This. Is. What. We. Do.
That’s the best advice I ever received. It came as parenting advice eight years ago when I was reeling from the reality of what having a new baby really felt like. The hormone happy haze was gone and I was caught in the past of how life used to be and fixated on the future of what I hoped it would be like again. Neither fantasy proved helpful as I coped with sleepless nights and the loss of any shred of control over my life.
My friend told me to just repeat the phrase, “This is what we do.” Over and over. Nearly nine years later, I have found that this advice has stuck with me and I use it on almost a daily basis.
For it to work, you need to use it in the exact right way. You cannot change the words. You cannot add words. It’s like this for a reason.
This. “This” is vague on purpose. “This” seems entirely normal and natural…everyone does “this.” The word “this” keeps the situation at an arms distance and helps create some breathing room.
Is. “Is” is right now. It’s not what we used to do. It’s not what we are going to do. This IS what we do. Today.
What. We need an adverb here. What else would you put in there? It’s definitely not a “This is how we do it” situation. I don’t have any major feelings about this word, other than it needs to be there.
We. The word “we” is very important, even if the situation is just about you. We is an implied group. “We” means we are all in this together. I don’t care if you don’t know who “we” actually is. It doesn’t work if you say “This is what I do.” Nope. You need an implied sense of community here. You are not alone, this is totally normal, “we” do this all the time.
Do. Yep, we do this. We do this and we move on. We might do it again, and again…it might last for years. But that’s ok. This is what we do. We won’t do it forever. But right now, we do this. And that’s ok.
This is the magical phrase, friends. Try it out the next time you are starting to feel overwhelmed. I kid you not, I think I use this every day. My first memory of using this phrase was when I was nursing my oldest in the middle of the night. I was so tired. I was so mad that I couldn’t sleep. So I tipped my head back, closed my eyes and just started repeating it to myself. It was zen in five words and has continued to bring me peace no matter the situation. Starting a new job, selling a house, muddy floors and a skunky dog. I have yet to find a situation where it doesn’t work.
This is what we do. And everything will be alright.