- Zachary Sullivan
Wait: It Gets Better
“Wait, it will get better.”
This sentiment gets old. Fast. Sometimes it seems it’s all people are able to say when you bring them your struggles. And most of the time, it’s also the last thing you want to hear. It’s frustrating when everyone you know can only seem to tell you to wait, wait, and wait some more, but they can’t seem to give you a timeframe. They can’t give you an explanation for how it’ll get better; they can’t give you a direction to go to find this seemingly mythical “better,” but they keep promising that it’s there. It’s frustrating, angering, and gets so old. Eventually, you start questioning if they’re right or if this “it gets better” is just some involuntary assurance that doesn’t mean anything.
But here’s the thing: more often than not, they’re very much right.
With the number of times I have been told this, I know it gets old really fast. However, I’ve also told other people this dozens of times, and so I know that most of the time, it’s a completely sincere response, and the person saying it believes it. This old bit of advice is something that’s beyond important for you to hold onto in your struggles. Believing that a situation or problem can and will get better is almost half the fight.
There’s an analogy my mom was told a while ago about trusting in this kind of advice: Think of your struggle as standing in the middle of a fire. It's hot, you’re panicking, and smoke is everywhere. Think of the smoke as your internal experience with your struggle. The smoke from this fire blinds you to the path out. In this way, your own experience with your struggles can sometimes blind you from the best way out of that struggle. Now, look at the person giving you advice and walking through your fight with you as someone standing just outside of the fire. They can see you in the middle of the fire, blindly searching for an exit. They can see the clearest path, and they can see that you’re getting close to it, but for you, the smoke is still all you can see. They tell you it’s okay, that you’re on your way out, and that it’s going to get better as long as you keep trying. And they know this because, for them, there’s no blinding smoke. But to you, it’s still just a blind search.
This analogy is not to say that you can’t get out of your situation on your own or that you should blindly trust anyone and everyone who tries to help you. However, it is meant to illustrate that sometimes an outside view of your situation can be more accurate than you think, and sometimes those outside perspectives are worth listening to and believing.
All in all, “wait, it gets better” is a bit of advice that isn’t going away anytime soon, because it’s true. Everyone knows that it’s and an old, sore piece of advice, but it’s just as true to your situation as it was to that person giving you the advice when they were struggling. So just keep this in mind: some cliches are cliches for a reason.