“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.” - Brene Brown
We live under a constant, silent pressure. Dream big, be impressive, make a difference. It’s inspiring. It’s also oppressive. Sometimes this expectation is crushing. It can crush the joy out of your everyday moments and small accomplishments.
Sure, you made a nice risotto and enjoyed a glass of wine on the sunny patio, but what did you really DO today? Are you closer to your dreams? Did you make a real difference? Are you ever enough?
This shit can get exhausting.
We give you permission, like a book of coupon cards, to lower the expectations every once in awhile. There will be days when you wake up and think, “I can’t do this anymore.” Whether “this” is go to gym, stay another day in a dead end job you need, or even tolerate a surly family member.
It’s okay to just show up and do whatever small thing you can to make it through the day.
This study on depression and stress concludes that people mired in pessimistic inertia have a “negative assessment” of their own ability to “cope with difficult situations.” The researchers go on to suggest that this “aggravates a tendency to perceive stressful events as overwhelming.”
In other words, you have more ability to rise up and handle stressful events than you actually believe. This is surely one reason why the life hack of showing up and getting started often leads to better results than anticipated.
Often, after you just show up, the day ends up getting a whole lot better from there. Which is why experts on coping with depression tell patients to get out of bed, take a shower and get dressed. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
It’s also why your personal trainer might tell you to just show up at the gym, even when you don’t think you can stand working out, with the promise to spend only 15 minutes. This is because once you get there, you’ll realize you are stronger and more capable of handling the run or spin class than you realize.
Sometimes, of course, you show up at the gym to read a magazine on the recumbent bike. That’s okay too. You don’t need to regard the “just show up” advice as a sneaky start to ambitious ends or turnaround stories. You can also just read the magazine or cut and paste notes into the document you should be writing and formatting. It’s okay. Just do something.
As singer, and daughter of the famous Johnny, Rosanne Cash, says, “Just show up, just do it. Even if you feel like shit and you think you're terrible and you'll never get better and it will never go anywhere, just show up and do it. And, eventually, something happens.”