Why The Mess Is Where The Magic Happens (On Beautiful Imperfections)


“Some of being an adult, though, is about protecting and preserving what we discover to be the best parts of ourselves, and here’s a hint: they’re almost always the parts we’ve struggled against for years. They make us weird or different, unusual but not in a good way. They’re our child-sides, our innate selves, not the most productive or competitive or logical, just true. Just us.”  

- Shauna Niequist

What a beautiful picture of imperfection and beauty. This world, this wonderfully paradoxical and seemingly backwards world that we live in, has so much to teach us. Maybe more than we’ll ever have the capacity to grasp. And the fact that we may never comprehend this, and still be okay with it, is beautiful.

Because life is often a mess. Complicated, awkward, painful, and difficult. We come across mindsets and mentalities we once thought were bulletproof, but they start to leak and reveal the chinks and gaping holes in our armor. We are made painfully aware of old delusions we’ve been harboring, unknowingly climbing the ladder to a destination we once thought we wanted to reach. We work hard to do right by people, and then we fail and make things so much worse and think we’ll never recover from our stupidity.

But that mess is where the magic happens.

That awful, no good, very bad mess is where healing takes place, and hope is revealed in the most delightful way that makes you want to cry and laugh and scream for joy all at the same time.

Beauty lies in the imperfect, the broken, and the chaotic.

In fact, I’ll venture to say that the most beautiful things in life are the things that have gone through the greatest trials and troubles.

What if the broken pieces we see in front of us, the battered and bruised parts of our lives that seem lost beyond hope, are actually the best parts of us? What if we could let go of what others think we need to become, and focus instead on staying true to our purpose in this life? What if we could stop trying to prove to the world that we are worthy and of value, and believe that we are enough, even with our scars and wounds and screw-ups?

Our scars are where the light can shine through the brightest.

Our mistakes, imperfections, and failures are what makes us, us. You and I will never be able to reach perfect, no matter how hard we try, how much time we spend reaching out for a flawless life. 

Our ability to laugh at ourselves and choose to be present over perfect, even when it feels like the most awkward thing to do, is so precious.

The knowledge that we aren’t perfect, and that we never ever have to try to be, is perhaps the most freeing thing we can take hold of.

We'll never figure this little thing called life out. And that's just okay. We'll never reach perfection. And that's okay. We'll always be working on ourselves. And that's okay.

It doesn’t start tomorrow, someday will never ever come, and waiting for it will leave you exhausted and unhappy. Whatever it is. Success starts today, right where you are. It starts with being present in every moment, taking it all in, and enjoying the journey.

We will never arrive. And that’s beautiful.

So my challenge to us - to me and you and everyone - is to dare to enjoy this journey, to take it all in like today is the first day of the rest of our lives. That when we feel the urge to fight and scramble and prove that we have what it takes, that we would let it go and rest in who we are, and who we're becoming. I am enough. That we would choose to be present over being perfect, because our imperfections are, truly, wonderfully, completely, beautiful.

I dare you.

Practical Next Steps

Invite people into your process, and start with those closest to you. Let them know about what you're going through, but remember to keep it light. Always keep it light. 

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Remember, life is short, make it awesome.