You encounter a setback or a loss. Someone, a well-meaning someone, tells you to “just get over it.” How can you? The quick answer is you don’t. (Well, I don’t.) What we do instead is move through the change model.
Let me unpack that well-meaning, albeit wrong, sentence.
“Just” is not a useful word to describe any emotion.
How many times have you heard, “I just want to thank you?” I have, too many times. If I’m in teacher/coach/consultant mode, I ask, “Okay, please do. You don’t have to use the “just” word.”
If I’m not in that mode, I thank the person. (That’s because the context is wrong for me to offer feedback.)
“Just” minimizes your experience and emotions. “Just” says, “Don’t pay attention to the rest of what I say. I don’t really mean it.” Except, people do mean it. Especially the thank you part. We don’t realize how the word “just” minimizes our receipt of that experience.
It’s even worse when someone says, “Just get over it.” What they might mean is, “I’ve gone through the change model and I have my transforming idea. You should use that transforming idea.”
That transforming idea works for that person. It might even work for you or me, once we are ready for it. It might take us a while to get to the point where we can see a transforming idea.
Instead of “getting over it,” maybe we need to find our next steps.
Here are some questions I’ve found useful when I want to find the next step.
- Am I ready to look ahead to something else? I might not be ready yet.
- How can I create an idea that helps me look ahead to something, instead of being stuck in the loss?
- If I have no ideas, what would my future look like I can create some ideas?
That third question might seem a little strange. I have found imagining the future state helps me generate alternatives to achieve that state. I might not stick with those ideas once I start. I might transform those alternatives. However, the imagining helps me imagine something other than the loss state.
Every setback or loss is different. When I didn’t sell a book idea to a publisher, I decided to self-publish it. I moved through the change model fast. I “got over” the disappointment of being rejected.
I’m still moving through the change model for my vertigo. My transforming ideas appear to have a shelf life. I need to adapt to my changing reality often. “Just get over it” doesn’t work at all—for my feelings and for my actions.
Instead, I find it useful to acknowledge my current reality. (I sometimes miss clues, and that’s because I’m human.) Then, I can generate some ideas and apply the experimental and growth mindset to create new possibilities.
Every so often, I need to imagine a future state that accounts for the loss. I can’t go backward. I can only go forward. Unless you have a time machine, that’s true for you, too.
That is the question this week: How can you “just” get over it?