By Kristen Manieri

Why We Struggle with Mike McHargue

If you’re a human, and I am guessing you are, living a connected, conscious and intentional life is easier said than done. We are a flawed and mysterious species. On one hand, we’re extraordinary. No one is like us. No one has been given the gifts we brought into the world. We are exceptionally unique and special, capable of amazing things. And we also fall down, procrastinate, give up, let ourselves and other down. This is the paradoxical experience of being human. We are extraordinary and, at the same time, infinitely exasperating.

This week’s guest has done a lot of thinking about this paradox, and he shares his thoughts in his new book, You’re a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass): Embracing the Emotions, Habits, and Mystery That Make You You.

Mike McHargue is a public educator who uses empathy and deep scientific insights to help us navigate some of the most difficult parts of the human experience. He’s the host of Ask Science Mike, he co-founded the chart-topping show The Liturgists Podcast, and is the bestselling author of Finding God in the Waves, and You’re a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass). He works as a science advisor and story consultant for film and television working with clients including Marvel Studios and has been featured in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, The Huffington Post, and more. Mike lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife Jenny, his daughters Madison and Macey, and their beloved dog, Ruby.

This week, he joins the 60 Mindful Minutes podcast to talk about the human experience and why we struggle and fall down, and why we matter, why our feelings and struggles matter. We have such a heartfelt and thought-provoking conversation and I can’t wait to share it with you.

A big thanks to Mike McHargue for being this week’s guest. Go connect with him at mikemchargue.com and learn more about his books, podcasts, and YouTube videos. I highly recommend it.

But before you go, here are five of my favorite takeaways from my conversation with Mike:


    1. We struggle. It’s part of the human experience. Let’s embrace this and give less energy to being perfect. Let’s bring more compassion and love to our flaws and missteps.
    2. Through science we get a better understanding of our physiology, psychology and why we do what we do. One of the reasons we feel so at odds with ourselves so often is, as Mike says, because we actually are. We have different parts of our brain that often contradict each other. It’s helpful to understand this so that we can bring ourselves more grace and space.
    3. Self-love is really important. It’s our foundation. Loving yourself is an essential part of emotional development and a satisfying life. Whatever it takes—working through child trauma, old wounds, harmful but hidden beliefs–be on a journey to love yourself more.
    4. When you love yourself, and can be with your pain, you can give that to others, which creates a life of real and true connection and interconnectedness with those around you.
    5. Emotional literacy and the ability to understand and attune to what we feel is crucial. We live in a dissociative culture where not feeling is encouraged and celebrated. Swim with your emotions. Find space to really sit with them. Get support with a therapist. But know that our freedom is on the other side of our unfelt emotions.


See you next time. Stay well out there!

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