Embracing The Messiness of Your Life

Our media-obsessed world is one that is built on a facade of never-ending strength, beauty, resilience and achievement.  Stumble upon any social media account and we’re wrought with images of people, families and children in various states of perfection.

There’s the Fit and Fabulous Over 40 page on my Facebook feed that keeps taunting me.  And then there’s the endless Leave It To Beaver-esque family photos of the ski trips, cookie making afternoons, hair-donating four year olds, and on and on and on.

And I’m not condemning any of these things.  They’re wonderful and I press the ‘like’ button often.

The problem becomes when these messages are so insidious that our own messiness now feels out of place and somehow wrong.

My most recent client sat across from me and broke down.  This woman is dealing with significant health issues and is deeply frustrated that she can’t perform the way she’s been accustomed to.  She loves sports and her body is just not up to her regular speed.

And something really hit me.

We’re so, so hard on ourselves.  It’s somehow, within this socially-driven, perfectionist engendered society, not okay to not be okay.

After all this time as evolving human beings, we still struggle so much with our own vulnerability.  We’re still rebelling against our illnesses, our fears, our boredom, our children’s issues and the flab on our asses.

We say NO to our need for rest, to check out for a while, to cry, to misbehave, to worry, to fall down and to be just plain messy.

This is actually a cultural illness and one that needs to be eradicated quickly if we are to successfully embrace the fullness of our being.

So here is what I propose.  Here is the antidote to the shame-induced messaging from a culture that puts appearance above realness.

First and foremost, we need to get real with ourselves about all of our stuck spots.  And by getting real with ourselves, I mean accept them.  It’s not like most of us are walking around in denial of our shit.  It’s that we’re not accepting our shit.  So perhaps we need to reframe and repurpose what it means to have a “problem.”

Perhaps we need to stop looking at our “problems” as problems.

You with me?

Can you imagine a world where all of the smiliest, TV-style images that we see on social media was all there was to us?  Without our challenges, our vulnerabilities, our stuck places, how would we be able to know ourselves as recovered, relieved, healed or rested?

Do you see what I’m saying?  We cannot…I repeat CAN NOT…truly know our light without the dark.  We cannot grasp true happiness without a little sadness.  We can’t appreciate what wonderful health is like without having been challenged with illness.  We can’t appreciate our wakefulness without having needed deep, deep rest for awhile.

We’re not one-dimensional beings but we’re trying to be.  And this is a fatal mistake.  And one that is destined to be corrected.  The Universe and everything in it, including the bodies we temporarily inhabit, are great balancers.  Everything is always seeking an equilibrium.

A really simple and profound way of coming to balance is to allow and accept the hurt, stuck, tired, flabby, imperfections.  We say, Okay…so here I am being human.  And I’m going to do this really well.  I’m going to fully embrace my humanity today.  In whatever capacity that is.  Is there pain today?  Is there fear? Is there loneliness?  Uncertainty?  Anger?

Wonderful!  Say yes to it.  Say yes to all of it.  Ironically, when we say yes to whatever is up for us, it can pass quickly.  And why is that?  Because we’re not holding it in place with the thought, This isn’t right.  I can’t be dealing with this right now.  I’m not supposed to be here in this pain.

That resistance to what is actually holds what is, in place.

Eckhart Tolle brilliantly explains, “Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is?  What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now?  Surrender to what is.  Say “yes” to life – and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”

Can you feel the relief in this?  Can you feel the release of tension, expectation and resistance?

Our lives may not always look like a picture perfect snapshot on social media. And thank God.  Remember the movie The Stepford Wives?  Do we really want to live like that?  Do we really want to snuff out our humanity and all of its colourful glory?

I don’t.  And I’m guessing that you don’t either.  So embrace it ALL.  You’ll be richer for it.  You’ll be more complete for your messy and wonderful journey.


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