Mature woman in park

12 Tips for Finding Peace in the Midst of Your Brilliantly Messy Life

Most of us are taught that perfection is what we should strive for, but one of the most surprising treasures I’ve discovered in my life is how my capacity to be in my mess—the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between—leads me to more fully embracing my unique genius, as well as my true passion, purpose, and joy! As women, we contain entire worlds of wisdom…worlds that are as beautiful, profound, and gorgeously complicated as we are. It’s time to own that and use it to our advantage. Here are twelve tips for doing just that!

  1. Give up the endless to-do list. Future-tripping can sometimes feel necessary (after all, if we don’t get to it, who will?) but the truth is, it can take us out of our center and numb us to what’s really going on right here and now. Instead, make more space for yourself and prioritize your relationship with yourself over all the stuff in your life that’s clamoring for your attention!
  2. Relish your “me” time. Finding sanctuary is truly an inside job, so today, find some time to unplug from the daily grind by asking what brings you joy and gives you pleasure. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to unwind without any interruptions from the outside world.
  3. Embrace your inner child. That’s the part of you that comes alive in the presence of what delights you. We tend to shrink our capacity for pleasure as we get older, so tap into that childlike wonder and let it be a source of support.
  4. Feel your anger. Anger is not the most comfortable emotion to feel (especially if we’ve been taught to be nice at all costs) but skillfully giving it a voice actually leads us to a deeper sense of self-connection. Today, feel the pure energy of your anger and be open to the lessons it’s trying to teach you.
  5. Ask for support. Connecting to the spirit of our messiness is not something we can hope to do alone—at least not for the long term! So tell someone you love that you need them. Be honest about your limitations, as well as your strengths.
  6. Just say no. Give the people and situations in your life your whole-hearted NO. Practice not offering any additional explanations or reasons, even when it feels edgy. And make sure you do this with no guilt whatsoever!
  7. Just say yes. Notice what lights you up and makes you say yes effortlessly. Notice the places where you want to say yes but you are experiencing fear or hesitation. Just like yesterday, be unabashed and leave your guilt at the door.
  8. Just say you don’t know. A huge part of coming to terms with our own messiness is engaging with everything from a place of open curiosity. Instead of acting like you have everything figured out, give yourself the gift of not knowing—and see what arises from that!
  9. Trust your gut. Today, locate your intuition physically—inside your gut, your heart, or anywhere else where your sense of inner knowing feels strong. Figure out how your intuition speaks to you. How can you practice trusting it even more?
  10. Be willing to have the hard conversations. Practice radical honesty in all your interactions today—and this includes conversations with yourself. Speak what is true every moment of the day—especially when it feels a little scary or edgy. And if you want to take a deep dive into hard conversations, check out Women For One’s popular Hard Conversations Toolkit.
  11. Honor your imperfections. Perfection does not exist! When we aren’t so busy controlling absolutely everything in our lives, our brilliance rises up naturally to the surface and surprises us with its beauty. The world isn’t going to fall apart if you aren’t perfect. If anything, it might end up getting bigger, shinier, and way more interesting.
  12. Forgive yourself. Everything you love about yourself is intrinsically connected to the “mistakes” and missteps along the way. Instead of letting your challenges shut you down or diminish your power, you can just be with what is in your life. Let compassion wash over you. Say, “I forgive myself, for everything.” You may not feel the forgiveness immediately, but I promise that this simple gesture will have ripple effects.

For more on Kelly’s work, click on her byline above.