In the motion picture Moonstruck, Loretta (played by Cher) forcefully slaps Ronny (played by Nicolas Cage) in the face and screams, “Get Over it!”
To “Get Over It” is the Italian version of “Face it, Now!” The stoics offer “Face it, Now!” as a simple solution for anyone that suddenly finds themselves unable to manage their emotions re: an issue, conflict or a negative situation. Growing up in an English household, I thought we were being stoic in our ability to suppress negative feelings.
Actually, the truth is quite the opposite. As Ryan Holiday points out in the “The Daily Stoic,” stoics “intend to teach us to face, process and deal with negative situations and emotions immediately instead of running from them.”
“Face it, Now!” is a stoic “stop” command to prevent negative feelings from gaining a foothold and interfering with your intentions for the moment. In short, you must train yourself to meet the fear, pain or anger head on and accept it as part of life.
After the recent riots in our nation’s capital, I spent the next three days attempting to Face it, Now! Breathing, walking and discussing the events with people I trust. My first response was sadness. How could the people that are responsible for our well-being be so confused about what is right. Next came the anger at those individuals that felt the riot was justified.
In order to resolve my own cognitive dissonance, I finally began to work the GED (Grateful/Excited/Devoted) process: The ability to settle down and improve and strengthen my perception, actions and the will to reframe the situation and find the lesson.
In truth, any time you are upset there is a lesson to be learned. And, if you learn the lesson early you will experience the growth and save yourself a lot of grief. However, if you don’t learn the lesson the Universe will keep presenting the upset until you learn the lesson.
A function of Gratitude that provides the awareness that comes when you are able to breathe, go deep and settle down…and recognize the opportunity that the upset represents.
In this case the breathing I needed was excessive and continuous for three days and to a lesser degree continues. As soon as I recognize myself getting upset, I work the process and feel the relief.
Reflection: The ability to Go Deep allowed me to literally push through the sadness and anger to work my own GED program. It’s amazing how my negative emotions fueled my upset and prevented me from settling down and facing my issues. My issues in this case are twofold. One, I don’t like bullies that want to use intimidation to control the situation. And two, I’m a team guy and I want everyone to want to cooperate and not continue to blame and bash one another.
As a function of the Excitement that provides the positive energy to respond to the situation that is upsetting you in the best possible way. To accept the challenge and Face it Now! To eliminate any and all frustration and anger, especially in light of the fact that you have no control over this situation or the recurrence of this upset.
Reflection: The ability to settle down and respond with effective communication allowed me to accept the situation. I can now face the fact that the riots were bound to happen given the level of frustration and the lack of cooperation between the two political parties. The real solution will come when the parties can begin to trust and support the process as set out in our democracy.
As a function of Devotion, the will power to learn the lesson and incorporate the learning to become a better listener and team player. To link gratitude, excitement and devotion to capture the lessons and get better at being able to face this and other upsets in the now!
Keep it Real: Face it, Now!
The process described here works as you learn to:
- Recognize and respond to the red–flags, early warning signs, the thoughts and feelings that represent the need to settle down.
- Master the breathing that allows you to settle down and bring yourself present.
- Determine whether you have control over the situation.
- Respond the best possible way realizing that negative emotions take away from your ability to be present and give your best effort.
- Record the learning.
This process works equally well to resolve upsets that prevent you from being present in your work, relationships and play. Remember this: anytime you’re upset there’s a lesson to be learned.
If you don’t “Face it, Now,” these issues will burrow into your unconscious and surface in the most unpleasant ways. And at the worst possible times! The challenge is to rewrite these stories, talk them out with someone you trust or both to resolve these upsets. This way earlier and similar drama won’t bring up negative responses every time they strikes you!