Reality Check: It Is What It Is

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Cagatay Orhan / Unsplash

Five words. 

A straightforward phrase, maybe even a mantra. 

It’s always following me in life, always entering my vocabulary, and no matter what, I can’t get away from it. It so easily rolls off the tongue, and although I don’t like how it can sound indifferent, cold, or abrupt, I must admit that it just makes sense and is so valid.

I have a love/hate relationship with this phrase. It’s a reality check, an unequivocal dose of tough love. You can say it with a shrug, a smile, rolling your eyes, or standing firm to make a point… but any way you say it: It is what it is.

It’s one of the only phrases you can say in certain situations that can be extremely poignant. It’s one of the only phrases that has the power to bring comfort and understanding to someone who needs it. It neither coddles nor neglects, it’s neither good nor bad… it is what it is.

Don’t confuse this phrase with negativity, don’t look at it as a cop out or an excuse for poor behavior, because it’s not. It’s allowing yourself to be grounded in truth. It’s allowing yourself to understand that some things just are, that they cannot be altered. It’s acceptance.

It’s a simple phrase encompassing the tough love I crave, the matter of fact manner that it’s delivered in. I don’t think of tough love as something that is always harsh, something that always makes you feel bad. I think of tough love as the pathway to awareness, which is the the vehicle that helps bring us to acceptance.

When you think of your past, mistakes you’ve made, getting involved in bad things, people you’ve hurt or who’ve hurt you, don’t look back on any of it with regret. These things happened and your past will always be a part of who you are- and your past? It is what it is. 

In situations that overwhelm you, no matter what life aspect they fall in, take a step back to look at the situation as a whole. What exactly is overwhelming you and can it be changed? Most times, if you’re grounded enough to recognize what you need to change, your coping mechanism will be the simple tough love truth you get by simply admitting that it is what it is. If it’s not something you can change, it’s the same simple phrase that will help you realize that it’s not your issue.

While this phrase can be misinterpreted based on the tone in which it’s used, I don’t see myself removing it from my vocabulary any time soon. But I am sorry if it comes across cold. I’m just trying to be supportive and empower you to break through your barriers, to push through your pain, to embrace healing from your traumas. I want to be the person who keeps it real, who doesn’t sugarcoat, who bases her words of “tough love” on facts and solutions.

On the same note, I want these same truths, these same reality checks, this same tough love for myself. I don’t want to miss out on opportunities or experiences in life because I waited for something that never came, or waited for my situation to change. Because there are things that are completely in my control, and I want someone to call me out on my shit if they see me faltering, making excuses, and not striving to meet my potential. I also sometimes need to be reminded that certain situations are out of my control, that I can’t change my cards, only how I play them, and that it’s imperative to not create extra issues from them.

So live your life in the now, knowing you are worthy of good things. Eliminate anything that no longer serves you. No matter how tough or trying, continue down the path you’ve set for yourself. Do what makes you proud, embrace this moment, because this moment truly is your life. And good or bad…it is what it is. TC mark

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