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"It is what it is." Saturday May 6, 2017

How many times have you heard this saying? I hear it all the time and usually it's a throwaway comment about trivial things like the weather. Yet it has become so much more than a throwaway comment for me. It has developed into a bit of a mantra. I realised that this simple yet, powerful statement of only five small words can really stop me in my tracks when negative thoughts start flooding in or if I'm wishing I had a different... life, job, body, bank balance, relationship (delete as appropriate).

Saying "It is what it is" to myself can ground me within seconds. It allows me some space between my thoughts and my feelings and immediately gives me some much needed perspective if I start dwelling on painful memories or worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future. I find it calming if I'm feeling mentally out of control or more practically if I'm stuck in traffic or when I find the TV remote in the fridge (as happened recently when I wasn't feeling completely together - but that's another story!).

Whenever my negative thoughts are working against me and I'm on a downward spiral of toxic thoughts, saying this out loud helps me remember that things are what they are, right now, this very second. It's not to say it can't and won't be different in five minutes or longer term, but right now, in this present moment I am experiencing what I'm meant to be experiencing.

It is true that when things get particularly bleak, even these five little words can so easily be forgotten, lost in the fog that is depression, but hanging onto something as simple as "It is what it is" can help give you a little head space - until the next thought comes along anyway. So I invite you to make these five little words your mantra. Give it a try because... "It is what it is".

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Molly Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 1:43am

Totally agree with this post Sue. It's about acceptance isn't it. Accepting the way things are. It does help. We haven't done this and that, said this or that, worrying ourselves silly ....but it's just another day, and as you say 'it is what it is' takes the pressure off..... :-) xx

LP Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 4:06am

Hi Sue,
I totally agree. Thank you for your calming reminder. Wishes for prace of mind to all LP xx

Sally Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 5:19am

I agree. I first remember hearing the phrase 4 years ago, & thinking "how very sensible". It was fitting to the situation. I like the acceptance part of the statement. Pressure off. Phew!
In today's topsy- turvy, hectic world, where headspace is hard to come by, how refreshing to be given that throwaway mantra, which allows for flexibility ,as opposed to rigidity.
Thank you, Sue. A nice one. I will put this mantra in my "store".

Leah Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 6:26am

Thanks for your blog.
Great minds think alike- I had these 5 words on a list of topics for blogs. I am glad you wrote it as I had a slightly less than positive take on It is what it is.
I thought it was a throw away line when people don't want to change or help you or are too tired to change things.
Maybe it is a cultural thing and is different in my country or maybe it is me!!
I had not thought of it is positive terms like you have.
I will reflect on this . Thanks again

Hopeful One Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 7:38am

Hi Sue- thanks for those five words which ground us in the present implying in them a tacit state of acceptance which is the doorway through which we must all pass for healing to start.. I created a slightly different version for myself - " Things are as they are' which apart from an element acceptance also allows me to be non judgemental another ingredient to stop us from developing negative thoughts. And when something completely unexpected happens in my life ( usually a negative event like my wife's Alzheimers ) I say 'Stuff Happens' borrowed from a previous US Secretary of State whose name escapes me. He was pilloried( as the US was judged heartless for it at the time ) as one of the US air strikes in Afghanistan missed its target and killed many civilians. I think what he really meant ( and I am not by any means condoning what happened) is that they took all the precautions in their power but the unthinkable and unexpected happened.

Today's laugh....

An Oxymoron is defined as a phrase in which two words of opposite meanings are brought together....
Here are some funny Oxymorons :
1) Clearly Misunderstood
2) Exact Estimate
3) Small Crowd
4) Act Naturally
5) Found Missing
6) Fully Empty
7) Pretty Ugly
8) Seriously Funny
9) Only Choice
10) Original Copies
11) Open Secret
12) Tragic Comedy
13) Foolish Wisdom
14) Liquid Gas

Mother of all Oxymorons is-

15) "Happily Married".

With thanks to my friend Kishor who sent me these but I think added the last one withhis tongue in his cheek.

Isabella Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 7:54am

My mantra is 'nothing bad will happen today', but I have often felt I need a slightly more positive one - I like 'it is what it is'' - thank you, I shall have a go at using it. I use chanting to clear my mind too, (lots on You Tube) - mantras and chants - designed to have some control over your mind - tell it what to do, not the other way round!

Marmaladegirl Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 8:37am

Hi Sue - I enjoyed reading your blog with its wise words. Struggling and railing against things that we have no control over anyway makes us feel worse and your five little words are so helpful with acceptance (and as Molly and Sally say above, acceptance is key). "What we resist persists" - I was once told this and I find it helpful as part of letting go. Have a good day everyone! MG

P.S. Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on my blog, "Invisible", yesterday. I have responded to all the comments now (I think!) as they were all so powerful they deserved an individual comment back! MG

The Gardener Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 9:12am

Oh HO! One that drives me mad is qualifying 'unique', worst, 'quite' unique. And we are due for a month of daftness as the media searches for something new to say, and fill all those hours. Over here - we are into extreme pettiness and rudeness, plus hacking - one of these characters will have our life in their hands, probably. We are a 'sandwich' French/English elections and the increasingly vitriolic Brexit. Any morning depression was alleviated - heard dripping in the night, went back to sleep. This morning had to paddle through my beautiful new bathroom - gardened the terrace and did not notice drain blocked by rubbish - put plastic bucked under down-pipe to collect precious rain-water and had to paddle through water up to my ankles in an inadequate nightie. HO 'Stuff happens' Mr G is an oxymoron? No, just bloody-minded - wants things to do - all suggestions met with the impossibility of doing anything, and his wicked wife insists on doing things, like mopping up floods. 'Che sera sera' (just love Italian).

Sarah Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 9:24am

Wow - thanks so much Sue, reading this has really resonated with me and I can feel my shoulders dropping and anxiety easing already. The younger me would have read your blog and fought it in my head, thinking 'But if I just do this, things can change' and not accepting that sometimes, you can do everything right, you can try your absolute hardest, and things still don't work out how you would have ideally liked them to. I will definitely be saying 'it is what it is' a lot more times in my head now and feeling a lot calmer and happier in myself for it. Thank you for making a difference with your beautifully written blog.

Another Sally Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 9:27am

This mantra will serve me well over the coming weeks and months. My home life has suffered changes recently and there is no telling what the outcome will be. It is what is is, will get me through each day. Thank you everyone for wise comments.
Thank you especially TG for sharing the troubles you have with Mr G. I can be thankful that, no matter what my home situation is at the moment, I have no one railing against me in the same way. Bless you and I hope you can make the most of your respite time. The photo of the garden a few posts ago was beautiful.

E Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 11:05am

What you are describing sounds to me very like what Mindfulness is all about. The only point I would take issue with is when you write,

"in this present moment I am experiencing what I'm meant to be experiencing."

Why the imperative? Why were you MEANT to think those particular thoughts at that particular time? Suggests a certain inevitability about it all don't you think? Why not, "in this present moment I am experiencing what I am experiencing" after all it is what it is.

Tracy Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 12:35pm

I had exactly the same thought on this! I think it's a good phrase to use that could help you stay present and non-judgmental, as with mindfulness, but my mind immediately balked at the same line you mention for the same reason. But perhaps Sue didn’t mean to imply that? But I agree with you that the phrase doesn’t sit well when you add an imperitative to it.

The librarian Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 3:28pm

Interesting post, Sue. For years, long before I knew about Mindfulness, I've been saying "I am here, this is now."

All the best

Sue Sat, May 6th 2017 @ 8:20pm

Thank you all for your comments on my first blog. I'm pleased that it has been well received. It is great to hear that whilst the mantras may be slightly different there are others to use and I will certainly be using some of the your suggestions too.

E & Tracy, thanks for highlighting and challenging me on the word "meant". Having read it through again I much prefer your suggestion of "in this present moment I am experiencing what I am experiencing". Note to self.

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