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The Richest Life: Consumer to Advocate

the richest life:consumer to advocateYou want more.

Yes, you have a high-paying job, a dutiful spouse, and all the modern accoutrements. Underneath your polished veneer, there is a bubbling restlessness.

Something is missing, and you desperately want to reclaim it.

The issue: defining what ‘it’ is. Then doing something it.

It could represent numbing myopia, mounting indifference, or a stirring wanderlust. As you check off items on your daily to-do list, you recognize the ‘why’ underlying your simmering discontent.

Life is too comfortable.

The solution: embrace the discomfort.

In life, we crave the familiar. Our daily routine provides order for life’s responsibilities. There is a comforting predictability. The sameness comes in all forms; we cackle at our boss’s overplayed jokes, and order the #2 meal at our favorite deli. We can predict tomorrow — and six months from tomorrow.

In order to appreciate the familiar, you must embrace the unfamiliar. The well-worn cliches are trite, tired, and true.

Challenge yourself. Step out of your proverbial comfort zone. Embrace the fear. The well-traveled path is the one of least resistance.

“Why?” you sputter. “I have a comfortable, easy life. I don’t need to challenge myself.”

That is the problem. The unfamiliar adds complexity to the routinized life. We may chafe–even recoil–at the unknown. Leery of failure, your mind and soul slowly wilt.

Life’s challenges provide meaning. As mental health consumers, we understand this better than most. Life’s jagged edges have scraped us. But as mental health consumers–even survivors, we have an extraordinary platform to give meaning to our lives and others.

“How so?” you ask incredulously.

We epitomize discomfort. Depression and anxiety have plunged us into despair. There are hours, days, and weeks where mental health shutters us from family, friends, even reality. But through the discomfort, we persevere. We live our fears. And, on the best days, we embrace them.

Paraphrasing a famous philosopher, the easy, comfortable life is a life unlived. As mental health trials bruise and scar, there is a cruel comfort in our struggles. Unlike most, we understand life’s purpose: to share and inspire. But with that understanding, there is a corresponding responsibility. Are you going to embrace the discomfort? Or shy away from it–retreating into your comfortable cocoon?

Over the past year, I have written about my personal struggles. Psych Central has been my personal confessional. As I write about personal failings, a web of self-doubt envelops me. The discomfort is real. Will there be personal or professional repercussions for divulging my mental health struggles? Are my musings self-indulgent? Does my writing inspire or irritate? As my mind cycles through its ritualistic self-doubt, there is a budding realization: these questions are superfluous.

I have embraced my fears and been richly rewarded.

As you read this — maybe on the bus or the subway, you wonder whether your voice — and your struggles — matter. It does. And they do. But the more relevant question: How are you going to transform self-doubt into self-empowerment? And inspire others on their journey.


The Richest Life: Consumer to Advocate

Matthew Loeb

Matthew Loeb, a Seattle-based attorney, is a mental health advocate. You can contact him at

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APA Reference
Loeb, M. (2018). The Richest Life: Consumer to Advocate. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 30 Sep 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.