A couple of days ago Michaela Fox wrote on news.com that she hated the expression “Everything happens for a reason.” You can read her article at:
According to her:
It is hollow, largely meaningless, and can be downright patronising. And it’s almost always unhelpful and inappropriate. Does this sentiment include suffering, grief, and early death? The implication that everything happens for a reason only serves to dismiss someone’s experience and feelings, particularly when they are suffering. I understand that when people are trying to be helpful, all they can think of are cliches. But often it can make people feel worse, not better.
I will add to that a similar phrase that is equally unhelpful, annoying and, in its encouragement of acceptance of a situation, is a poster child for inertia- “It is what it is.”
Some explanations and definitions from the online Urban Dictionary . . .
Used often in the business world, this incredibly versatile phrase can be literally translated as "fuck it."
The client changed the deadline to today? Well, it is what it is.__________
A) A phrase that seems to simply state the obvious but actually implies helplessness.
B) A phrase that seems to simply state the obvious but actually means "it will be what it is," as in "it ain't gonna change, so deal with it or don't." See also tough shit, oh well, cry me a river and tfb.*
*Too fucking bad
A trite, overused and infuriatingly meaningless cliche that is utilized by provincials who think they are adding some deep, meaningful insight during a discussion when all they are offering is senseless, unwarranted repetitiveness to what would otherwise be a far better conversation had they not shown the shallowness of the gene pool they spawned from by using this asininely useless and redundant phrase to begin with.
The origin of the phrase is indeterminate. Certainly it has been associated with various sports, notably football, for many years.
The earliest published reference is from a 1949 column about pioneering by J.E. Lawrence in the Nebraska State Journal:
“New land is harsh, and vigorous, and sturdy. It scorns evidence of weakness. There is nothing of sham or hypocrisy in it. It is what it is, without apology.”
There are many earlier examples of the use of the phrase in books, although not necessarily with the meaning of a resigned acceptance of the state of something. As an example:
1836, John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding:
“Essence may be taken for the being of any thing, whereby it is what it is.”
Some variations . . .
One final thought:
This expression, in its philosophy, isn't much better . . .