Why “Just Get Over It” Is Terrible Advice

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Everyone faces adversity at some point in their life. From losing their job to a breakdown in their relationship, the challenges people face can take to time overcome. It’s during those times that support from friends and family is essential.

You need them to help keep you going, to give you perspective and to allow you the time to heal your wounds. Unfortunately, amongst all the good, some people going through a difficult time come across the unhelpful and simplistic advice of…just get over it.

In this article, we will look at why those words could do more harm than good, and why not getting over it too soon could actually be beneficial.

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    Facing Struggle

    There are many examples of when a person faces struggle and enters a space of hopelessness, wanting to do anything to numb the pain.

    For the purpose of this piece, we’re going to focus on probably the top answer on Family Feud to the question “when are you most likely to hear the term just get over it?”​—breakups.

    After a certain amount of time of thinking your life is set, it all comes crashing down. One minute you’re together in your little snuggle bubble and the next you’re curled up in darkness, alone and feeling lost.

    When the end arrives you’re about to embark on a new journey. One that involves self-reflection, frustration and most importantly, healing.

    If you’ve had a break up in the internet era then there’s a good chance you’ve googled “how long does it take to get over a breakup?”. As the results come in, you pray for that one article that answers “a couple days”, which of course, never arrives.

    The reality is there’s no time frame on how long it takes for you to heal. It’s deeply personal and often linked to how much work you need to do on your personal development.

    You can’t rush getting over it and nobody should force you to either.

    Just Get Over it

    In comes the person with the words of wisdom – just get over it. It’s fair to believe that when someone says that to you, they do so without malice. On the contrary, they are coming from a good place and believe showing some tough love will benefit you in the long run.

    Here’s why it’s terrible advice.

    First of all, the term “just get over it” is only a set of words. Practically speaking, it’s impossible to enforce. Nobody just gets over something, life is not that simple.

    Hard work, time and distance all have to come first before a person is ready to move on from the emotional impact of the situation they are faced with.

    Secondly, it implies that there’s something wrong with you. It suggests you’re taking too long to heal, when in truth, nobody has the right to tell you how long to take.

    Planting the seed that you’re dwelling on what has happened may result in unhealthy behavior patterns.

    If you start to agree that you in fact, just need to get over it, you may do all you can to speed up the process. This could be excessive drinking, jumping into the dating game too soon or bottling everything up and pretending life is okay – anything you try to bury will rise to the surface again one day.

    Thirdly, it’s disrespectful. It doesn’t give validation to what you’re feeling and it’s that person’s way of saying they’re not prepared to hear what you have to say. Instead, they’re shutting down your emotions and brushing them off as some trivial concern that can be easily swept away.

    Don’t listen to them!

    There’s a Difference Between Being Stagnated And Not Getting Over it

    Remember, you’re not just going to get over it without putting in the work. If you remain stagnated in the misery of what has happened then you can’t expect to move forward. In those times, the more appropriate advice would be “let’s start making a plan for you to overcome it”.

    Good friends and family are the ones that are prepared to hold a mirror up to you when you’re not taking ownership of a situation. They are there to work with you and help you keep focused as you put your plan into effect.

    During your time of healing be sure to use it to your advantage. Use that pain as energy. The energy can be powerful and be used as a tool to carry you forward in life.

    It can inspire you to work hard, to build your confidence and to evolve yourself into a stronger and more self-assured version of yourself. And know that it’s okay for it to take time. The more something hurts, the more it meant to you – there’s nothing wrong with that.

    So, be proactive, allow yourself to hurt and ensure you’re doing all you can to make progress. How long that takes really is personal to you. But know this; no matter how long it takes, with the right attitude and self-belief you will move on and that terrible darkness will become a beaming shining light – and you’ll be at the center of it.

    Additional Resources

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    About the author

    Dan Ginn
    Dan Ginn is an experienced feature writer and content creator with a background in photography, health and wellbeing and cultural topics.

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