‘It will be OK,’ those four words sound nice, they comfort us. But there are three words that sound even better: ‘It is OK.'
The phone call was about finding a new car, and when we closed it off, I said: ‘Oh well, it’ll be OK.’
‘It is OK,’ the acquaintance who helped me said. Huh, I thought, after we hung up. ‘What does he mean, it is OK?’ I kept thinking about it. It was a simple sentence, but its beauty and truth needed some time to sink in. It’s OK.
Now. This moment.
I allowed it to cross my mind, at several random moments. When I was working, on the train. On the phone with my mom. With one of my children, watching TV. Brushing my teath. It’s already OK. And every time I thought: yes, he’s right. It had a strange effect. By thinking ‘It’s already OK’, random moments became beautiful. But why was that?
1. It helps to be ‘in the moment’
The sentence gets you into the moment. It’s a quick and simple way to focus on the present. All the things around you, the people you talk to, your own worries, that’s life, right here and now.
2. It helps to stop judging
There’s a difference between ‘it’ll be OK’ and ‘it is OK’. The first contains of trust in the future, but it also means that, apparently, things aren’t OK yet. By thinking ‘it is OK’, you accept the present for what it is. Without judgment.
3. It brings you gratitude
The sentence ‘It’s OK already’ adds a little glow to the little moments – the ones when you don’t realize how special they are. The little moments when nothing special happens. You’re in the garden and notice swifts. You’re at work, a colleague passes by. On the phone, talking to someone you care about. What you’re telling yourself is: this is a pleasant moment. That’s what makes you grateful.
But does it make sense?
At the same time, after a while, I noticed I wanted to resist it. Because, after all, life isn’t always OK, right? There are times when life is unpleasant, or painful, or sad. When you hit your finger with a hammer, you said something you regret. Moments when things don’t go the way you’d want them to.
‘So we just leave it at this?’ I texted to the wise acquaintance, obstinately.
‘Well, of course you can do something about things, but it’s more pleasant to do so from a starting point of acceptance – in my experience,’ he replied. And again, I was silent. Because in the end, that’s what it’s all about: acceptance. Saying ‘It’s OK’, doesn’t mean you necessarily agree with what happens. All it means, is that you let go of the idea things should be different. That you no longer resist what the situation is.
It means accepting you’re here right now, in this situation. Not fighting what is. It’s as if you’re sending a cosmic message of comfort into the world – which, in fact, only helps you to remain calm. Which makes it easier to see what you could do to improve things.
Here we go again
Yes, it sounds wonderful, but then you want to write a little article about the sentence ‘It’s OK already’ and suddenly your mouse is empty, and the cable to charge it is nowhere to be found. So annoying! Especially on a day like this, when everything seems to go wrong. Here we go again!
Wait. Be quiet.
‘It’s OK already’, I said. I breathed and looked for the cable once more, and found it in its right place. Where I didn’t look. Where I would never have found it if I had kept frustrating about things that don’t go as I planned, and kept looking in hundreds of places, except for where it was, ready for me.
That’s not just how it works with cables, but also with happiness.
Text: Anne Wesseling - Photo: Ben White