Choose the Bad Stuff to Get Happy


It’s easy to choose the good stuff in your life, but what about the crappy stuff?

Today I invite you to consider that choosing the crappy stuff is your ticket to happiness.

If you’ve coached with me in any capacity, you’ve heard me say over and over: “What you resist persists.”

It’s a great one liner, but it is challenging as heck to actually embrace the scary, frustrating and unpleasant aspects of yourself and life.

You know when you have something on your to-do list that you procrastinate about for months? When you finally take care of it you feel a huge weight off your shoulders, and it usually takes a fraction of the amount of time you thought it would. At that moment you realize how much time you’ve wasted stressing about it.

The first step to freeing up time and energy is to choose the unpleasant task. You could sub the word ‘choose’ for ‘accept,’ but choose feels more powerful and active. When you choose it you get it done. When you resist it you procrastinate and waste energy.

2 Sides to Every Story

I love to travel, but I hate to pack. Every adventure I go on requires some type of packing, be it my paddling gear for a lap on my favorite river, or a car load of stuff for a long road trip. I’m actually on a big road trip with my husband as I write this, and my resistance to packing has helped fuel arguments, added stress, and we left later than we had anticipated.

When I have the self-awareness to remember that when I choose to travel, I also choose to pack, I feel happier and the process goes smoother.

Another aspect of my life where I experience the power of choosing discomfort is in kayaking. Every time I paddle the Narrows of the Green I get nervous. Sometimes I’m so nervous that I ask myself why the heck I keep paddling this river. When I choose the nerves, and actually say to myself: “I’m feeling nervous today,” I create the mental energy I need to engage mindset strategies that work for me to paddle well and have fun.

On the other hand, when I resist the nerves and beat myself up for feeling nervous, then I spend way more energy on that negativity when I could spend it on trusting myself and doing what I need to do to paddle well.

Choosing the Really Bad Stuff

As I write this, I’m resisting writing about choosing the bad stuff, and that’s making me over-think and take longer to write this post.

After I miscarried during our second attempt to conceive a child through IVF, which was after several years of trying to start a family, my husband and I were gutted. I spent a lot of time being upset about my body’s inability to do what it seemed every healthy woman I knew at the time could do.

Once my husband and I not only accepted, but chose what was so, we created the space for us to ask this important question: We’re not creating children together, so what are we choosing to create together?

This question literally saved our marriage because we felt empowered to create a life full of contributions to the world that look different than having and raising children. We only got to that point by choosing our reality.

We couldn’t control what was happening to us, but we could choose to respond to what was so.

The tough stuff can take time to choose, and it’s important to honor grief and the grieving process. Just because you choose what’s so doesn’t mean that you won’t grieve the loss of someone or something that’s important to you.

There are still plenty of things that I’m resisting in my life – the deepening wrinkles on my face, my food choices at times, and the amount of responsibility I’ve taken on in my work, and as a volunteer. What I do know is that when I keep coming back to choosing what’s so my energy gets a little lighter, I get stuff done, and I experience more ease in my life.

What’s your take?

What’s your experience with with choosing vs resisting? I’d love to hear your greatest challenge and/or greatest success with choosing your life – all of your life – the good and the bad. Email me and let me know.