The Wisdom of Hanging In There

Sully: Hang in there.
Toby: Hang in there? That’s the sum of your wisdom on the subject?
Sully: That’s the sum of my wisdom on most subjects.
~ Nobody’s Fool (film) written by Robert Benton 1994

Sometimes the simplest advice is the best. When we don’t know what to do, we should do nothing.

When we are overwhelmed by the enormity of our tasks and the state of our lives, we should look at things one day at a time or one hour at a time or one minute at a time.

It is imperative, a lot of times, to bring the solution down to the simplest task and the smallest measure of time otherwise looking at everything will just paralyze us.

Sometimes we need to “hang in there” when we are not sure what is coming up next. We need to be okay with just “being” still and waiting. We need to let life unfold itself to us. More will be revealed.

When I was in post-separation arguments with my ex-husband and his constant harangue would cause me to become unglued, my therapist said, “Hang up the phone.”

Hang up the phone????????

I had been so entrenched in my ACOA dysfunctional, codependent responses, I had no idea that hanging up the phone was an option. It seemed to be simple advice that I’d never even thought of, but once I took it and knew it was okay, I felt so much better. Of course he, like most boundary crashers who want you “back where you belong” tried to up the ante and cause me to become unglued…and sometimes it worked, but as I got better, it stopped working and he grew tired of trying to get me to play in the dysfunctional sandbox with his stupid self.

If you’ve been in unhealthy, dysfunctional patterns for years (or all your life), you don’t GET that there are other ways of dealing with things and people.

She told me a ringing phone is a request and not a command and to this day, I use that advice in my life to shut off all communications with the outside world when I need “me” time. It was some of the best advice I’ve ever been given.

When I felt lonely and bored because the ex ran off with a co-worker, leaving me and his kids in the dust, she told me to make peace with the peace.  Oh?   Hear that quiet?  It’s the sound of a bananahead-free life.  Yay!

When my kids were in junior high and sometimes tortured by classmates calling with the craziest of dramas (for junior high dramas are probably the craziest of dramas) I would say to them, “Hang up the phone.” They would look at me like “Oh? Is that the answer? I didn’t know…” and they would hang up the phone. No explanation necessary.  Just hang it up and move along with your day.

Sometimes when we want to be the caller, the solution is to do anything but call. Sit on your hands if you must, but don’t call. Don’t call? Sounds simple. Not easy, but simple.  When you want to call to get answers to questions, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. Mantras.  Try them.

Having a bad day? Hang in there.

Upset by someone’s criticism of you? What they think of you is none of your business.

Afraid to walk into a room? Act like you own the place.

Head going round and round with questions about why your ex did what she or he did, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.

Although these might sound like trivial solutions to huge problems, it is often the simplest solution that works the best.

Let it go.

Just do it.

One day at a time.

In 12 step programs they call these slogans and there are a lot of slogans. Not trite, but true and well-worn statements.  There are very good reasons these slogans have lasted since Bill W. founded Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s and now. Because they work.  Because they bring peace to a person’s life.

Sometimes being wise is to know to listen to the simple but true solution.

Sometimes we overanalyze everything including our ex. “Oh,” we say, “That’s how I am. I have to understand…” But that’s just an excuse to stay involved in situations we can’t change. Yes it’s important to know what type of person we are attracted to and what that says about us, but it does no good to continually put this person under a microscope.

“What kind of person does that?!?” is what I hear constantly.

Well the kind you don’t want. Simple. Let it go.

Relationship inventories, journaling, therapy and meetings are all tools designed to sort it out and change it. But sometimes it’s time to sit back and let it all go.

Someone once told me that the short version of the Serenity Prayer (accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference) is F* it.

Sometimes you just have to say F* it.

It’s a wise person who knows when it’s time to hang on, when it’s time to let go, when it’s time to hang in there, when it’s time to delve into it and when it’s time to say f* it.  It’s a wise person who knows when to say it doesn’t matter.  It’s a wise person who knows the difference between between hang on, hang in there, hang up.  It’s a healthy person who knows what to say and when. Change the dance steps.  Simplify it all.

It’s a wise person who knows that sometimes the solution to the most complicated problem is really a simple thing.

Some days it’s just a matter of hanging in there.

No matter what, hang in there.



Copyright 2007-2017 Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
All Rights Reserved No Duplication is Allowed Without Explicit Permission of the Author

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