(like) water off a duck’s back


Meaning: You can say an insult or criticism is like water off a duck’s back if it doesn’t upset you.

Origin: Probably related to the fact that ducks have oily feathers and water can’t get through them, so water runs off their backs. In the same way, criticism can either get through to someone and upset them, or not get through to them and not upset them, and be “like water off a duck’s back.”

When dealing with difficult situations, individual responses vary.  Some people seem to make a “mountain out of a molehill,” while others treat situations like “water off a duck’s back.”  Depending on our own reactions to complex situations, we might wonder why someone else may overreact (or if you are a person who takes things seriously, why the other person does not seem to care).  Nonetheless, these popular sayings help us put often unpleasant situations into perspective.  Thus, by looking at the “bigger picture,” individuals are able to approach difficult situations with a clearer mind and avoid emotional-charged reactions. 

For many, myself included, looking at the bigger picture is not easy.  That means having to compromise and keep from letting our own opinions overpower the situation.  Sure, we all want things the way we see fit, but unfortunately things don’t work that easy.  At least, not if you enjoy being around other people and want to live life as it comes! 

Looking at the bigger picture is not a bad thing.  Ever hear the saying, “a blessing in disguise”?  Some things not-so-pleasant happens, and later a person finds out the situation worked out better in the end!  Could it be fate, or might positive thinking attract opportunities?  So, remember the next time your dealing with a difficult situation.  Try not to let the little details keep you from seeing the bigger picture. 

Describe a difficult situation that you or someone you know experienced that turned out better than expected.

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