometimes, when life looks bleak or problems seem too heavy to handle, it helps to turn to time-tested advice. I often do. Among my favorite words of wisdom are these—I hope they help you in your time of need, too.
When someone hurts you:
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.” But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
—Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet)
When you are unwell:
Live in rooms full of light
Avoid heavy food
Be moderate in the drinking of wine
Take massage, baths, exercise, and gymnastics
Fight insomnia with gentle rocking or the sound of running water
Change surroundings and take long journeys
Strictly avoid frightening ideas
Indulge in cheerful conversation and amusements
Listen to music.
—A. Cornelius Celsus (Roman medical writer)
When you’re stuck for a solution:
No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.
When a loved one is away:
Missing someone gets easier every day because even though it’s one day further from the last time you saw each other, it’s one day closer to the next time you will.
When you face failure:
Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than I was and began diverting all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.
—J.K. Rowling, Harvard Commencement Address, 2008