“That’s Just How It Is”

In the last week alone, I’ve come across a lot of variants of this phrase.
* That’s just how it is.
* That’s how it works.
* I’m just stating the obvious.
* I’m just being honest.
* Just stating the facts.
I’m sure you can come up with plenty of variants of your own. You’re talking about a problem and trying to come up with solutions, and someone – kindly or otherwise – points out that you’re not being realistic because “that’s just the way things are”. Accept the problem. Stop daydreaming and wishing things were different. Face facts.

Heck, I’ve even used the phrase myself. Sometimes you have to be realistic, right?

Well, no.

I DO have to face facts. I have to accept what life is like, here and now. I do not have to accept that this is how things will always be.

Look at it this way. Let’s take a fact. People can’t walk through walls. Question: is there a physical, chemical or biological reason that it must be true? Yes, there is a physical reason – walls are solid. Okay, then it’s a fact. People can’t walk through walls. I accept that.

Most of the times you hear the phrase, it will not be referring to that sort of fact. It will be talking about the current situation, based on our current behaviour. And unlike the laws of physics, our behaviour can change – and does, all the time.

So next time you hear someone say “that’s just how it is”, make sure you ask yourself the follow-up: “Is that just how it HAS to be?”. And if not, go right ahead and try to change things.

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