Don't "Get Over It"

By JP Sears, Holistic Coach

When discussing your bothersome issues with others, how many times have you heard the common advice to “get over it” or “just let it go?”  This advice often has wonderful intentions behind it.  However, did you know that trying to follow this advice can leave us more lost than we were to begin with?  The emotions and feelings that we’re told to “get over” actually have a valuable purpose in our self growth and it can be very important for us to let them serve their purpose.

When experiencing emotional discomfort, is it your belief that the words “get over it” actually create the necessary vibration required to heal the distressed emotion?  I don’t know what your answer is, however it usually doesn’t feel as though this is true for me.  If your belief is congruent with mine, then what happens when we do decide all of the sudden to “let it go?”  Sometimes what seemed to be irking us doesn’t make us as irked after we’ve combated the issue with the decision to “let it go.”  But that can be misleading. Many times what happens to us in these cases is that we’ve become indifferent or gone into denial about the issue.  The difference between healing the issue and being indifferent or in denial about the issue, and therefore not being consciously bothered by it, is immense.  Below we’ll discuss how you can let your uncomfortable feelings serve you with their purpose while avoiding the pitfall of denial that comes with the “get over it” approach.


A wonderful teacher in my life says that often times we can’t heal what we can’t feel (1).  To heal a painful issue, as much as neither you nor I want to hear it, means that we will feel discomfort.  The emotional pain that we experience around a distressing event is a powerful teacher for us.  In my life such pain is often teaching me about my attachments, my losses, and what I’ve tried to make other people responsible for.  For the lessons that I have learned from my distressing emotions, I can say that it has been necessary for me to experience the difficult feelings.  After we have experienced the purpose of the painful feelings, their function has been served and they harmoniously dissipate.  Much like a rainstorm is necessary to serve life, the clouds move on when their purpose has been served.  This is what healing is. 

Conversely, when we go into denial about an issue we are typically in a place where we aren’t willing to experience the necessary discomfort at a conscious level to learn, heal, and process.  Because the feelings we’re denying have a purpose, they will indeed reside in our energy fields waiting to live out their purpose.  Enough denial can be very burdensome as the wonderful gifts that we’re denying weigh us down through their accumulation in our energy fields.  Deciding to just “get over it” or “let it go” can be very dangerous as it can push us into the realm of denial where we aren’t able to heal and grow from the feelings we’re experiencing as easily.  Denial can certainly slow our progress on our path of happiness and self realization.  It is also important to say that when we are in denial about a painful issue, we can easily be seduced into the illusion that we’ve healed the issue simply because we’re not experiencing it at a conscious level.


If you’re like me, right now there is a part of you thinking “When I decide to get over something, I am over it.  I don’t go into denial about it.”  The very nature of our denial is that we must deny that we’re in denial!  If we didn’t, then it wouldn’t be denial.  When I am in denial, I am absolutely convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am completely in tune with myself.  Because our own denial is one of the toughest things to spot this side of Big Foot, I will offer to you that a helpful way to spot denial is not by looking for it directly, but by sighting its tracks.  This is very similar to how expert hunters find their prized catch; by tracking it.  In this article, the main track left by denial is having made the painless decision to just “let it go.”  If we can identify when a part of us is in denial, we’re greatly empowered toward healing our distressing issue just by the simple, yet powerful act of uncovering our denial of it.

How many of us go into denial over our issues?  My experience has been that I have never met another person who doesn’t have denial as a part of them.  I will humbly say that I never cease to amaze myself at how much denial I can create in my life.  Processing and truly healing hurtful emotions is usually not a walk in the park.  In fact, usually it is a hike over steep, rugged terrain, with strong wind, hard cold rain, up hill both ways!  If you use denial like I do, I invite you to consider that denial isn’t bad or good, but it is just a part of our human nature for us to recognize.


In theory, when I see someone distressed it sounds like very postive advice to me to tell someone to “get over it.”  The logic plays out in my head like this: if he is distressed by feeling angry, he would feel happier if he wasn’t angry, therefore he should stop being angry at whatever he is angry at.  This is like seeing a drowning man who can’t swim and telling him he should swim.  Perhaps he doesn’t need to be told what to do, but he needs to be shown how to do it.  We can always rationalize with our heads what we should or shouldn’t be feeling and why. However unless we feel it in our hearts the feeling won’t be genuine. 

It can be very easy for us to hold a gold standard in our head of what it is to be spiritual or to be an evolved, happy person.  And when a hurtful circumstance arises in our life we assess ourselves against the gold standard we’ve constructed and we tell ourselves that an evolved being wouldn’t feel this way, so we should just let it go. After this slingshot ride into the realm of denial we are convinced we’ve just evolved.  If we can open our hearts, be vulnerable and feel what is distressing us, is it possible that the heartfelt path offers a more authentic path of growth than does the head thinking path?

Recently a client and I were discussing an issue he was having with his mother his discomfort surrounding the issue.  He said, “I guess I just need to learn to let it go.”  I offered the thought that perhaps he was in a place that many of us need to strive for – a place where we are able to feel what we’re feeling.  A place where we can learn and grow from what distresses us.  I shared my experience that with myself and many clients, we’re so quick to jump into denial that being in a place where we can be “bothered” by our feelings is a powerful step.  He seemed happy to be affirmed of the wonderful gift he has.

So what can you and I do to avoid denial and embrace the concept of feeling our feelings?


Experiencing our feelings actually doesn’t involve a lot of doing.  In fact, our aim is to just be with our feelings, to sit there face to face with them.  The concept is simple yet easy to neglect.  Embracing the following can help guide us to a magical place of being with our feelings:

·      Give voice to the emotion you’re feeling.  Acknowledge it by giving it a name.  Would you call it anger, resentment, guilt, grief, sadness? 

·      Think on the question, “How do I feel about myself because of this emotion?”

·      Ask yourself for permission to feel this feeling.  Is it okay to accept the feeling’s presence or does part of you want to deny the feeling?

You may notice that the above suggestions are certainly contrary to the superstitious “get over it” theory.


Learning to get past the notions of “just letting go” at the snap of your fingers without experiencing your feelings takes the humble realization that you are a mortal human being.  It is just as human to experience sadness, anger, grief and resentment as it is to experience happiness, delight, joy and gratitude.  Somewhere along the line some of us have adopted a belief that it is defective for us to feel painful emotions.  I will reaffirm my weird belief that the painful feelings we experience are just as purposeful as the joyful feelings we experience.  Making the decision not to just let things go, but to experience what those things are allows us to embrace and evolve from the full spectrum of the gift of human life.

Of course many of us throughout our lives were taught to be ashamed of our hurtful emotions and to cover them up.  “Don’t show your hurt!”  What a tall and non-human order!  For some of those who tell us to “just get over it” it is very possible this is the best advice they have to give.  It is also possible they feel uncomfortable by your discomfort because they don’t know how to “fix” it.  If you’re cut, it is okay to bleed, even if those around you are fearful of the sight of blood.  If this is the case with you as well, I will share that for me it is very important to realize this is what I learned from my experiences of my parents. In realizing this I give myself the power to choose a different way if I wish.

A wonderful author, Lama Surya Das in his book Letting Go, offers that “letting go” really means letting things come and go, by just letting be.  He goes on to suggest that we need to look at our lives as they are, not as we want them to be while drowning in a river of denial.  Acknowledging what we’re feeling and giving ourselves permission to feel what we’re feeling is a concept very worthy of our consideration if we wish to live genuinely.


Allowing ourselves to learn and grow by giving ourselves permission to feel our uncomfortable feelings can sound like a thankless task.  In fact, in my efforts to do so I do not routinely have people come up to me and thank me for feeling the emotional pain that I feel in the processing of my own issues.  However the compelling reasons for me to do so are the insights, compassion and gratitude I discover for myself by sticking my head in the mud of my own issues.

In the face of temptation to deny what you’re feeling by “just letting go” or “getting over it,” I invite you to consider the path suggested by Lama Surya Das. Just BE with yourself and your feelings.  In doing so, rest assured the time of strife will bring about the energy of healing and growth.


1. John McMullin, Holistic Coach. 

.  Columbus, OH.

2. Das, Lama Surya.  Letting Go: of the Person You Used to Be.  Bantam Books.  2003.

About the Author

JP Sears is a Holistic Health Coach in San Diego, CA.  His one-on-one client practice specializes in holistic emotional healing and resolving self-sabotage issues.  JP regularly facilitates classes and workshops nationally and internationally on a variety of inner healing topics while being widely acclaimed for his heartfelt and dynamic style.  For more information on upcoming classes, tele-classes, or becoming a client, please visit  You can also subscribe to JP’s YouTube Channel at and follow him on Facebook at