Suck it up, buttercup

By Martha O’Regan

“Suck it up, buttercup.”

Ahhh … what fabulous words of wisdom, don’t you think? Maybe not for everything we encounter in life but certainly in those moments where we get way too consumed by daily minutiae or with those folks who, from our perspective, “just don’t get it.”

I recently overheard a recap of a phone call between a woman and her life coach where this was the advice so graciously given — and just as graciously received.  The woman had called her coach to get some guidance in dealing with what I would personally call a rude houseguest. This house guest was a nephew who maybe had simply never learned how to be a gracious receiver and the hostess was getting more put out by the moment.  After sharing for several minutes all the “wrongs” of this young man who obviously didn’t “get it,” this wise coach simply said, “suck it up, buttercup,” meaning move on and don’t let this annoyance ruin your day or life.

The woman, quite surprised, then asked, “Did you just say suck it up, buttercup?”

When the coach replied, “yep,” the woman simply said, “OK then … buttercup signing off.”

As I listened to their recap, I heard nothing but gratitude for this simple advice as it was just what she needed to shift the energy in the moment, which ultimately shifted the energy for the day, the household, her mood, etc.  The coach admitted that she uses her own statement often in her own life when she realizes she is getting too hung up in things she cannot change nor are that important to change, and decided this was a perfect moment to share it.

For the days following that conversation, I have found myself giggling at the statement and even saying it to myself in similar moments, when I too, get so bogged down in the details that I forget to see the grand scheme of it all.

We all have situations or people who show up in our lives that will try to tweak our last nerve if we let them.  However, we are then giving it a whole lot of power over our health and well-being, especially if the tweaking last hours, days, weeks, years or decades, ultimately affecting our physiology. When we learn how to manage these annoyances, we take our power back and are able to find more joy and even compassion in the face of it.  Observing ourselves while in the presence of an irritating behavior or challenging situation allows us the opportunity to choose whether we take it as a personal assault or as an opportunity to practice my personal favorite, “non-judgmental compassion.”

Simply put, we are who we are based on the “big people” in our lives during those formative years and all subsequent people and experiences since. Most likely there are some of you thinking, “Oh s#*t, I don’t stand a chance,” based on some of your “big people.” But, no worries, you are still here so there must be more to learn. By the way, your big people are who they are because of their big people, which does help towards that non-judgmental compassion part.  So, rather than holding judgment that someone is wrong or bad, we learn to accept them for who they are and where they came from — their own “big people” and life lessons.

We can never change others. We can only choose change for ourselves.  Sometimes, that choice comes in the form of acceptance, a shift in perspective, or just sucking it up and letting it go in those moments of annoyance. I might add here that, personally, I would be very selective in using my “out loud” voice when sharing “suck it up, buttercup” to others. In the conversation that I have shared, it worked, but my gut tells me that the sentiment may get lost with others — based on their “big people” perspective.

A fun note is that the flower symbolism associated with buttercups is humility, neatness and childishness.  I think we can all afford to suck a little of all of that up in our lives!

Live Well … Have Fun!

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