How to really start showing up for your life

There is a cliche saying ‘get comfortable with discomfort’

A few years ago I would roll my eyes at this saying that OBVIOUSLY does not apply to me. Now, this saying is like a daily reminder about how I want to LIVE life.

About six years ago it hit me that I was living my life on autopilot.

I was complacent in my health, my relationships, my parenting, my home, in everything [related: Running Makes Me Cry].

I just let life happen to me. Then I complained about how crappy it was [related: Mom Martyr].

mom reflecting on day

Why was I stuck on autopilot?

Why was I stuck on autopilot? One part was that I never opened my eyes to my right/responsibility to be the guide of my life. The other major part was because it was familiar, it was comfortable.


The cost of autopilot living

When we are on autopilot we are asleep to where we have control in our lives and how we can use this control to build up the life we want to be living.

When we live by default we will spend our daily life in a cycle of avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. It is the easiest way to get through the day.

We are making decisions to stay comfortable. But in this state of maintaining comfort, we are also not pursuing the life that we crave, the things that would be fruitful in our lives. We aren’t taking action that we would feel deeply proud of. We are just getting through the day. 

[related 191. Are you idling on your goals or moving them forward (passive action vs massive action)

We might be ‘comfortable’, but we aren’t feeling happy. 

And here is where we have let ourselves down, we think that it is normal always to be happy.  Therefore something is wrong with us if we are unhappy (or even worse, when those around us are unhappy [Should ‘Happy Kids’ Be Our Parenting Goal?]).

Then we feel unhappy about being unhappy (we double down on unhappiness). At this point, most of us turn to little ways to make us feel better and avoid feeling the ick. Usually, we turn to the nearest available indulgence, an easy hit. We turn to social media, food, drink, complaining, judging, binging waffles, shopping.

I don’t say this to point fingers. I say this because I live this too.

What do we turn to make us feel ‘better’ and ‘more comfortable’? Is it serving us? Is it life-giving or, ultimately, making our lives harder?

We might be choosing ways of seeking comfort that are actually making us more uncomfortable in the long run. Habits, addictions, sneak eating the pantry every naptime (been there), pulling away from others. These things do not make our lives better, they usually make them harder. 


Living a life that fulfils us, feels authentic, and feels life-giving is an uncomfortable thing to get. In my experience, it is uncomfortable to muster up bravery, to make hard decisions, to operate with commitment rather than comfort, and do the hard work rather than look for the easy way out. 

But as we go through the motions, what we learn is that avoiding discomfort keeps us stuck which can sometimes be a lot more painful than experiencing the discomfort itself.

[related: 142. What will change cost you? (Paying the status quo or investing in change)]

how overwhelm effects us in motherhood

What happens when we keep avoiding the discomfort of showing up for our lives?

  • We tune out our emotional self and lose touch with how we are feeling and why (then we wonder why others tune us out).
  • We develop a very low tolerance for negative emotions in ourselves (and those around us [Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children]).
  • We start to rely on these false pleasures to help us numb our negative feelings (which might lead to addiction or habits we feel shame over).
  • We spend a lot of energy avoiding negative feelings and it burns us out (which makes us feel even crappier).
  • We just kinda stop showing up for our life because it isn’t ‘happy’ and then we are bummed out that our life isn’t what we want it to be [What is the Life You Want?].


Over the past few years, I have been practicing ‘being uncomfortable’. I wanted to live my actual life as it was, negative and uncomfortable feelings and all – rather than coast on comfortable.

I have committed myself to paying attention to how I am feeling and to the ways I am checking out. 


I will tell you this, it sucks.

It sucks realizing the things that make me uncomfortable.

Try this, make a list of the things that you tried to avoid or flat out avoided because they made you uncomfortable. Things you avoid in parenting, in relationships, in social settings, in your health, in your heart, in your home. 

I made this list and it was gross to be so honest and also, so eye-opening to the life I was avoiding. 

It also plain sucks sitting with this discomfort. Just letting it be there without reacting to it (stress and negative self-talk) or distracting from it (give me all the sugar and quick fixes). When this discomfort shows up my brain instantly spazzes into a fury of winces and doubts about it because it just wants to do what it has always done: stay comfortable, avoid pain.


Before I started looking for ways to let myself sit with discomfort I would have thought this cliche saying ‘get comfortable with discomfort’ was only for hustling mega-preneurs or professional volleyball players. No, it is for everyone because everyday life is uncomfortable.


When someone disagrees with you (like, my husband is allowed to think whatever he wants and doesn’t have to agree with me??!). [related: 162. Think the best of me, or not]

When you are alone at home and you feel restless or lonely. [related: 185. Emotional needs in motherhood]

When you are frustrated but can’t quite put your finger on it so you start looking for reasons to be mad at life.

When you are talking to someone and you aren’t sure if they dislike you or if you are in your own head and reading into everything (can I ever just assume the best? What is that about?!).

When your kids have been crying/whining/fighting and it is 4:52pm and you are mentally exhausted (every day) and want to punch the clock on parenting and just make the tension go away.


As I said, this is gross and humbling. This is the work of living life on purpose, of being intentional, of making a change – this is the work people don’t often share because it isn’t glamorous and self-promoting. . . . .

But see what it is telling us? See where the light shines through the cracks? On relationships, on living a passionate life, on being responsible for your own feelings, on showing up in your life, your work, your marriage, your motherhood. The hard and life-giving work of experiencing life.

the mental burden of motherhood

The truth that we need to remember

What it all comes down to, what I tell myself and my clients is this truth:

You can stay where you are, and that is uncomfortable.

Or you can make a change, and that is uncomfortable. 

So choose your discomfort.

One is familiar and keeps you on this path of status quo. The other is new and intimidating but will lead you to your desired life. 


More support with this: 

10 thoughts on “How to really start showing up for your life”

  1. This is truely one of the greatest articles I’ve read. So raw and honest and true. I read a lot of articles that I like but rarely leave comments. This one moved me enough to leave a comment and enough to think differently. Thank you!

  2. Hi, I am very shy about expressing myself on the social media, but this article made me come out of my uncomfortable feeling and putting in this comment and showing something has changed for the better in me. Thank you for this lovely article.

  3. Wow! Trying to start a conversation with my husband about separation and keep putting it off – completely align with the whole article – I need to ‘man up’ and start this conversation, for the sake of both our long term happiness.

    • Kylie Do it as soon as possible ,just do it! Sorry for being so harsh . I am separated for about 10 years took a lot from me and a couple of girlfriends to actually to get me out of the house. I am so relieved and a lot happier , I was having health problems living in the same house with us separate rooms. We agreed that after my son went to college we would go our own way. My problem was not able to get this in writing selling the house. I’m stuck with no money but am okay with my kids and my fulltime job. My ex verbally abuse me. So it took a lot of courage to move out. If your not happy you have to take that first step and do it! Good Luck

  4. Thank you for this article. It is indeed one of the best self help articles out there. I am stuck in a very toxic relationship and as you say, I keep putting off the separation because is uncomfortable and painful.
    But so is staying in this relationship. I think it’s even more painful long term to stay.

    • Thanks for sharing Mara. These are hard choices to make and noticing what hurts in the short term versus the long term can help us decide what we truly want for our lives.

  5. It’s actually funny how I relate to everything/examples you mentioned except marriage since I’m so very single, I am a mother of two at 28, studying, freelancing, but I’m so bad at relationships and prioritizing myself. Guess this article was tailor made for me to learn to flex my “No” muscle and decide on my discomfort. Thank you


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