12 Reasons Why Just Getting Over It and Moving On Does Not Work!
“Shouldn’t You Just be Getting Over It and Moving On“?
“Get over it.”
“Forgive and forget.”
“Forget about him or her.”
“Find someone else.”
“It’s not a big deal.”
How many times a day do we hear people, including supposed “experts” in dating and relationships, give advice like this, urging people to be getting over it and moving on without resolving any of the real issues?
We hear people give this advice about relationships when they “don’t work out” and when jobs “don’t work out.” We hear people give this advice when there are injustices done. “Why are you not just getting over it and moving on?” they ask.
But is it helpful advice to tell someone to “just get over it and move on,” or does this advice make things worse? In today’s article, Erika Awakening examines the fallacy of “just getting over it and moving on” and offers some more powerful alternatives for creating real transformation in your relationships and your life.
Two Types of Situation (Should You Be Getting Over It and Moving On?)
Let’s be clear. There are some situations in life that are not worth the energy it would take to confront them. Let’s say you got dumped by a man or woman, but deep down you know you were not really meant to be with that person. Unless there was something else about the situation that needs resolution, learn what you can learn and let it go. Same with jobs. Let’s say you get laid off from your job but deep down you know that you hated that job and wanted to get out of it anyway. Unless there was something else about that situation that needs resolution (such as unfair discrimination), why not just move on to a job you like better, or become self-employed? In many of these situations, you can easily “move on” and not even feel any resentment. These situations tend to fade quickly from memory because they just were not a big deal. You may even count your blessings because you are truly better off without that relationship or job or whatever it was.
Unresolved Conflict Deprives Us of Inner PeaceThose are not the situations I am talking about in this article. I’m talking about the situations that involve something deeper at stake. Maybe a poor performance review or treatment at your job that was discriminatory. Or a relationship breakup that involves some deep unfairness or avoidance of the truth. I’m talking about the situations where, even when people pretend they have “let it go,” they have not really let it go. The situations that nag at you, even years later, because deep down you know it should NOT have happened. Deep down, you know it was unjust, and it erodes your sense of confidence and inner peace because – never having been resolved – it could easily happen again. In these situations, just getting over it and moving on may be the stupidest thing you can do.
What Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement Can Teach Us About NOT “Getting Over It and Moving On”
Here’s a good example of the second type of situation, where there is something much deeper at stake. In 1955, in the Deep South of the United States, racial segregation was alive and well. For years, black people had been told (in essence) that they should be “patient” about change. That it “wasn’t a big deal” to be segregated and forced to use separate water fountains and sit in the back of the bus. This advice for blacks to be passive in the face of this massive injustice was sheer DENIAL. The separation practices of segregation were driven by something much deeper: judgments and enemy images. And those judgments and enemy images, which saw blacks as inferior and less than human, were also creating violence and all sorts of shabby dehumanizing treatment.
Should the blacks in this situation just “turn the other cheek”? Should they be getting over it and moving on? Yeah, right. What a bunch of bullhonkey!
There was a woman who lived in the Deep South named Rosa Parks. She is one of my heroines, and for many years I had a photo of her on my wall to remind me of her COURAGE. A humble seamstress and a tiny woman, she knew in her heart that what was being done to the blacks was wrong. And obviously no amount of being told, in essence, that she should just get over it and move on was enough to persuade her that it was okay to treat blacks in this way.
One day in 1955, enough was enough. Rosa Parks was sitting on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, when she was asked to give up her seat for a white man. Well, she could have “made it light on herself” as the policeman told her to do, and she could have moved to the back of the bus. But she knew in her heart that this treatment was WRONG. She asked the officer, “Why do you push us around?” And he answered, “I don’t know.” Rosa Parks did not move, and this tiny little woman was arrested.
It may seem like a small act of defiance, but it was not. As Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “The moral arc of the Universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Outraged by this unfair treatment of Rosa Parks, the black citizens of Montgomery were catalyzed to boycott the city buses. They began WALKING miles to their jobs to deprive the bus system of their funds. And thus was history changed, because as the financial and social and legal pressure on the system mounted, segregation on city buses finally was ended a year later. And this radical transformation also spread throughout the rest of the Deep South when the movement Rosa Parks began with her simple act of standing up for herself culminated in a powerful decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rosa Parks made it impossible for the world to continue to ignore and apologize for this shockingly unfair treatment of blacks, by a simple and elegant act of standing up for herself.
Think about it. If Rosa Parks and others like her had just “got over it and moved on,” we would all still be living with the toxic separation of racial segregation. Aren’t you glad she refused to just get over it and move on? I am.
Why Do People Say “Just Get Over It and Move On”?
Let’s be really honest about why some people say “just get over it and move on” in situations that clearly call for justice rather than avoidance. They don’t want to face it. Maybe they think the situation is “hopeless” and cannot be resolved. Maybe they are not good at working through uncomfortable feelings so they avoid confrontation at all cost. They are not giving this advice from a place of personal power, that’s for sure. People who truly understand the magnitude of their personal power do not just “get over it and move on” in situations that cry out for justice. Personally powerful people face things and get them resolved. This is the very definition of COURAGE.
Twelve Excellent Reasons Not to Just Get Over It and Move On
As many of you know, I recently have decided to face head on a totally unfair situation in my life with Mark Manson. There have been a few similar situations earlier in my life that I also ultimately faced, because they did not get resolved until I did what Rosa Parks did. Stand up for myself. Here, I share with you twelve reasons why avoidance solves nothing, and why it is so important that we be courageous enough to stand up for what is right.
1. Avoidance Does Not Work: Issues That Are Not Faced Create Illness and Aging in the Body
When we experience unfair treatment, it violates our innate sense of justice and creates negative emotions in the body. Emotions like anger, resentment, and grief are the natural result of being judged or shunned. Properly understood, these negative emotions are not “bad.” They are the way that our Spirit lets us know that an issue needs to be resolved so that we can have inner peace and harmony with others.
Unfortunately, in our culture, people have been taught not to face their negative emotions and resolve the problems that are giving rise to them. They have been taught to “just get over it and move on.” This doesn’t actually work, so people “check out” and watch TV or engage in a variety of other avoidance strategies (such as travel, porn, work-aholism, drugs, passive-aggressiveness, and the list goes on and on …).
This, folks, is why people wake up one day and discover they are fat, old, and have cancer. Those unresolved emotions did not go away, they simply were turned inward, where they attack the body and give rise to endless health conditions. It is not a coincidence that, as I faced all of my issues over the past few years, my untreatable chronic pain and chronic skin condition were healed. My body healed because I stopped poisoning it with unhealed toxic emotions.
My body healed because I had the COURAGE to face my demons.
2. Avoidance Does Not Work: Lack of Inner Peace
A lot of people pretend that “just getting over and moving on” is peace, but the two things have nothing to do with each other. If we had true inner peace, we would have no need to avoid anything or anyone because all of the deeper issues would be resolved.
“Compromise” solutions such as “no contact” and even blocking people on Facebook (a habit I am working on breaking, choosing honest communication instead), are not solutions. They are simply manifestations of being in denial and avoidance about our real issues. And we may think we have peace, but we don’t. If we had inner peace, we would not be resorting to compulsive practices (which can take any form at all, whether it’s travel, excessive “busy-ness,” sleeping with hundreds of women, or whatever else it may be).
The hallmark of inner peace is the ability to be joyful while doing nothing, for no reason at all, while avoiding NOTHING because everything has been happily resolved.
3. Avoidance Does Not Work: The Problem Does Not Go Away, It Just Moves Somewhere Else
Pretending that a problem no longer exists does not make it cease to exist. It just makes the problem unconscious. This is called DENIAL. You either own your problems, or they own you.
So it is not surprising that when we try to “avoid” one person because we don’t want to face the feelings that are evoked by facing them, we often notice a “clone” of that person showing up somewhere else in our lives. This is because everything we see is a projection. The other person is not the problem, there is a deeper pattern that we are projecting onto them. And unless we get the problem solved right there, with that person, the problem will simply move somewhere else.
It is not a coincidence, in my view, that there are so many medically-related deaths in the United States. When we treat symptoms, the problem just moves somewhere else. So if you give someone a drug to “cover up” their depression, don’t be surprised when they develop a zillion side effects. You didn’t solve the underlying cause of the depression, you just moved the problem somewhere else. This is called DENIAL. It solves nothing.
4. Avoidance Does Not Work: The Problem Does Not Go Away, It Gets Bigger
When we “pretend” that our problem has been solved through avoidance, we remove ourselves from the ability to solve the problem consciously and effectively. The problem gets “dissociated” into the unconscious mind, where our Shadow Self reigns supreme. The longer and more religiously the problem is avoided, the bigger it gets.
The whites trying to maintain the status quo in the Deep South may have been surprised how quickly and hugely the boycotts took on momentum. They were only surprised because they had been living in DENIAL. The anger, resentment, and grief that fueled this huge social movement had been building for decades, and it was because people refused to face the uncomfortable feelings and judgments that the problem got so big.
It’s like when you don’t pay a parking ticket, only to find your car has been booted and a multi-thousand dollar bill in your mailbox. Face issues early and often, or else they will grow into nightmares that easily could have been avoided had you just been willing to have some COURAGE and face your issues honestly.
5. Avoidance Does Not Work: Welcome to the World of Addictions
Some people like to pretend that they do not have any negative feelings. This is called DENIAL, and it is the fuel that creates addictions. In my 15-Week Miracle Coaching program, I teach my clients how to identify and resolve addictive patterns. The first step to resolving an addiction is to become PRESENT to the negative feelings that are driving it instead of avoiding the feelings (and avoiding the people or situations that are perceived as creating the feelings – when we avoid other people, we are really just avoiding our own self).
One stumbling block here is that people don’t realize an addiction need not involve drugs or alcohol. Anything that promotes avoidance or “running away” is an addiction. Thus, traveling compulsively, socializing compulsively, sleeping with women compulsively, approval seeking, internet surfing, watching porn, and a huge range of other activities often turn into addictions.
This is why silent meditation retreats (and other forms of meditation) are so powerful. When we stop and remain still for longer and longer periods of time, it becomes impossible to continue avoiding that which we are refusing to face. Meditation helps us face things with COURAGE and get them resolved.
6. Avoidance Does Not Work: Avoidance Perpetuates “Enemy Images”
When we avoid people, it is because deep down we are judging them. There are no exceptions to this. And when we judge people, we perpetuate the enemy images that are creating all the negative events in our world. This is why mediation is so powerful. When we must sit in a room and face the person we have been judging, when we must see their humanity and how in truth they are exactly like us, it becomes impossible to judge them anymore. Mediation is a powerful way of courageously and compassionately facing our own issues.
7. Avoidance Does Not Work: Avoidance Perpetuates a World of “Sheeple”
A number of commentators have pointed out that the shooter in the Aurora, Colorado massacre could have been taken down in 90 seconds if anyone had been willing to stand up to him. Nobody did. If you think that’s unrelated to this article, think again. People who habitually avoid all the real issues, and have not learned how to be courageous, cower and run in the face of wildly unjust treatment. Learn how to stand up for yourself habitually, and see how rarely anyone tries to treat you unfairly anymore. If you don’t know how to be assertive, make the investment to learn how (this begins with effective communication, rock solid self-esteem, and ending co-dependent patterns).
8. Avoidance Does Not Work: Say Goodbye to Real Self-Esteem and Mutual Respect
If you don’t have the courage to face your issues and the people in your life, forget about having real self-esteem or mutual respect in your relationships. Self-esteem and mutual respect arise out of standing up for yourself when the situation calls for it, and being willing to reach empathetic resolution with others when conflicts arise. If you want to argue with this, go ahead, but know that this is just another form of DENIAL. Remember Rosa Parks and the spark that ignited a national movement. Do you really wish for your problems to get that big before you get them resolved? Or would it be better to act with courage and beauty?
9. Avoidance Does Not Work: If You Run Away from the Issue, You Won’t Be Able to Resolve It When It Arises Again with a New Person or in A New Form
Any pattern in your life that you have not resolved fully and completely will arise again in another form. And if you didn’t solve it the first time, you won’t know how to solve it the second time.
I mean, look at my ex Mark Manson. He avoided addressing the core issue of dishonesty for so long that he got 80 women, and probably a lot more than that, so upset with him that they wanted to hurt him.
As A Course in Miracles teaches, “Confronted with any aspect of the situation that seems to be difficult, the ego will attempt to take this aspect elsewhere, and resolve it there. And it will seem to be successful, except that this attempt conflicts with unity, and must obscure the goal of truth. And peace will not be experienced except in fantasy. Truth has not come because faith has been denied, being withheld from where it rightfully belonged. Thus do you lose the understanding of the situation the goal of truth would bring. For fantasy solutions bring but the illusion of experience, and the illusion of peace is not the condition in which truth can enter.”
What this means, practically speaking, is that when we try to “solve” a problem through avoidance, it has not been solved, and any illusion of peace is just that, an illusion. Just like ignoring that parking ticket is eventually going to catch up with you. Maybe you convinced yourself that you felt “at peace” while the fines mounted, but when your car gets booted, the illusion of “peace” falls away and reveals the truth of the situation.
I fully acknowledge my own avoidance patterns. I learned avoidant strategies as a child in a very abusive household, and these are habits I have been breaking and must continue to break. Indeed, in facing my current situation (which is a mirror), I asked myself “where in my life am I avoiding people and my feelings?” over and over again, until I could be honest with myself that blocking people on Facebook was a pretty severe form of avoidance. Also, not reading certain websites was a way of avoiding my feelings. So I unblocked everyone and started reading the websites I had been avoiding. I stopped removing haters on some of my pages, and started asking them probing questions instead, to get to the roots of the hate (which is just based on false enemy images anyway, not something to be scared of). I am determined to face my Shadow Self directly BEFORE he/she turns into a monster. I am determined to face all of my issues so that I can experience true inner peace. I am determined to be courageous, no matter how scary it may seem at first. I was actually pleasantly surprised when I read one particularly hateful article about me that my response was sincere laughter. Now that wasn’t so scary or horrible after all, was it? :)
10. Avoidance Does Not Work: If You Run Away from the Issue, the Unfair Pattern is Allowed to Continue in the World
Rosa Parks and the entire civil rights movement have much to teach us about the power of not avoiding our issues. Discrimination and segregation ran rampant in the United States until someone was courageous enough to put their foot down and stand up for justice. Nobody stood up for justice in Aurora, Colorado. And we are not here to judge anyone involved in that incident because we were not there. Nonetheless, we can say with confidence that bullies and avoiders will start to think twice about abusing people when ALL OF US make it a habit to be assertive and stand up for justice. This is why it is essential that we teach assertive communication skills to all people, and that we end co-dependency NOW.
Mark Manson is an unfortunate example of what happens when we do not stand up for ourselves.
11. Avoidance Does Not Work: Unconscious Problems Remain Outside of Our Conscious Control
The way problems are solved is by bringing them to conscious awareness. When we face a problem directly, we can honestly assess what limiting beliefs and old karmic loops are driving the unfortunate situation. When we avoid the people or situation, we are only avoiding our own self. Thus, we do not become conscious of the limiting beliefs that are driving the patterns, and therefore we do not solve the problem.
Facing issues gives us access to happiness and personal power12. Real Transformation Comes from Facing Things
If you got nothing else out of this article, remember Rosa Parks. You may believe that you are too small and powerless to make any real difference in this world. The example of Rosa Parks, tiny humble seamstress who changed the course of history with a simple act of self-esteem, proves otherwise. You are powerful enough to start standing up for justice in every area of your life. It just requires a little bit of courage. Do it now. You just might be surprised how powerful you really are.
“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
p.s. As of January 2013, several months after I wrote this article, I have three new EFT tapping products that will help you address your emotions directly rather than “stuffing” or “avoiding” your feelings. These are:
About the Author:
Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening
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