When people say I wish things could have been different, do they actually mean it?
I've been in situations where the person is simply trying to free themselves of responsibility for a bad situation by using this phrase to say they had the best of intentions. But I've also heard this said by someone where the circumstances were completely out of their control, and they're sincerely apologizing for their inability to change a bad situation.
You have to judge it by the particular situation. In most cases, the person who says this can't help you or won't, and the bad situation is left to you to address.
It is person-dependent and situation-dependent how different people would react to the statement, "this too shall pass." Some people might take it casually while others might mean it more literally. There is no harm in having wishes of that sort because it give them the feelings that their situation is not permanent and will eventually end.
However, there are actors who would say the statement but not actually mean it in their real lives. People like me would also restrain ourselves because we believe that "whatever happens is right for me and is the wish of the Almighty."
The majority of people have problematic lives one way or the other. For them, I would say the sentence is helpful because they actually mean it, and even more than that. Thanks for reading the above.