There are few more emotionally damaging phrases that “get over it”.
It sounds a strange thing to say to a phrase we hear all the time. Angry about how the bus was late? Get over it. Struggling with your confidence at work and general workload? You have to earn money somehow; get over it. Upset over an argument with a friend? Make up or get over it.
It’s spoken like we can suddenly do it. Like there is a switch that we are all in possession of, and when something happens, it moves to “not over it”. Then, all we need to do to process an emotional reaction is to flick the switch to “over it”.
Why This Is So Damaging
It goes without saying that no such switch exists – life would definitely be easier if it did. Instead, as humans were are a complex jumble of emotions and feelings – most of which we don’t really know how to process.
When we try to move past feelings that we’ve not really dealt with, problems are inevitable. This is often referred to as bottling up our feelings, but a more appropriate metaphor would be laying kindling. Eventually, a spark is going to ignite that kindling – and anyone in the way is going to get burned.
“Acceptable” Times To Be Upset
On some things, the world gives us a pass. The death of a loved one, the loss of a partner for any reason or ill health in someone we care for. In those circumstances, we are “allowed” by society to grieve – these are the acceptable times for us to not be over it. To a point, we might even be judged if we are perceived to be over it too soon. Sometimes, it’s almost impossible to feel like it’s possible to do the right thing.
Of course, the patience soon runs out. The reason people say “get over it” is out of awkwardness; out of not knowing how to deal with someone who is upset, grieving or struggling. Their response is to bounce the solution back onto the person suffering and imply it’s their inadequacy. After the loss of a loved one, a certain grieving period is accepted, but if it continues for too long? There is a “get over it” on the horizon from someone who can’t cope with seeing your pain and drama on show.
Emotional Health Is Vital
It is possible to die from a broken heart – an emotional reason for a physiological illness. Emotions are not separate from health; they feed into it and vice versa.
When you go through a difficult time, it’s up to you when you process it. Whether you take some time alone, go to grief counselling or find solace in a distraction – that’s your decision. It’s vital for your emotional health that you deal with it however you see fit, provided it is not destructive to your well-being.
If someone tells you to get over it, tell them to leave you alone if they are uncomfortable. If you’re low, it’s not your job to lift other people up. You’ve got enough to be concerned with, getting yourself back on track.