“Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
Being a mess can be challenging for many of us and come easy for many others of us. Wherever you lie on the spectrum from “I’ve Got To Have It All Together” to “I Can’t Be Bothered” to “Hot Mess and Lovin’ It,” reading this list may grant you permission to give yourself greater mobility on the scale… greater ease for your own sanity.
1. Being a mess does not mean you are damaged, unsalvageable goods.
“The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert
It doesn’t mean you are deficient or you lack in some way. It means you’re human, whether you find this repugnant or a relief. Being a mess is what we all go through many times over in our lives. We can go through it at the end of a relationship, or at the beginning. We can go through it at the ending of a job, by our will or theirs; or at the beginning of a job, when we’re just getting our footing. We are a mess when we’re in the company of our parents, or when we’re not in their company. And being a mess does not mean we’re horrible people. It means we’re in life, living and finding our way. Reframing how we think of being a mess from bad and ridiculous to good and healthy can transform your whole life. No shitting you. Yes, it can.
2. Allowing the mess gives you room and space to be you.
“That’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.”
— Oliver Hardy of Laurel & Hardy
Denying that you feel like a mess, look like a mess, exude “mess” to everyone you see only builds up a wall around you, in you, and/or outside of you that people can sense. Allowing yourself to be a mess allows for a vulnerable side that people can identify with. Yes, we’re all messes at one time or another. Sometimes, we’re that consistently for a year or two, or several (don’t let me scare you). When you allow yourself to be seen, you’d be surprised at how many people will share with you how they feel — their messy side. And not in a “let’s all drown ourselves”-kind of way, but in a supportive, “let’s stand shoulder-to-shoulder”-kind of way. Those are the best conversations, where everyone is letting themselves be seen, be heard, be felt. Authenticity, at its best and most graceful. Grace while a mess, huh? Unique concept? I think not.
3. Being a mess can be therapeutic.
Healing can be had when you simply allow yourself to be a mess. Those connected conversations with folks like us can be healing by the fact that you’re seeing you are not alone. You, in fact, are never alone. Though you may try to hide when you’re a mess, letting yourself be a mess has the effect of healing some of the residual effect of believing you’re the only mess on the planet. You’re not, nor will you ever be. Just can’t happen. Ever.
4. Giving yourself permission to be a mess can inspire greatness in others.
“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
— Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love
Giving yourself permission to be a mess – and be seen – gives others permission, simply by your presence, to be their authentic selves. To see another flourish and thrive as you witness them doing so is a great gift to yourself. It reminds you that we are all in this together, and it can remind you that there’s nothing but love between us.
5. Giving ourselves permission to be a mess can allow for brilliance to show up.
There is an ease that allows for brilliance to show up when you can be wherever you are and not make it wrong, in the least. Just letting yourself be is one of the most powerful things you can do in life. Allowing doesn’t make something right, it makes it okay. Being human can sometimes be a bitch, and we make it worse on ourselves by beating ourselves up. In this human experience, our resistance to other’s (or our own) ideas or thoughts, people, situations, circumstances is what causes them to persist. Here’s an opportunity to stop trying to control something which frankly, you cannot control. Your surrender will bring about ease, and when you’re in the flow, brilliance is not long behind. Find out how brilliant you are, be a mess. Yes, I said it.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
— The Serenity Prayer
Ease, brilliance, greatness, healing, room to be you, the ability to inspire, and a healthy way of living all await you. Be a total mess. You can always get it together later.