What do you do when things start to suck?

When you’re fixating on something you’re afraid of, or when you’re deep in anxiety, sadness, or frustration?

A lot of us turn to thought work to help us feel better – we use it to uncover all the thoughts that are causing us pain, and change them so we can get some relief. This is a great approach – often it works swimmingly and you’re able to alleviate some of your negative thoughts and feelings.

But if you find that it’s not working, it’s usually because you are resisting your negative emotions and trying to use thought work to avoid ever actually experiencing them. 

And if that’s the case?

I want you to embrace the suck.

I know that this isn’t the most Pinterest-worthy advice out there. It’s still useful.

Ask yourself: What if it were ok for things to suck sometimes?

What if we could accept that things sucking sometimes was a part of life?

What if we could embrace it?

Think about it: So much of our pain comes from not wanting to experience the suck.

We learn thought work and we think, “well my experience of this only sucks because of the thoughts I’m having about it – so let me just change my thoughts!”

Yes, it is absolutely true that your thoughts are creating your experience of suckage…AND what if instead of trying to change that experience, you were just willing to accept your full range of emotions?

What if you accepted that having a human brain means experiencing positive and negative emotions in equal measure?

What if that was a feature of being human and not a flaw?

Embracing the suck can change everything.

If it was ok for things to suck sometimes, then you wouldn’t feel such a rush to move past the negative emotions. You wouldn’t feel the need to try and control everything and everyone in your life to prevent any future suck.

You could break up with your partner or quit your job or put yourself out there without fear for what future sucky feelings those decisions might bring, because you would accept that future suck is inevitable. 

Because it is. AND future joy is inevitable. Which is the part we tend to forget.

Truly, no matter what your circumstances are, you will experience the joy and the suck of life.

If you’re single and you want a partner, your brain will make your experience suck 50% of the time by telling you how much better life would be if you were in a relationship. And 50% of the time you’ll enjoy being single.

If you get a partner, your brain will make that suck 50% of the time by telling you that you should change your partner’s behavior or that you should get a new one. And 50% of the time you’ll enjoy the relationship.

Whatever it says, whatever you do, it will guarantee suckage about 50% of the time – and positive feelings 50% of the time.

When you accept that reality, you have no reason to frantically coach yourself out of feeling something – or into believing that even if something you fear for the future comes to pass, it won’t be hard.

You’ll just know that some of the time your life will suck.

Just as some of the time, it will feel great.

If you get dumped, if you get sick, if you get fired, if you quit – all of that is going to suck some of the time, and it will also *not suck* some of the time, because you’ll still be a human living a human life where you will have a mix of emotions.

It will still be the same – same feelings, same mixture of positive and negative about half of the time, no matter how the external circumstances of your life change.

And that is where the true beauty of embracing the suck is.

Because once you accept the inevitability of the suck, then you can think about how you want to show up through it.

You can decide that you will use it as an opportunity to learn about your brain, to learn about yourself.

You can choose how you want to show up to experience something that challenges you, even (especially!) when you can’t yet see the lesson or the value or the end result of doing so.

That, my friends, is where we find our purpose, our meaning, and our resilience in life.

It’s easy to show up for endless brownies and orgasms and joy. Everyone can do that.

But not everyone can show up for the suck.

Not everyone is willing to tolerate the suck, let alone welcome it into their lives.

But this is exactly how you grow. How you show up for the suck is what will move you forward in life. It’s how you create meaning for your life.

I want you to think about the most formative, character-defining experiences of your life. The times you learned something valuable, rose to the occasion and saw what you were capable of doing and being.

Were they the easy, blissful times of your life?

Of course not.

Most likely, they were experiences where you tried and failed a lot, faced insurmountable odds, and surprised yourself at your resiliency and your capacity to show up for yourself and others.

These are the experiences that define us, that bring meaning to our lives.

Whoever you are called to be, whoever you are capable of being – that person comes to light in how you show up for the suck.

There is nothing to fear. The suck is simply a part of life.

So how do you want to show up for it?

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