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It is what it is...

emotional wellbeing personal growth perspective Jul 18, 2022

A bit ago, I had the privilege of working with an internal support group at JPMorgan Chase. I had worked with this group before and was really looking forward to the session, even though it was a little bit out of my area of expertise. This group provides networking and support services for caregivers (e.g. those taking care of elderly parents). This session was on, "Parenting Children with Special Needs." I was upfront with the group in that I,  myself, am not a parent in this category but I connected with a number of my friends and colleagues who are in this life situation for info, context, and suggestions.

And a beautiful thing happened. The participants of this session took the invitation I offered and created an interactive process about how being a parent of a child (or children) with special needs impacted them in terms of identity, worldview, stress level, expectations, and life purpose. It was so powerful for me (as I hope it was for them) to watch and listen to the conversation unfold.

I walked away with a reminder and a deeper understanding of the freedom, healing power, and responsibility of the concept of, "it is what it is."

Being in recovery and a firm proponent of the 12 Step process, I understand the necessity of acceptance if I am going to remain clean and sober. The Serenity Prayer is more than a rote recitation; it is a reminder and descriptive context of how to live an empowered and powerful life. This training session prompted me to examine and internalize these concepts on an even deeper, more intimate level.

"It is what it is," is not a statement of resignation or flippant abdication of responsibility (e.g. "well, I can't do anything about it, so why try?")  Rather, it is a way to examine internal issues of denial, accountability, commitment, and power. In the words of the Serenity Prayer: serenity, courage, and wisdom. It allows us to move away from all the "should's" that keep us stuck in anger, resentment, fear, and disappointment and place ourselves in the middle of the process of change, acceptance, and wholeness. It is only when we are in a place of, "it is what it is," that we can truly be our most authentic and complete selves by acknowledging our successes and barriers, our joys and pains, our motivations and excuses.

Finally, "it is what it is," is a place absent of judgment both of self and of people, places, and things outside of self. What a beautiful place it is.

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