This Too Shall Pass: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
May 13, 2023

"This too shall pass" is a common idiom used in both casual and formal conversations to express the idea that difficult or unpleasant situations are temporary and will eventually improve. This phrase often serves as a form of comfort or reassurance during challenging times.

In short:

"This too shall pass" is an encouraging reminder that difficult situations are not permanent and will eventually improve.

What Does "This Too Shall Pass" Mean?

The idiom is often used as a comforting phrase to imply that all hardships, no matter how severe, are temporary. People commonly use it during times of stress or hardship to remind themselves or others that circumstances will eventually change for the better.

  • Used to offer comfort and reassurance
  • Reminds us that hardships are temporary

This phrase can be used in a wide array of situations, from personal struggles to wider societal issues, emphasizing the transient nature of all things.

Where Does "This Too Shall Pass" Come From?

The saying "This too shall pass" reminds us that everything in life, both good and bad, doesn't last forever.  The phrase originated in Persian literature, appearing in writings as early as the 12th century, and spread from there. The phrase became well-known in the West when English poet Edward Fitzgerald retold a Persian story in the 1800s. Also, Abraham Lincoln, who later became the 16th US President, used it in a speech.

Historical Example

"And this, too, shall pass away. How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!"

- President Abraham Lincoln, 1859

10 Examples of "This Too Shall Pass" in Sentences

Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:

  • I can't thank you enough for listening. I'm sure this, too, shall pass.
  • Although your heart is heavy now, this too shall pass.
  • I hope all is well with you. I know it's tough, but this, too, shall pass.
  • The pain you're feeling is intense, but this, too, shall pass.
  • I’m glad to hear that you’re keeping a positive attitude. Remember, this too shall pass.
  • Financial hardships are tough, but remember, this, too, shall pass.
  • Despite the difficulties we're facing now, this too shall pass.
  • Just checking in to say this too shall pass, and we'll see better days ahead.
  • Remember in the midst of this crisis that this too shall pass.
  • I feel you. But remember, this too shall pass.

Examples of "This Too Shall Pass" in Pop Culture

The phrase often appears in music, film, and literature, serving as a potent reminder of the transient nature of all things, both good and bad.

Some examples include:

  • "This Too Shall Pass" is a song by the American rock band OK Go.
  • "This Too Shall Pass" is a 2019 romance novel by Shantanu Jain.
  • "This Too Will Pass: Anxiety in a Professional World" is a 2018 memoir by Richard Martin.

Other/Different Ways to Say "This Too Shall Pass"

There are several alternative expressions that convey a similar sentiment to "this too shall pass."

Some of these include:

  • It's just a matter of time
  • Nothing lasts forever
  • It won't last
  • Things will get better
  • This is temporary

These alternatives can be used interchangeably depending on the context and the level of encouragement or reassurance needed.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "This Too Shall Pass"

  • Is "this too shall pass" a religious phrase?

"This too shall pass" is not directly tied to a particular religion, but it is often used in spiritual or philosophical contexts due to its message about the transient nature of life's difficulties.

  • Can you use the phrase in a professional setting?

Yes, "this too shall pass" can be used in a professional setting, especially during challenging times or periods of change within the organization.

  • Can "this too shall pass" be seen as dismissive of someone's struggles?

While the phrase is generally intended to offer comfort, it can potentially be seen as dismissive if not used carefully. It's important to acknowledge someone's feelings and struggles before reminding them that their hardship is temporary.

  • Can the phrase be used to comfort oneself?

Yes, "this too shall pass" is often used as a self-reminder during personal hardships, reinforcing the belief that difficult times are temporary.

  • Is "this too shall pass" only applicable to negative situations?

No, "this too shall pass" can apply to both negative and positive situations, highlighting the temporary and changing nature of all life experiences.

  • Can you use the phrase when comforting a child?

Yes, "this too shall pass" can be used when comforting a child, though it may require some explanation to help them understand the concept of temporariness.

  • Can "this too shall pass" be seen as pessimistic?

While "this too shall pass" acknowledges the hardships in life, its overall message is one of hope and resilience, making it generally more optimistic than pessimistic.

  • Can the phrase be used in mental health contexts?

Yes, "this too shall pass" is often used in mental health contexts to encourage resilience and hope during difficult times. However, it's important to use it sensitively, as it should not replace professional help when needed.

  • Can "this too shall pass" apply to global events?

Yes, "this too shall pass" can apply to global events, such as pandemics or economic crises, reminding us that such events, while severe, are not permanent.

  • Is "this too shall pass" an idiom or a proverb?

"This too shall pass" is often classified as a proverb because it expresses a general truth or piece of advice based on common sense or experience.

Final Thoughts About "This Too Shall Pass"

In conclusion, the idiom "this too shall pass" is a timeless and universal expression that captures the impermanence of all life's experiences, both good and bad. It serves as a powerful reminder of the transient nature of everything around us, providing comfort, resilience, and perspective in the face of adversity.

Key aspects of the phrase:

  • Offers comfort during difficult times
  • It reminds us of the impermanence of all situations
  • Appropriate for both personal and professional contexts

While the phrase is versatile and widely applicable, it's crucial to use it empathetically and judiciously. "This too shall pass" can provide comfort and perspective, but it's equally important to acknowledge and address the present struggles, whether they are ours or those of others.

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