G Is for Get Over It

Though the term get over it has been used as early as 1839, it’s been a useful and oft-used buzzword since the early 90’s.  As part of my spiritual practice, I will be using it more.

I can be the politest and most compassionate person in the world, but at times when I am truly stressed, those things will fall away and I’ll go into survival mode.  I cannot at those times afford the extra weight of anyone pulling at me with mundane, non-urgent affairs.  I can try to keep carrying everyone–as I’ve learned on my spiritual path–or I can shuck off the excess, like shrugging out of heavy mantels or dense rucksacks.  There was a time when I insisted on lugging all that extra weight along with me instead of taking care of myself first.  It’s a lesson that re-asserts itself on occasion when I am stressed, though I am rarely stressed in the ways I used to be.    Sometimes, it seems all I have to do is say to family and certain friends that I have a once-in-a-lifetime event approaching that I’m really stressing about and, in the 24 hours before the event, every imaginable drama will take place where people are verbally demanding my attention on their petty squabbles rather than on getting through my own infrequent perilous gate.  It’s a lesson, yes, to admit to myself that I cannot do it all, at least not today, and something will have to wait or be passed by.

Recently, when I was dealing with a life or death situation (not mine) and barely able to spare the time for 4 hours of sleep a night, I was chided by a stranger for being late with a blog post.  The complaint brought me to a complete halt, like running hard past crowds and hearing one voice among the many that made me stop and whirl and say, “What????” 

“Get over it,” I snapped. 

Or maybe I should write that differently:  “Get over it.”  I snapped. 

 Because something in me did snap at that point. 

I believe it’s important for each of us to determine our priorities and stick to them.  We may not really realize that we can’t actually do everything we’ve either wanted to do or promised to do until we are so overwhelmed with work or life events that we have to choose what to do and what to let go.  We live in an instant-answer kind of world where an email that isn’t answered in a few hours or a text that isn’t answered immediately will get us an angry snipe in return or a guilt trip.  Suddenly we have to start distinguishing what’s a part of our priority and what will have to wait.   And if the lesser priority doesn’t like it, they can “get over it.”

But we need to get over things, too.  What happens when an incident or a comment upsets us?  It  can pull us away from our priorities, make us focus on something unimportant, pull us away from our path.  An old friend of mine used to give upsetting incidents (negative book reviews in her case) 5 minutes, during which she would scream and throw things.  Then she was done and moved on.  Another friend will allow herself to be upset or obsessive for 24 hours but no more.  These are ways they’ve come to deal with things that pull them off course because otherwise, they would both spend weeks retelling the same story and reliving the same anger or hurt.   It’s not that they forget…they just force themselves to move forward. 

To get over it.

They may not forgive it intentionally.  They may not remember it after a little while.  It’s not that they try to forgive or forget but they acknowledge the incident or emotion and then move forward.  It happened. The bell can’t be unrung.  In the big scheme of things, these incidences usually do not matter at all.  They’ve taken a step back to look at their priorities and what fits and what can fall away for now or until there is more time or inclination.  They choose to take care of those priorities first. 

And then, they get over it.