I am officially calling 2017 The Year of What Is. So, what does this mean exactly? Think of the saying: “It Is What It Is.” For years, I didn’t like this saying because I thought it was a way of sweeping things under the rug. I thought it was a shrug of the shoulders and the allowing of something to pass by that maybe should be addressed, understood or discussed. I found that friends, family, people I look up to- would all use the phrase when they felt like something was out of their control or couldn’t be fixed, changed etc. When I think deeper about this now, I think the reason I didn’t like the saying stems from my own inability to believe that some things are just what they are. You cannot change them. Whether it was something that happened to you, a relationship with someone in your life or an outcome to something you wish had been different. It’s not what you want it to be- It is what it is.
In a recent conversation with a friend, we got to talking about certain situations in our own lives currently that rather than trying to understand and fight, that we needed to accept and understand that these things can’t be what we want them to be. They are going to be what they are.
*THIS WAS SUCH A HUGE MOMENT FOR ME*
Are you following me here?
I don’t know why or how, but in that moment the saying meant more to me than it ever had. “It Is What It Is,” is not a shrugging of the shoulders, rather, it’s the acceptance that something cannot become what you want it to be just because you want it to be that way or because you want to understand it. In a relationship that means a lot to you, in circumstances at work/home, something you really want for yourself, the lose of a loved one, the pain of a past experience- it is WHAT IS. However- the thing we are able to control in this experience, is our reaction to it. How we proceed with our feelings and the way we view it (the friendship, job, argument, relationship, shortcoming, failure, pain), is up to us. You can’t always change “it,” but you can change the way you feel about it.
I’ve always been one of those people who tried to help change others, if I felt like they needed “fixing.” Whether it was an old boyfriend, troubled friend, a coworker- the therapist in me was always at work trying my best to be there for that person and often offered 2nd, 3rd, 4th chances in the pursuit of trying to understand them and help them become a better person. Some might say I was doing that to feed some of my own ego, and that while I was trying to help them, there was some gain I was trying to obtain for myself. I won’t argue that- I know it has felt good to know you would have contributed to someones happiness or self-discovery, so I won’t say this is too far off track. But I can say, that “fixing” others, or helping them change for what you think is best, is exhausting. This is why accepting WHAT IS is so important. Even with the best intentions, putting so much energy into trying to help, understand, or change someone else or situations only depletes the energy you’re giving back to yourself… and I am finally beginning to understand that.
So I am saying 2017 is the Year of What Is, but I plan on moving forward with the idea that I can’t always control or understand things, but than I can control how I view them and how I allow them to effect me. As someone who has a strong faith and often turns to prayer for solace, comfort and direction, I think this is a strong tool to help these feelings and understanding that you won’t always be able to control the outcome.
I hope this makes sense– maybe it even enlightened some of your thoughts too! If so, please let me know in the comments and I will reply shortly after.
Happy 2017 to all of you!.. best wishes for a healthy new year and accepting what is.
Photo cred: I took this photo of the beautiful “Liberty Bell Church” on Hamilton St, Allentown Pennsylvania from my office.