Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.
Today’s three word sentence – “Deal with it.” – came from the retired pastor of my church, Pastor Jack Freed, whose blog Jack’s Winning Words I read daily. I asked Jack to help me think of three word phrases that I might want to write about that have life meanings. His list is challenging, but good material to work with and you will see more of them in the future.. Today’s phrase is oft accompanied by the corollary, “Get over it.”
Whatever “it” is the point is to take it on, not to let it just fester or grow in your mind. Life throws us all sorts of curve balls, some pleasant and some sad and many just surprises that we have to deal with. The secret is not to get frustrated or let these events get you down, but to develop the ability to take them on, assess what they mean and formulate a plan to deal with it.
Dealing with things that hit us is easier if we don’t let them initially overwhelm us. It’s OK to say, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming”; but, you need to move quickly on to, “Ok, how am I going to react to and deal with this?” Becoming befuddled and paralyzed is not the reaction that you are going for in those cases. I wrote a post at the beginning of the month that was titled Problem Solving 101, which had this saying from George C. Marshall – “Don’t fight the problem, decide it!” Deal with it.
The meaning of that saying is the gist of today’s Three Little Words. You can’t just leave the problem or issue laying there, in hopes that it might just go away. In most cases, the longer something sits there unresolved the worse it gets. It’s like leaving a dead fish in the trunk of your car. The longer it sits in the back the worse it smells up front. Deal with it.
For many the issue that is preventing taking any action is the fear of confrontation. You are usually not just confronting the abstract notion of a problem, you are confronting a person who is associated with the problem or who may be causing the problem. It may be something as simple as a difference of opinion or as deeply rooted as a difference of basic beliefs. Sometimes it is a difference of interpretation of events or statements that may have been made, but sometimes it is a difference in basic moral positions. Neither case need be intractable but the latter takes much more understanding, work and finesse. Deal with it.
It is perhaps that word understanding that is really the key to success here. Too many bitter arguments in life are based on misunderstandings or a lack of understanding and appreciation for the other person’s point of view. I talked of the challenges of trying to understand someone else’s point of view by putting yourself in their shoes in my post Eleven Hints for Life – Number 8. A take-away from that post is how hard it is to allow for all of the cultural differences that might be present; but you have to try to understand the other person’s point of view or frame of reference. You can’t assess the difficulty of the problem without understanding the gulf that separates the two of you from agreement. Deal with it.
So, start by getting as good of an understanding as you can about where that person is coming from or what is motivating them or just admit that you don’t have a clue and ask them to help you understand. That at least shows them that you are willing to try. Then, hopefully having clarified what the issue./problem is and what is driving them to take the position that they have established, you need to decide what you might need to do in order to make things right and whether it is worth it. I know that the last part of that sentence sounds harsh, but not all problems are worth the effort to solve them. Sometimes it is better to skip right to corollary and get over it and move on. Deal with it.
So, whether you make the problem solving effort to work things out or just decide to by-pass the problem and move on, the key is to make a conscious decision and take action. You will feel an immediate sense of relief, no matter what happens, because you are no longer facing this problem. It is behind you. Now you can start the next phase – Get over it. It is unfortunate that sometimes that also means deciding to get over the person with whom you have the problem, but that is a part of life, too. Deal with it.