I’m not sure who coined the phrase, “it is what it is,” but it fits for so many situations and it’s used by every one.  It’s not surprising to hear television commentators use it with as much frequency as the ordinary citizen.  One reason it resonates with me is that it implies acceptance and surely, there’s much we simply have to accept.  There is very little in our control at the end of the day.

The phrase reminds me of the Serenity Prayer, a shorthand way of saying it, actually.  There are things we can change, for instance: those things that relate to ourselves, and the rest is either for our acceptance or for God to change.  Either way, we have to butt out.  Pretty simple.  If we actually adopted this philosophy, our lives would be much smoother and far more peaceful.

The downside of what the phrase implies is that for some, it can lead to complacency.  We all know people who resist taking responsibility for those situations that are clearly theirs to handle.  Being complacent or lacking the willingness or initiative to be accountable for the work that is clearly theirs to do means that others either pick up the slack or the project gets derailed.  Picking up the slack for others can actually be detrimental to them and the group, if it’s a work project,  because allowing people to “slide,” rather than hold up their end of the assignment is not fair to others.  But it is what is is. And some times we simply have to move on, accepting that others aren’t who we need them to be.

One time the phrase is extremely valuable is when we are getting stressed about a situation that we had envisioned happening one way, only to discover that others had a different idea in mind.  One of the tools of 12 step programs is a slogan, Let Go and Let God.  I rely on this every day.  And in some ways it’s synonymous with “It is What it is.”  They both tell me to walk away.  To not let what’s happening out there control my reactions or judgments or frame of mind.

What’s the most important bit of shorthand you use to maintain your peace of mind on a daily basis?  We all need some thing.  Maybe we can learn from each other.  Share your thoughts in the comment section and I’ll blog about them.  What helps any one of us can surely help many more of us too.