"Just Get Over It!" - A Guide to Moving On
You’ve probably heard it from someone close to you. Someone who, although caring for you deeply, has reached their limit, and can’t handle seeing you in the state you are right now.
Some call it self pity. Some call it depression. Whatever name it goes by, that you’ve reached a space where even those close to you find it hard to cope with your emotional state means you’re not doing OK.
It’s time to accept that fact.
It’s time to look at why you feel like this, and what you can do to get out of this hole.
“Just get over it” is the advice most close to us will provide.
But how? How can you be asked to switch off all of the pain?
The actual task of moving on is a difficult one, and there is no one size fits all approach. It’s glib in the extreme to assume that we can just switch off the turmoil in ourselves and suddenly be OK.
If you don’t know how to just get over it – its OK. There is not something wrong with you. How can you be expected to switch off your connection to something which mattered so profoundly to you for so long? How can you divorce yourself from the feelings you have right now?
“Getting over it” sounds easy – but how do you do go from where you are now, to where you need to be?
Whatever your situation, whatever got you where you are now and however you feel now, there is a process which can help.
Why Can't I Feel Better?
There’s a million things that can plunge us into a hole in life. The death of a loved one. A relationship breakdown. The end of a career.
Sometimes on the worst days you can’t even trace the origin of your feelings to any particular event. You just know it’s bad, and it needs to stop.
In that spirit then, this is a guide to “getting over it.” It doesn’t matter how you got here. All that matters is how you get out.Realise that this is a process. Although the speed at which you proceed through this process is up to you, a process it remains. Give yourself the space and time to go through this process. It’s OK to go backwards. You might even be halfway through it already – but respect the time it takes to care for yourself.
How to "Get over it!"
1. Accept that you are not OK.
Acknowledge the fact that you are not coping. Don’t try to hide from yourself. There is no harder person to fool in the world than you – and by trying you only hurt yourself – often physically with some sort of abuse – but always emotionally by denying the voice in yourself that is screaming out for help. To be heard. If a friend approached you and told you they felt the way you feel about yourself right now, would you ignore them? Of course not. Do not ignore yourself now.
2. But that it’s alright, because YOU have the power to change this.
There is no force in the world, no person, institution or government that can decide how you will feel. True, almost everyone will claim some sort of domain over you, and tell you what you can and cannot do. Most will try to put you in a situation that is to your detriment, simply to validate themselves and their own view of life. But only you will have the final say in how you respond to that. It’s the same with moving on. Own your ability to react to the world around you. Right now you’re hurting. But it’s only because you’ve decided to hurt. Own the power of that decision and realise that YOU can decide to feel better – bit by bit, about yourself.
3. Let yourself hurt.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but before you can decide to stop hurting, you need to allow yourself to feel the pain. Completely and utterly. Let yourself mourn for you and the situation you are in, and the loss you are feeling. Be your own best friend. Would a sincere friend be as hard on you now as you are being on yourself? I doubt it sincerely. Let yourself hurt. Comfort yourself. Be your own friend. Accepting the finality of the pain you feel is the first step in realising that every end is a beginning in disguise.
The bad news is that things have changed. That you will not be the same person again. That what you have lost may never come back.
The good news is that things have changed. That you will not be the same person again. That what you have lost has made room for what is to come.
4. But realise there is what hurts. And then there is what matters.
Look back through your memories. The positive ones. Sometimes in the confusion and pain of loss, we hold on to the pain we felt at the time of that loss – thinking it the same as what we loved. Recognise this is not the case. The pain for what you have lost is NOT the same as that which you have lost. Forget the pain. Remember what mattered.
5. Understand it’s not about forgetting what mattered.
It’s about how you remember. If something has affected you this badly, then you will – even if you want to – never ever really forget it. And you shouldn’t. Half of life is the lessons we learn on the way, and the first step in that process is deciding to own your memories and experiences. Deciding how to remember is as much about letting go of the pain associated with your memories as it is about remembering why it mattered so much in the first place.
6. Make peace with the past.
Realise that what happened then was as much a product of who you were as it was of the situation you were in. You’re not there now. You’re not even the same person. Maybe you conducted yourself shamefully, and it is the regret of that conduct you carry now. Be OK with your shortcomings. Everyone has them. You can’t change what’s happened. But you can change what WILL happen.
Life is a dirty business. You were never going to make it through without getting dirty. Decide now that you will occupy the present fully and completely by focusing on the future you will make, rather than live in the past, with the ghosts of your losses.
7. Give yourself time.
More than just waiting for time to pass, giving yourself time means allowing yourself the space to process what has happened – whatever it is. Give yourself the space to observe what has happened to you – or what you have done – from an external perspective. Seeing yourself through another’s eyes is a humbling experience. You are much harder on yourself than you need to be. Things are not anywhere near as bad as they feel when you see yourself from the eyes of another.
8. Know that how you feel is not who you are.
That you’re not doing OK does nothing to take away from the fact that YOU ARE OK! Great even! So often we conflate the way we feel with our ability to cope with a situation. I’m here to tell you that’s rubbish. However you feel about a situation has no bearing on your value as a human being. Feeling bad is no excuse to write yourself off. You retain all of the creative power and agency to change the world that the greatest people in history had.
You just need to remember that. I’m here to remind you of it. You matter.
Turning Weight Into Wisdom
After all that, sometimes it’s still not OK. Sometimes we do things in the heat of the moment, or in ignorance of the feelings of others that never can be taken back. Things that can never be made right.
You will carry this for the rest of your days.
Whether you carry the memory of this as a weight or as a wisdom is up to you.
That you can never make this right does not mean you cannot move on.
Converting the pain of error into wisdom is a process. It’s a process which is as much about giving yourself the time to let the knowledge of your mistake sink in, as it is about letting that knowledge coalesce into wisdom.
Once you’ve removed yourself from the pain enough to allow the knowledge of what you have done to sink in, it will take time for that knowledge to coalesce into wisdom.
Recognise that wisdom is the result of knowledge combined with time. Knowledge comes from experience. All experience dictates a level of involvement from you – and that involvement can get gloriously messy.
Life goes wrong as much as it goes right. Whichever way it goes though – it always goes on.
We’re All Just People. Tiny. Magnificent. Fragile.
There’s an underlying theme in this article: that you are a human being – fallible and capable of error – often to the detriment of others.
But that it takes nothing away from your value as a person. You can spend the rest of your days getting every single thing wrong.
But you’ll still be you. And you’ll still matter. Always.
Share your story of moving on here.
Did you succeed? How?
Did you fail? Why?
You are among friends.
And if you need help – please ask me. I’ll do my best to listen.