I find it frustrating when I hear or see the phrase “Get over it.” Not that it is necessarily bad advice in some situations such as moving on from past mistakes. However, most of the time, this phrase is used in a dismissive manner. “Life isn’t fair, get over it.” Really? We just need to accept, without question or discussion, inequity or abuses of authority? This is a lazy response to important questions.
The Serenity Prayer asks God to grant me “the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”
“Accepting the things we cannot change” does not mean that we should “get over” the things we cannot change. Instead, it is telling us that we cannot control everything. In fact, most things are out of our control, especially how other people behave. If we can accept that we are not in control, we can find peace.
We can take certain actions. We cannot change people who are acting badly, but we can do the right thing and hope that in doing so, it counteracts the bad behaviors of others.
Fr. Richard Rohr teaches us that “the best criticism of the bad, is the practice of the better.” Instead of “getting over it” or fighting fire with fire, which usually leads to division and furtherance of negativity, we can act for the positive. As Saint Francis of Assisi says “A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”
“Get over it.” No, I will not. While I am not in control of everything, I can be an agent of change. I may not always fight injustice and inequity, but I will also not ignore it or accept it. With the guidance of God, I will practice being a better person and doing what is right.
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
― St. Francis of Assisi