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“I am a MESS!” she exclaimed during the group.
“You are NOT a mess!” I replied
“We are all a mess, why do you think we are here!!” said another participant.
And we all laughed knowingly.
In jest, we toss around the expression, “I am a mess” or “I am crazy!” In response to our personal exasperation with our lives. I am guilty of it too!! But every time we say that we are implying some pretty nasty beliefs about ourselves.
Saying you are a mess implies:
You are unlovable.
You are beyond repair.
You are the only one. Other people have something figured out that you don’t.
If you say it first other people can’t judge you.
What is wrong with you??? You should feel shame for not having it figured out.
As a friend of mine recently said, “If I say I am a mess first then I think that is protecting me from the judgments of other people.” “As long as I say I am a mess no one will judge me.”
Which we all know is a false belief. The real problem with the blanket statement, “I am a mess” is that it doesn’t create a connection. Whenever we are feeling stressed, anxious or unsure about our lives rather than talking about what is really going on or sharing our concerns we simply say “I am a mess” and others nod knowingly. There may be common camaraderie but rather than really engaging we just move on with collective laughter around the subject. Don’t get me wrong there is beauty in laughing out ourselves…but when we laugh out ourselves to cover up what is really going on…that is trouble.
It DRIVES ME CRAZY that we can chat about how we are trying to improve our physical appearance our latest diet, exercise routine, hair color, bikini wax or even botox but GOD FORBID we share that we are trying to improve our insides too. Heaven forbid people figure out that we are imperfect on the inside too!!!
Truth be told…we are all a mess…we are all imperfect…we are all trying to figure it out, doing the best we can and wanting to Live Happier.
Even I who have an amazing husband, love my career and live passionately every day….see a therapist regularly. Because I want to keep learning, growing and changing. I want to learn as much as possible while I am here on this planet.
So yes, you are a mess. We all are a mess. But screaming it doesn’t make you unique. Finding safe people to share it with, honestly opening up to friends and family about what is going on, sharing the details of our lives with people that makes us unique.
You are an imperfect human who is on a unique, journey.
You aren’t irreparably flawed.
You are beautifully flawed.
You can learn and grow and change and spiral up.
But all that can only happen when we share our real concerns with people who are safe.