It Is What It Is

  1. A Way Inside: red pill, blue pill
  2. The Illusion of a Self
  3. What is being awake?
  4. The Cool Heat of Passion
  5. On Change and Choice
  6. It Is What It Is
  7. Self Responsibility and Waking Up

Synopsis: It is What It Is is at the heart of the Tao, and tells us we need to accept and move on.

Want depth and meaning? Read my books!

it is what it is
This is not what I signed on for!

This little slogan is at the heart of what we’ve been on about for the last 9 articles (including this one!) It’s also put as “The way it is, is the way it is.” To which we say, “Of course!”

Until something happens that we judge to be “wrong.”

Then, out comes the petulant 4‑year-old, pouting, crying, moaning, gnashing. “This isn’t fair! This shouldn’t be happening to me! I want it to be some other way! Wah, wah, wah.

the fight

Back in my early days of counselling, I worked with a female client who was beside herself. Her husband was hyper-critical, and no matter what she did, he’d find something wrong. She tried and tried to please him–to get him to treat her “the way she should be treated.”

Since this wasn’t working, we spent a lot of time looking at alternatives.

For instance, I suggested that her job was NOT to make her husband happy. It was to live her life, and to share it with him.

Except, he wasn’t interested. He wanted her to be different. And the kicker was, when she shifted her behaviour to match what he said he wanted, he’d say “You’re still wrong, and now I want you to do this!”

He came in for one session. I positioned the two of them in chairs opposite my chair. Throughout the session, he kept trying to move his chair next to me. After a couple of tries, I said, “Look. You’re a client, not my co-therapist. Knock it off!”

He crossed his arms and glared at me, then said I was a lousy therapist for not fixing his wife.

Anyway, he only came once, and by the next session, miracle of miracles, his little “slidy-chair” routine had convinced my client that he was never going to become the loving husband she so badly wanted.

So, she divorced him. I actually testified for her at the divorce proceeding, the details of which, of course, he was challenging. His lawyer was no better at manipulating me than he was — my client got what she was looking for.

A few months passed, and she called and booked another appointment.

She was really sad and depressed. Why?

Quoth she: “I tried and tried, and divorced him, and now, when we talk (mostly about their kid) he still won’t listen to me, and he criticizes and judges everything I do!”

Me: “So, you thought divorcing him would smarten him up?” (She nodded, sniffing.) “Here’s a flash for you. The way he is, is the way he is. You had a kid with him, so you’re stuck dealing with him until your kid grows up. Accept it, and move on.”

Accept it, and move on.

Accept it, and move on!

But… but… I don’t wanna!!! It’s not fair! I shouldn’t have to! (S)he can’t treat me this way! I’m not done hurting myself over this!”


Accept it, and move on.

Not condone. Accept

The “move on” part fixes the situation, provided you don’t set yourself up to repeat it. Maybe it needs saying: you need to do your life differently, or the whack situation is going to repeat, maybe with variations, but repeat.

Example: two friends are divorcing. They never resolved a single issue while married. I keep saying: “Your issue was that you never communicated–never resolved an issue. You need to spend a lot of time practicing good communication, or you’re going to have the same situation over again.”

They nod, then immediately go back into their back-stories, none of which have anything to do with what caused the marriage to fail.

Accept it, and move on. In this case, move on by learning how to actually communicate with a member of one’s preferred sex.

now what
Time, methinks, to get offa me arse…

Here’s the key to all of this: the way it is, is the way it is. Regardless of your opinion. Regardless of what you think is fair. Regardless of your preferences. The cosmos doesn’t care that you don’t like it, and as the poster on my therapist’s office says:

No one is coming.

No rescue. No, “If I pray about it, things will change.” No karma, no payback.

It is what it is.

So, stop dragging your feet, and deal with the situation that exists, right in front of you, as opposed to the one you wish existed.

If you need a sniffle break, have one — I know I do. I need to whine and judge and curse.

But then, and by then I mean 15 minutes, not 25 years, get up, blow your nose, and get real. Look closely at how you got where you got to (hint: you walked there, due to your choices, or “fate” played a hand and you got clobbered), and here you are.

Now what?

Well, you are going to have to deal with it, not bitch about it.


We live in a real world, and in this world, things happen. Some things are shitty things, some are great, but it’s a crap-shoot out there. No one is exempt from having to deal with all of it.

Dealing starts with: Accept it, and move on.

Because, “the way it is, is the way it is!”

Until you do something differently. Because in the end, it’s all about you and your next move.

This is otherwise known as growing up and being an adult!

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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