A couple years ago Willow came home from preschool repeating something her teacher had said in class.
“You get what you get, and don’t throw a fit.”
Maybe you’ve heard this before. I hadn’t, and I instantly loved it. Not only because it put a stop to a lot of “it’s not fair” arguments (it really did!), but because it struck me as an incredibly helpful and accurate statement about life in general.
You get what you get. You can throw a fit…but what good will that do?
All of our suffering comes from getting what we get and throwing a fit. When I say “all”, I mean 100%.
We’re going to feel pain. Pain is fine—it’s human, safe, and naturally pretty short-lived. But suffering is different. Suffering is the byproduct of arguing with reality. When we cling to what our mind wants and tell life that it messed up—it wasn’t supposed to be this way—we suffer.
We get what we get.
We get what we get from the world around us—things happen, people leave, bodies get sick, companies downsize, feelings and minds change. Life unfolds as life unfolds and it isn’t about us. We just stand in the middle of it, feeling whatever thinking happens to be passing through our minds in each and every moment.
Life unfolding as it unfolds, and us in the middle feeling our thinking, are two totally independent things.
You get what you get, so why throw a fit?
And we get what we get from our inner worlds too—thought arises, brains revert to old patterns, emotion lingers, we fall into behaviors that we later regret. We aren’t in control of what shows up within us any more than we’re in control of the world outside of us. Seeing that provides a choice—throw a fit vs. don’t throw a fit.
When you see that you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit, you find that you’re incredibly, unbelievably resilient. What you get no longer looks like such a problem. You might like it or you might dislike it and that’s fine too, because you get what you get and then you get something else.
Don’t dig your heels in the ground and fight it. Be like water. Let it all flow, flow with it, and look upstream toward the source of what’s next.
You get what you get and life is far easier when you don’t throw a fit.
By the way…since the original “you get what you get” statement seriously decreased the fighting and resistance in our house, we’ve come up with several others (you eat what you eat and don’t stomp your feet, you sleep when you sleep so don’t make a peep, you’re quiet when you’re quiet so don’t cause a riot…). Feel free to use these to promote peace in your home too. They work equally well with children and adults.