The Theory of Suckiness

Today’s post comes from Joely Black of In These Heels. Enjoy!

There are two fundamental types of suckiness: external suckiness (your circumstances suck) and internal suckiness (it doesn’t matter what’s going on out there in the world, you feel sucky inside).

Both types then break down into chronic suckiness and acute suckiness. One lasting a while and the other being short-term. Throughout life we get spells of all possible flavours of suckiness, but thankfully, I’ve found only one real solution is necessary for handling all of them.

Having had depression in the past, I’m pretty well experienced with internal suckiness of the chronic variety. I’ve tried all kinds of different approaches to handling both the suckiness that hits from the outside and the stuff that comes from within.

The most important place to start – whether it sucks on the outside or inside – is to start dealing with the emotions around it. I learned the long, slow, hard way that fighting what’s happening – on the outside or inside – only makes the suckiness suckier.

This was what first brought me into meditation. And before you ask, no I’m not actually Buddhist. When I first started the emotional healing and progressing toward being a published author, I began exploring meditation by training at our local Buddhist centre.

It sounds crazy, but the best way out of a sucky situation is to accept that it sucks, that it’s there in the first place. I bought myself a journal, and began writing down how I felt. Every time I had to struggle with fear or doubt, or I started feeling depressed, I wrote down what I was feeling.

This was the path out of the suckiness of depression, away from all the limiting ideas and beliefs that had held me back for years. I wrote them down. Once I recognised what I was thinking and feeling – whether it came from within me, or whether something had actually happened to me – I was able to let it go.

There’s no way to avoid suckiness in life. People die, people get old, people get rich or poor. Stuff will come along and it will suck. But whether a situation gets really sucky or not usually depends on your attitude, and attitude starts with your response to what’s happening.

About a year and a half ago now, I experienced the ultimate in suckiness. I had a huge deal on the table with a massive publishing company. It was incredible. My dream come true. And then some petty office politics got in the way. It fell through.

That doesn’t just suck. It blows.

The next day though, I was incredibly happy. I sat there, in a state of utter giddiness. I wasn’t upset that the whole thing crashed. I was excited because I’d come so close. It was the first time I’d been given that evidence that I wasn’t living with my head in the clouds, that what I’d written, what I’d worked on, had value to the world.

Suckiness is therefore a matter of perspective. I still get bouts of depression like other people get mild head colds. When it comes up, or when something sucky happens, it’s always time for me to get back to meditation, to chilling out, and letting the situation be rather than fighting it. And if I can, I look for the good in it. There’s nothing like a shift in perspective to cure suckiness.

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10 thoughts on “The Theory of Suckiness

  1. Hi, Joely –
    I’ve also had a lot of success battling suckiness with journaling. After writing out exactly what sucks and why and how much, I’m able to view the problem a bit more clinically. That perspective enables me to process the suckiness and ultimately let it go. It’s quite cathartic, actually.

    I’m sorry to hear about your publishing deal falling through; I hope that one day your writing dream comes true!

    Rebecca Smith´s last blog post..Now I’m happy

  2. Kelly says:


    Oh, my. I loved this.

    You’re so right. Acceptance is the best route. The noise in my head always gets worse when I’d rather ignore than accept.

    Boy, this is advice I can put to use right now. Thanks.



    Kelly´s last blog post..Inspiration Points: Do You Know Yourself Well Enough to Succeed?

  3. steph says:

    Whoa, Joely, you totally made me feel as though I was reading myself.

    This is a fantastic post. Thanks for reminding me to see the suck from all angles.

    steph´s last blog post..Good Friday Comes Early for Me

  4. “the best way out of a sucky situation is to accept that it sucks”

    Indeed… Accept that it sucks but don’t fret over it. Allow it to pass from your mind as all suckiness is bound to do.

    Jamie Grove – How Not To Write´s last blog post..Giving In To Creative Passion

  5. Paul D says:

    I admire your ability to overcome suckiness. Many people quit at the first sign of suckiness, looking for eaiser, less sucky paths. The most sucky experiences usually lead us to the most gratifying ones.

  6. Love it!

    …and so true. Attitude makes all the difference in the world!

    Amy Mommaerts´s last blog post..Fix the Spirit First

  7. Alex Fayle says:

    I used to journal when I felt down but found it just encouraged me to get more dramatic. Reading back over my journals from my early 20s, you’d think I was suicidal!

    I too get that noise in my head and it’s usually saying things like “don’t work – you won’t succeed. Just do some more puzzles on Facebook and ignore the big scary world.”

    Joely really does a great job of capturing that feeling that most of us have at times, eh?

    Exactly – “it sucks, so what?” 😉

    @Paul D
    Yes, it’s like fear in that – it can be totally useful in pushing us forward.

    It’s like what Tyra says on Top Model: Attitude is everything. 😉

  8. Kelly says:


    What? There are puzzles on Facebook? Maybe I should get on Facebook, after all…

    *does a little “ignore the suckiness” dance* 😉

    Until later,


    P.S. I secretly adore Tyra. Or at least her attitude. I hardly ever watch ANTM but when I do I’m glued to the screen—fierce confidence rocks.

    Kelly´s last blog post..And the Winners Are…

  9. Alex Fayle says:

    Yes, they are just like real puzzles too – all different shapes and levels of difficulty.

    Warning: HIGHLY addictive.

    The app is called PuzzleBee:

  10. Melinda says:

    Very well said Joely! I’ve very slowly learned to accept that I feel that way, that no amount of trying to deny it helps and I just have to accept it and work with it. It can be very hard at times to do that.

    @ Kelly – I love playing scrabble on facebook! I don’t bother with the puzzles or quizzes though.

    Melinda´s last blog post..Business Practices that Make you Look Bad

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