My messiness drives me crazy, and I’m pretty sure it drives the people around me a bit nuts. Admitting this is hard because my messy feels like it’s all that I am at times, and I get caught in feeling lonely and unlovable.
These are ingrained behaviours that have become steady habits in my life, so it’s not easy to shift some of those patterns. It’s who I know myself to be. I’m human, and being human doesn’t mean perfection; not only that, all our images of perfection are different. I think we’re all attracted to the image of being manicured and having our shit together. But that’s not who any of us are, it’s just another Hollywood image of perfection.
Being human is a lifelong journey and along the way we fall and pick ourselves up and try again, many times. We learn to love ourselves even when we can’t even look at ourselves. We work through conflict, drama and difficult times in a way that teaches us, learns us and eventually we grow.
Our messy can be cunning. It wants to govern our safety and sovereignty. The actions we take to protect our messes are often self-damaging and isolating. We hide ourselves from the world, trying to control and manipulate to stay safe and hidden.
We have become skillful at finding ways to hide the parts of ourselves that feel like too much. The very idea of revealing these parts can feel shameful, and our fragility can saturate us. We end up ruminating on the ways we’re breakable and unlovable.
Admitting my mess is super scary, but there’s also freedom in it. When someone in my life wants to hold my mess against me, I feel the most heartbroken. A friend once told me that they couldn’t have a relationship with me because of my trust issues — ugh, I was gutted. But I could admit that I had trust issues and they made my truth a dagger — which was painful for me — but that was their choice, and owning my truth made me feel free once I reckoned with my pain. I’m learning to be more patient with the things in me that I want to hide.
For a time in my life I was constantly thinking about my version 2.0, the future me. Who is she, and what I would need to do to get to her? That became a focal point, and life became far less enjoyable because I kept focusing on things that were outside of me. If I’m always looking ahead I miss all the beauty of the moment, I forget the gifts of sadness, distrust, fear, and feelings of not being lovable; they remind me that joy feels different. When I let go of those feelings I feel gentle and I’m more playful and curious. I listen to others because I’m not so focused on myself.
Our ability to hold our messy parts without running is the medicine that heals us.
What are the ways you want to please others and be seen as good enough? What do you do for attention and to feel accepted? If you feel like you’re not putting on a performance, then you’re likely feeling that your mess is OK and welcome. If you realize you’re performing, take a gentle look at that.
Could you, for just today, tend to your neediness and nurture the parts of yourself that feel broken? Could you take a bath with the goals of soaking in your imperfections and allowing the less friendly parts of yourself to co-habitate with the parts that feel prettier? Could you ready yourself for all of you and see what happens when you make space? I know that when I hold the parts I’ve been fighting against, I find peace. My anxiety subsides and I fall into an uncharacteristic calm.
Often when we see the parts of ourselves that feel like they need ‘work,’ it’s scary and overwhelming. We feel like there’s something that needs fixing and we have no idea how to fix it. This implodes any sense of being able to handle life because we become fixated on what’s wrong, and it feels horrible.
Yet, if we hold space in a loving tender way for the parts that feel shameful, something magical happens. We become more loving and tender because we’re tending to the thing that we want to avoid. That’s when our messy takes a break; we’re no longer trying to avoid, hide or distract from those parts.
You’re more lovable than you think you are. Give yourself permission to steep in the hard thoughts and be gentle with them so that you can move through those feelings to the gorgeous soul that you are.