it is what it is (but it doesn’t have to be)

it is what it is.  why do people say that?  do they enjoy the symmetry of the first and last pair of words repeating in the same order?   

it’s the negative-calorie food of colloquialisms.  those foods are a myth, alas, but my point remains: the energy used to say “it is what it is” is more substantial than the expression’s significance. 

whenever i hear it all my Quaker tolerance, yogic discipline, and meditative awareness evaporate.  i’m left apoplectic, yearning to yell,

“really, dumbest person on Earth? is that how it works?  please, share more wisdom!”

but the problem with “it is what it is” goes beyond its stupidity.  

because what do people do after saying it?  i know, because i glare at them.  they throw up their hands and shrug their shoulders, implying, and there’s nothing i can do about it.  they use defeatist body language inspired by a defeatist saying. 

they feel resignation over acceptance, helplessness instead of a desire to find a solution. 

even worse, the expression encourages a destructive thought pattern: external nonsense carries more weight than my actions, therefore what i do is meaningless, so why bother trying?

over time and with repetition, you start believing that moronic statement.  and once you trust an idea, it’s on hand as an explanation when things go wrong.  now you’re racking up “proof” of a destructive expression’s value, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

eventually, you stop trying to achieve or influence or perform and just expect an unfavorable outcome.  a rigor mortis of the soul sets in, leaving you complacent. 

of course we won’t always get what we want.  the Rolling Stones made that very clear.  and it doesn’t pay to fight the facts. 

while we must accept reality we don’t have to accept meekly.  because we choose our responses.  given the myriad alternatives, why even bother with it is what it is?   

if you’re willing to move from a destructive thought pattern to a constructive one, try this:

it is what i make it.

with agency and influence restored, you’re back to being mighty.  you may even figure out why anyone would use such a stupid expression.

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