What People Actually Mean When They Say ‘Get Over Yourself’


Have you ever had someone tell you to “get over yourself?” This is a phrase that people use when they feel a person is focusing solely on themselves and possibly complaining too much about things.

Someone might also say this to you if they feel you are bragging or could be a little more humble. This statement comes from their perception of you and how they view your life.

Does this make them right? Should you get over yourself? What the heck does that even mean? The answers to all that can be found by keeping things in perspective.

So what does getting over yourself even mean? It means that you might want to make shifts in your perspective that result in behavioral changes. These behavioral changes will help you take yourself less seriously, look at problems with a new lens, and take steps to develop yourself. Do it because you realize these things might make your life more fulfilling, not just because someone else told you to!

Keep things in perspective

Getting over yourself has a lot to do with your perspective on things. Are you so focused on a particular outcome that you lose sight of the big picture? Are you speaking to yourself negatively?

In order to get over yourself, and get out of your own head, you have to change how you view things. For example, if you are complaining because things do not seem to go the way you want them to, really examine why that is.

Having an introspective conversation, based on fact, and not the internal monologue in your head will help you complain out loud less. This makes it less likely that someone’s response would be to “get over yourself.”

We get ourselves into these negative patterns of thinking for a few reasons. It could be because you aren’t putting in the work, but are still expecting a successful result. Maybe you are so determined to be on one path that you are missing the fact that you should do something entirely different.

When we treat minor problems as if they are long-term issues, it is easy to get in our way. According to registered psychotherapist Louise Parkinson, “A problem is only a problem when we decide it’s a problem.”

Coming to terms with this will help you get over the roadblocks you have placed in front of yourself, and will go a long way in helping you to be happier. Losing perspective can lead to worry, anxiety, and depression, but shifting your perspective can help you find alternative ways of understanding the challenges that you are facing. This shift can be one of gratitude, serving others, or deciding to work harder, all of which can bring you closer to finding meaning and make you happier.

Ask yourself:

  • Will this matter a week from now? Or a month? Or a year?
  • Am I making this bigger than it needs to be?
  • Why does this matter so much to me?

“One cannot control the actions of others, but we are responsible for what we do. People say things such as, “I can’t do this,” “it is not really me,” “this makes me uncomfortable,” etc. People, simply put, opt out of playing the game or doing so in a way that will make them successful. So get over yourself, and do what you need to do – and what, by the way, others around you are doing, to become more powerful.” – Jeffrey Pfeffer

Transcend the person you have conditioned yourself to be

These types of thoughts don’t happen overnight. We spend a lifetime telling our brain how to perceive and react to certain situations. I come from a background of childhood trauma and abandonment. For the longest time, when people wouldn’t answer me right away, I assumed it was because they were mad at me. This would happen even if the person had no reason to be mad at me.

I had to learn to get over myself and realize that not everything in someone else’s day revolved around whatever feelings they were having toward me. That doesn’t mean that my feelings and emotions weren’t valid, because everyone’s feelings matter! There are many reasons people don’t respond right away. They could be in a meeting, they could be away from their phone, they might even just be taking a nap.

None of these things have anything to do with you. It’s your perception of how worthy you are that clouds that your judgment. Sometimes, you need to actually build your self-esteem to get over yourself! This means changing your perspective to look toward what completes your life and not worrying about how you fit into everyone else’s.

“The path to self-esteem lies in getting over yourself. There is nothing to esteem about our smaller dramas; it’s our commitment to something beyond ourselves that is truly estimable to ourselves and others.” – Marianne Williamson

Don’t be so serious, we all make mistakes

Part of getting over yourself typically means that you don’t take yourself so seriously. So, if you do something incorrectly or embarrass yourself, just know there shouldn’t be any shame in your game.

I tripped up the stairs (yup; you read that right; I fell upstairs and not down them) once when I was in high school. It felt like everyone who was anyone saw me. I remember being beat red and embarrassed, but I stood up with tears in my eyes, dusted my pants off, and looked at my friend.

Before she could say anything, I laughed, and said, “Well, I fall down often enough to know I am a klutz, but it must take actual skill to fall up the stairs.” No one else said anything, but I am sure a few kids snickered. I didn’t care, the incident wasn’t worth any attention or extra thought.

After all, I am just one person in a sea of many, who took a tumble. There was no reason that needed to occupy my day. It has always been my philosophy to find humor in my mishaps.

The trauma of my childhood gave me a different perspective than most of my peers. They were worried about being embarrassed or made fun of and being popular. I didn’t want to become an addict like my mother who had left me behind and made as many decisions as I could to be different.

This often led to people thinking I was awkward, or that I thought I was smarter than everyone. It made for an uncomfortable high school experience, but it taught me a lot about perspective.

Now, when you have wronged someone else, or done something that requires an apology, you might want to skip the laughter. Instead, put your pride aside, and offer a sincere apology.

This doesn’t mean that you are weak, this means that you can get over yourself long enough to do the right thing. Apologizing when we are wrong helps build trust and strengthen our existing relationships. It will also make you more approachable and create deeper friendships.

Doesn’t that sound more enjoyable than being the person who is always right, because they take themselves so seriously, and can’t fathom making a mistake?

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.” – Gautama Buddha

Face your fear

Our fears can cause us to avoid things we shouldn’t and hold us back from living the life we want. This can turn into us complaining about life, which might elicit the response, “get over yourself,” from someone else. Fears are difficult to get over, but when they stop you from advancing in your career, your health, or your relationships then you should definitely try to get over yourself!

According to Amy Morin, LCSW, “If you find that your fear holds you back or creates bigger problems in your life, facing your fear may help you learn to better cope with the fear and ultimately overcome it. Common ways of facing your fears are evaluating the risks, creating an action plan, seeing a therapist, and being sure not to completely avoid your fears.”

Do you complain about life because of something you are afraid to do? Do you hate that job, and want to leave to become a baker, but you are afraid of failure? Fear of change holds so many of us back from our dreams, but a simple change of perspective can help!

Instead of asking, “What happens if I fail,” ask yourself what could happen if you succeed. What if your bakery shop exceeds your wildest imagination? What would life look like then? This perspective shift will help you get over yourself in the best way! It is your choice which path you take, so be brave, and take a leap.

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer

“Get over yourself” might start out as a phrase that someone hurls in your direction. However, keeping things in perspective, or learning to shift your perspective, can help you get over yourself in ways that are productive and help you live a more fulfilled and happy life.

I think we can all get behind getting over ourselves if we do it in a way that makes life better for ourselves and our loved ones. Share some stories about how you got over yourself for the better in the comment section below.



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