On the quest to be our best selves we can sometimes forget that as humans we are bound to make mistakes. We can put so much pressure on ourselves when we listen to that inner voice with it’s running list of “should be’s”. We Should Be more organized, thinner, happier, more routine, better at work, a better partner, a better parent. Logically it’s clear that we can’t be perfect- but we all try! So where’s the line between having goals and perfectionism?
The difference is embracing the mess!
We are all messy. Being real and honest about this is how we best connect to others around us.
Perfect might be pretty but it isn't relatable and when someone projects that ‘perfect’ image we may think it’s cool but that perfection can make it hard to trust.
Mistakes really ARE how we learn- grit and wisdom are powerful tools. Allowing room for mess in our lives and in our actions allows us to act and interact with freedom. Knowing you may make a mistake but trusting yourself to act anyway is an act of true confidence. Fighting the mess only slows us up from reaching our goals and being our most authentic selves.
Need realistic tips on how to embrace your mess in the real world?
Our coaches share their top tips for how they let the mess in!
Try to own what is making you feel awkward! Make whatever it is not taboo by calling it by name. Ever sit in class or at work and know your stomach is about to growl? Know that its coming and feel the tension is building? We all get hungry! Everyone can relate to that moment where our bodies remind us they need fuel to function. We can sit and worry or we can diffuse the moment. Try leaning over to the closest friend and acknowledging the elephant in the room outloud. A quick “Oops, forgot my mid morning snack!” can bring your own inner tension down. This will allow you to focus on a fun conversation, the work at hand, or whatever else it is you were doing that's likely much more important than worrying about your body's natural functions!
Most people wouldn’t believe how close to home the thought of being a mess and/or feeling like a mess hits for therapists and/or coaches. I’m here to tell you we do not have it all together. We make mistakes. We get behind. We turn things in late or miss deadlines all together. We have conflict in our relationships and we are absolutely NEVER perfect parents. The best way I have found to manage the mess is to give yourself permission to fuck up! No one is perfect and the expectation to be perfect only makes feeling like a mess ten times worse. If you can give yourself permission to be a mess, make mistakes, say the wrong thing, etc… it expands your ability to come back from it. This does not mean stop trying to do your best or not be kind to others but when you do miss the mark let it be ok. Actively say to yourself in your head or even out loud “I have permission to be perfectly imperfect!” and write that same sentence on sticky notes and put them everywhere. YES, EVERYWHERE! The more you acknowledge it the more you will get comfortable with messing up and the confidence you will have to regroup!
Comparison gets to all of us at different times for different reasons. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to meet expectations set by observing where other people around us are at or by getting lost in the scrolls of social media. We think we need to form our lives to measure up to some invisible checklist developed by harsh and unrealistic views of what ourselves or our lives should look like at any given moment. And what happens when we realize our lives cannot and will not ever be exactly the same as those we observe? We doubt, regret, resent, build fear for, and sometimes despise our own journey.
My biggest tip to fight against this feeling is to stop comparing and start living. Yes, my tip is to live. In fact, mindful living is what I mean. There’s a Confucius quote that says something like, “We have two lives, the second one begins when we realize we only have one.” We do so much wondering about when our lives are going to turn out great that we forget to keep living and experiencing. Doing this work has taught me so much about how much people (myself included) spend far too much energy on what’s missing from their lives versus taking in all of the beauty of life that is right under our noses, happening right now. When will I land my dream job? When will my body look good in that dress? When will I meet my perfect match? When will I be happier? What happens if I turn 30 and don’t have kids yet? When will I have that vacation I’ve been dreaming about? When will I reach my goals?
STOP. PAUSE. BREATHE.
I get it. All or some of those questions may resonate with you and I hear you. Or there may be others that swirl around in your mind as well. I promise you aren’t alone in wondering about them. What I need you to do is reflect today on ways you could live more, fall deeper in love with your imperfect journey and your imperfect self. In what ways could you live more? What distractions or barriers to living to the best of your ability could you take action on? What does living more mean to you and you alone? Look around you right now and think about how you can relish in all the nooks and crannies of your life, exactly as it is today. You will be so glad you did.