Anthony Meindl- BACKSTAGE (top)101012There’s a military saying, “Embrace the suck.”

It’s a very Buddhist concept. When we deny what reality is giving us, we create suffering. So life is a dance between minimizing expectations and surrendering to what our lives actually reveal to us.

By embracing our lives totally (even the stuff that “sucks”), we get through them. The Armed Forces have no other choice. If they’re out in the Iraqi desert or in the mountains of Afghanistan, the only way they’re going to get through those challenging experiences is by embracing them.

But for us with our modern conveniences and propensity for denial, we can distract ourselves, numb ourselves, fool ourselves over and over to avoid, disconnect, ignore, postpone, procrastinate and put our heads in the sand when we don’t want to look at what is.

And that’s ironic since the denial of something simply extends its presence.

So even though “the suck” sucks, the prolonging of it makes it even suckier. For longer.

So why do we do it?


The neuroplasticity of our brains fires neurons that support the habit. In the long run we’d be much happier, expressive and creative if we rebooted our neural wiring and developed a different habit. But in the short-term, we’re willing to sacrifice our long-term goals and possibilities because the moment would require us to let go of habits that keep us stuck. The alternative is the unknown, which is scarier than “the suck,” so we just reboot the old neural wiring.

The poet, David Whyte, says, “Anything or anyone that does not bring you fully alive is too small for you.”

If we can identify how we play too small and find the corresponding habit that keeps us stuck there, we can change the neural wiring to create something much more beneficial for us.

A lot of the things that make us feel as if we’re not fully alive are self-imposed paradigms and dialogues we have with ourselves. We might say things that are unkind to ourselves and we don’t agree with, but we say them anyway. Simply because they’re habituated.

Or we might be playing too small by the actions we take (or don’t take).

We might watch too much porn. Spend too much time on the phone. Drink too much. Want to stop smoking. We might have a friend who’s hurt us and we’ve not shared how we feel. We might be dating someone who’s cheating on us and we know it but we stay in the relationship, hoping it will get better.

Prolongs “the suck.”

What if this week, you wrote down five things that don’t make you fully alive? Examine why they are at play in your life. What could you do to make changes to eliminate them?

Eliminating them requires awareness of that which often “sucks.” Then, no longer avoiding it, we embrace the sucky quality to get to the other side. Transformation.

You can do it. If it’s not making you fully alive, you’ve outgrown the need (or pay-off) of this thing anyway.

Be brave. Have faith. Move on to the next level of your growth without looking back and feel fully, inspiringly, dynamically alive. It’s how you were meant to feel.

You just forgot because you got used to “the suck.”




Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer/director/producer/teacher and Artistic Director of Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop – where the “right brain rules” – in Los Angeles and New York. He is endlessly inspired by his students’ fearless creativity and is tireless in discovering new ways to help us all get out of our own way a little bit more each day. He just finished writing/directing his first feature film, Birds of A Feather.



Twitter –  @AnthonyMeindl

  • Maria

    Thank you for the beautiful reminder, I strongly needed to hear this today.

  • Arynetta

    This post is so right on time for me this morning. Your are an official Angel of Synchronicity. Thank you!

  • I wanna get used to more fabulosity, more play, laughter and joyous ease in my life. No space for “suck” in there 🙂

  • Jenn

    I’m debating with my husband on divorce. The relationship can be so good. We’ve Been married for 12 years, but there are some aspects that really ‘sit’ in the ‘suck’ column. If we don’t work on the relationship it won’t get better…then the suck. And in our past, we are both guilty of not working on the issues we needed to focus on. Is this the relationship we should say goodbye to? Is this the jumping off point where we start living the life of who we should be – apart? Making life decisions like this can also…suck. Any advice?

    • AutonomousMan

      Dear guest, you are beautiful in mind body & soul for the love that you are & have for your husband. I believe you have answered your own question & voiced it out loud? Re-read what you wrote? You say it can be so good so hold onto that believe & communicate with him openly about how your feeling. I wouldn’t mention the divorce word as he may go into overdrive as men do(I am a mere male). Write down what you want in the relationship to improve on & so you are prepared for the discussion. Make sure he is relaxed & not tired, having a stressful moment from work etc. Youay even be able to coax him in the right direction. If he truly lives you which I have no doubt he does as you’ve been together 12 years he world is you believe it or not as once a man gives it his all they are yours! He & you have probably become comfortable & have stopped doing the necessary loving actions to spice your relationship up again. Even to the point are you going on “date nights” once a month,fortnight,week etc. Another one is each decide what happens on that date night entirely and then the other the next one. Nothing surprises man more than his partner ravishing him when he walks through the door or unexpectedly somewhere….(you get the picture). But yourself done new lingerie as this makes you feel sexy & gauge his response- it works every time. Catch up at his or your work for a lunch date/coffee, there are so many ideas. Basically bring the spontaneous fun back again & you’ll both be revitalised. If you have children babysitter time. When is the last time you had a romantic holiday together? As a general rule we all should go at least once a year and within our budget/means. Go away for weekends, and look on the net for what’s happening where you live….events, art galleries, bush hikes, walking along the beach at sunset with a picnic hamper is one of my all time favourites. I’m now single after 15 years unfortunately as I got caught up in building the dream when in reality I was neglecting the dream-my soulmate. I was building our 6 house though & my goal was to retire at 40. I’m 36 now. She was a social worker/teacher & never asked me to stop or communicated about it with me as I was doing 100 hours a week for 6 months. Do the maths as I was a zombie. I’m lucky we didn’t have a child as I wanted one(I’m not sure she did now lol) & even though I was heart broken I see it as a journey that wasn’t meant to be & am so much happier for it as where I am today. My love goes out to you and your man & remember there are many on here that haven’t been in a loving relationship for this long & until they have they will never understand what it takes to grow together as love is everything x
      Sending limitless rays of love your way,

    • Guest,
      I agree with Michael’s post (below). He gave great advice, in my opinion too.
      What I want to add is if you’re NOT SURE if it’s time to call it quits, then it’s not. I was with my last bf for 2 years (I know, 2 is a LOT different than 12). We did live together though, and I thought he was the one I’d be with forever. For months, off and on I’d have doubts. Doubts if he was the one for me. At times I felt like I “knew” he wasn’t, and other times I felt like I “knew” he was. There were good times and not good times. But finally one day I REALLY knew. He arrived home after a couple days away visiting his family and I knew, without a doubt, that I needed to end the relationship. When I saw his car pull up (early, at that), all I wanted to do was cry. I was not happy to see him. I just didn’t want him there. I had had this feeling off and on before, but something clicked in that last time and I knew. We had a talk that day, or it might have been the next day, and he moved out by the end of the week! I admit, I had flashes of fear then, that I was making a mistake…but I knew it was the right thing for my Spirit. And now, about 4 months later, I have no regrets. Well, at least not about ending the relationship.

      If you still have feelings of love for your husband, and believe he does for you, then DO something. As David said, dressing up in something sexy to surprise him when he gets home from work would be a good idea. See how he responds to that. Or if you’re not comfortable doing something like that, then just sit down and have a talk with him. Again, as David pointed out, try your best to make sure it’s not coming after he’s had a bad day at work, or during a big sporting event, or when you don’t have much time. But really, whenever you feel it needs to come out, let it out! Tell him how you feel and that you NEED the both of you to make an effort in the relationship. If he’s not responsive to your needs and gets defensive or dismisses what you say, then you might want to reevaluate how much he’s really IN the relationship. Is he in it for convenience, or out of laziness… or does he REALLY love you and is willing to give you what you need and want? If your needs aren’t being met, in any way, first you have to tell him. Then, if he KNOWS what you need and still chooses not to do it… THEN it might be time to leave. That’s my opinion.

      Much love and peace to you!! Listen to your heart!


    • Thanks for reading and you have an amazing community of supportive people here to help you!!

  • kimjbright

    Thanks for the encouragement to eliminate or quit behaviors and habits that don’t serve us anymore. Sometimes, as much as we think the process of letting go is suckier than the habit we’ve formed – I too believe there’s a SWEETNESS past the SUCK that will rock our lives, if we just hang in there. Bless!

  • I still love that quote, “Anything or anyone that does not bring you fully alive is too small for you.” That is an excellent barometer by which to measure the people and things in your life. Jobs, relationships, commitments, clubs, committees, friends… anything. I just let go of the part-time job that had grown “too small” for me. I’m now turning my focus back to MY business… writing, blogging, volunteering with animals… and I’m super excited. I have MY time back!

    “Embrace the suck.” Love that too! 🙂 If you can’t CHANGE it, then embrace it! For sure! It’s like those unpleasant tasks that no one likes to do. For me it’s mowing the grass. Putting it off only makes it worse. Yet, here I sit, looking out the window of my home, seeing the tall grass in my yard! *sigh* I need to “embrace the suck” and get out there and cut that grass! 🙂


    • Thanks so much for sharing – insightful as always, Sarah! Have a wonderful day!! xoxo

  • Exactly what I needed to be reminded of – Thank You!

  • On what started as a sucky day…you gave me hope and a little lightness. Thank you Anthony!

  • Teresa

    What amazing words… It takes a lot of strength A LOT to embrace the suck and go through a transformation but the reward is truly worth it!!! I have noticed so many people in society don’t either do it because they don’t realize it even exists or they are just soo filled with anxiety or depression, they just can’t muster the strength … These are the people I want to reach out and help. I try everyday in my personal life or people I come across in society. It makes me sad to see people so forlorn and living their everyday life with the belief that change isn’t possible when it is so very real for them… I have no idea where I got the knowledge to know that healing my inner wounds, self worth, being happy and leaving situations that aren’t good for me is what I have every right to do let alone that is how we find inner peace and happiness… I am truly grateful for that knowing. I have has my share of pain and heartbreak but am a stronger happier woman who is independent and carefree:-) I have worked very hard on myself and will always work on myself. It is what we need to do to be find happiness and be at inner peace. Thank you!