You’ve said it to others, “You just have to get over it”. You’ve thought it to yourself, “Why can’t I just get over this?. You’ve also judged or criticized yourself and others for not getting over it. The honest truth about the get over it mentality is that we don’t get over it, we get through it.
I’ll say that again, we don’t ‘get over it’, we get through it.
There’s a huge difference between get over it and get through it. By making one small perspective change from ‘through’ VS ‘over’ you can make one huge shift.
Have you thought about Over VS Through before? If not, stick with me. If so, stick with me anyway, allow yourself to think deeper about it.
Those who maintain the mentality that in order to heal from a negative experience you need to get over it they will continue to stay stuck in and activated by that negative experience. Focusing on getting over it keeps your brain focused on a black and white process in which it’s either on it, or over it. One cannot apply a grey area topic to a black and white process; the brain will only become confused. And the brain doesn’t like to be confused.
In order to ‘get over it’ your brain has to think about ‘it’.
When the human brain thinks about the negative experience and is commanded to get over it that often has an affect the physical body such as, anxiety, fear, isolation, engaging in addictive habits in an attempt to calm the activation. The brain gets confused and in order to maintain order and survive it finds a way to ‘solve the problem’ by compartmentalizing or storing the negative experience in a place to be dealt with later. The brain cannot use a black and white process to solve a grey area topic; at least in a healthy way it can’t.
If you maintain the mentality that you must get over it in order to stop the emotional and physical activation, you will never get over it. You will only manage to cause your brain to store the experience somewhere in your brain which will inevitably strengthen your brain and body’s response to thoughts of the negative experience. Understand?
What does ‘getting over it’ look like?
People will answer that question by telling me things like, “I will let it go and forget about it”, “It won’t bother me anymore”, “It will stop happening to me”, “I will be happy”. By the time people find me in the counseling office they’ve likely tried everything in order to get over it; via the self-help section, mentally burying ‘it’, ignoring ‘it’ by distracting themselves by staying busy, using drugs or alcohol, and so on. By the time they get to me they are exhausted and desperate emotionally and physically, begging me to help them get over it.
The fact is, and everyone knows this, whether you admit it or not, one can’t really ignore ‘it’ very long. The longer one avoids, the harder ‘it’ will attempt to expose itself; upping the intensity as time goes on. Eventually ‘it’ wins….every time.
The best way to approach ‘it’ is to shift your mentality from getting over it to getting through it.
The truth is, the mentality of getting over it leaves one with little control over the healing process. Shifting ones mindset to getting through it allows one to feel empowered, and eventually in control of the process.
Oftentimes (I hesitate to say every time, but more often than not it’s every time) in order to gain control, we need to let go of control. Shift from getting over it to getting through it by allowing ‘it’ to come out of hiding. Feel the emotions that come with ‘it’ and lean into the process of going through those emotions.
Yes, it’s true, it will likely feel more difficult getting through those feelings and emotions; but if you stick with it and keep leaning in, it WILL get easier and it WILL be worth it.
As a result of shifting you mindset to getting through it you won’t think about ‘it’ with such intense, uncontrollable, scary emotions like you used to. You don’t have to stay busy in order to avoid, you can relax. You find yourself looking at the negative experience from a new perspective that considers silver linings and growth opportunities. You recognize ‘it’ is something that you will never forget, but ‘it’ is something that will have less control over you.
Does getting through it sound like something you’re willing to try?
It will likely sound inviting to you if you’re exhausted enough from trying everything else. I suggest hiring a professional counselor to help guide you through the process of getting through it. It helps to have someone on your side holding you accountable to yourself and validating the painful emotions you might feel as you lean in.
This new perspective applies to EVERYONE, including teens. Parents, you can set your kids up for success if you start talking to them about and supporting them in getting through it rather than getting over it.