It Needs To Be Messy

It needs to be messy - Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Some of my clients describe their lives as being messy. They don’t have a good sense of where they are going and it feels very uncomfortable. Their goal is to return to the time when they were much happier. When everything felt more stable and comfortable. This is understandable but by doing so they could be missing out. Maybe a life of comfort and stability isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.


I am a firm believer that our lives are made up of a series of transitions. These are punctuated by periods of comfort and stability when everything feels great. The trouble is the world around us is constantly changing and these periods of stability soon become obsolete. Stability is replaced by messiness. It is very unpleasant for many people but if we can stay the course it is the path to the good stuff.

It needs to be messy

When our lives are out of synch with the world around us we find ourselves in one of those messy phases. The thing is this is exactly what we need. It is time to find our next new stable and comfortable phase of life. We have to leave behind the existing to find the new, the one that will serve us well into the future.

When we try to resist the change, we fight to go back to how things were. The problem is time has moved on and what worked well in the past, won’t work well today or in the future. We are consigning ourselves to an extended period of unhappiness until we finally decide to face the transition that is ahead. Our life will become messy sooner or later.

The next time your life feels out of synch, try to embrace it. Explore some new things, break the routine. You can even build this in to how you live your life. I heard about a person who works for six years and then stops working for a year. During this year off, they figure out what they will do for the next six years. It sounds a bit too uncomfortable to me but maybe I would be pleasantly surprised by what emerges.

Comments (2)

Indeed. While human beings search for a place of homeostasis (and thus stability and comfort) I also believe that we’ve grown to experience this stepping into homeostasis as something uncomfortable. It seems that we are seeing this in contrast to being “comfortable” – as if that would be the norm.
At the end of the day I’d believe that how we relate to this idea of a norm or to what to expect from life determines if we see things as messy or not.

That’s a great point Francoise, I hadn’t considered some people who are used to the ‘messy phase’ may not even see it as messy, instead as part of the process. And of course this makes it much less uncomfortable for them. It illustrates the value of being self-aware and recognizing when we are in a messy phase.

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