‘It Is What It Is’ is an idiomatic phrase, indicating the immutable nature of an object or circumstance.
Urban Dictionary is more explicit.
Used often in the business world, this incredibly versatile phrase can be literally translated as “fuck it.”‘The client changed the deadline to today? Well, it is what it is.’
Kacey Musgraves sings,
“Maybe I love you,
Maybe I’m just kind of bored,
It is what it is
Till it ain’t,
I’d like to live just one day without hearing this hopeless statement. The expression is for those who give up; for those who don’t care. I hate it when this one creeps into my language. Upon hearing the words leave my lips, I flinch — a mechanical reaction to a thoughtless expression spoken in defeat.
Have we become so ineffective at engaging change in our lives or the lives of those around us that we throw up our hands at the first sign of adversity? Perhaps we have forgotten that mistakes are forgiven. How much easier it is to say that fate has intervened again. We accept no responsibility. We are not accountable. No fault, no foul. It is what it is.
Instead, ask yourself, “Is it really?”
- “The bill came to $275. It is what it is.” Maybe you were mis-charged. Maybe you can get it cheaper elsewhere. Maybe you can barter, or work out a payment plan. Maybe everything just costs a lot of money and you don’t have any, but be accountable. Saying ‘it is what it is’ releases you from any blame or action plan.
- “My boss chewed my ass. It is what it is.” Maybe you deserved it. Maybe you deserve a different boss, or job, or work environment. Maybe you don’t get paid enough to deal with that kind of stress. Maybe you just aren’t capable of the job you’re in. Keep your resume fresh. Keep networking. Keep your reputation clean. Talk to your boss and work it out, or get yourself out of there.
- “The customer wants what? It is what it is.” Maybe the customer’s expectations are unreasonable. Maybe this is the last straw for him. Maybe the customer just doesn’t understand the limitations of his request. One thing is for sure. What the customer doesn’t need to hear is that “it is what it is.”
- “It’s raining on my parade. It is what it is.” Maybe the weather is going to change for the better. Maybe the rain will keep the crowds down, and you will enjoy the parade even more. Maybe it isn’t even all about you. Maybe the farmers could use the rain. But if the sun decides to come out, you are going to look awfully silly sitting there with that big ol’ pout on your mug.
- “My husband made me feel like crap. It is what it is.” Maybe your spouse had no intention of making you feel bad. Maybe he would be appalled to find out he hurt you. Maybe he even meant that remark as an insult, but are you really going to let it ferment inside you like that? Grow up and talk it over like a big girl. You may find your relationship is better than it ever has been. Honesty has a way of doing that.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t embrace a good old-fashioned depression now and then. The last thing I want when I’m feeling down is for someone to make me feel guilty about being sad. Get out a full box of Keelnex® and have at it! Then put on your big person pants and go back to what you do best.
Plan your escape. Win over the customer. Kiss your boss’s backside. Love your spouse. Fix the problem. Prevent it from happening again. Say you’re sorry. Do something that keeps you true to YOU. Make yourself proud.
“It is what it is” never did anything but keep things stagnant.
Peace . . .