I’ve been on this journey of spiritual, personal growth for a few years now. I’ve overcome mental illness, learned to live happily, and have made so much progress in how to keep house and home make in that time, but one thing I’ve been faced with time and time again is this one major roadblock: the fear of moving forward.
I have my theories why these feelings bubble up and stop us from pursuing our best life possible. It’s uncomfortable to change. It’s new and it’s terrifying, even when it’s something really, really good for us. More than anything though, I think we have a hard time facing the question: who am I when I’m not a hot mess?
If I’m not busy chasing kids all day and cleaning up behind them, if I have a moment to sit and let my brain think – what will I think about?
My dad never finishes anything – and I’ve worked so hard to fight against that instinct in myself. His shop (and surrounding areas) are always a cluttered mess – another instinct in myself that I’ve had to fight. I’ve seen him get on kicks of cleaning up and making tons of progress, then he just stops. I’ve watched this pattern in him enough to start noticing it in myself and others.
When I really started to declutter my house (still a work in progress) I noticed this anxious need to stop after any huge hurdle had been crossed – not a need to rest, a need to stop. I started with my kitchen. I downsized the amount of dishes we had so they actually fit nicely in the cabinet, I cleared the counter tops so there was no visible clutter to greet me, and shifted things around so they were in the most convenient places possible.
This completely reset the vibe in my kitchen and it felt GOOD to be in my kitchen for the first time in my life. Then I was faced with a new source of anxious energy. Instead of feeling that usual anxiety of being in a messy spaces, surrounded by “unmade decisions” as Allie Casazza puts it in Declutter Like a Mother, but a new anxious energy rooted in uncertainty about myself.
Suddenly I walked into a clean space that wasn’t shouting at me what needed to be done. I was allowed to simply exist, everything in this space became easy, I wasn’t fighting anymore. My mind was silent and it felt terrifying. I think this was the first time I’d ever really silenced the voice of anxiety and I didn’t know how to exist in this space.
This new freedom was terrifying. It’s everything I ever wanted, it’s exactly what I’d worked so hard for, and yet, once it was here, I had no idea what to do with it. Everything I’d been tuning out was coming back to me. This was the first step in serious spiritual growth and it started with tossing out all the extra physical clutter in my life. It was unexpected and I was unprepared to handle this. I backslid, of course.
Who are you when you’re not a hot mess? I wish I had an answer for you here, but it’s something you’re going to have to work through yourself. I’m here to make you aware that this fear of success and freedom is real, it will come up, and it’s totally normal.
Grab a journal and process the fears. Why can’t you sit with yourself? Why are you afraid of healing? Why do you keep going back? – is it on purpose or simply because that’s the habits you’re holding onto?
When I was climbing out of the pits of depression, it wasn’t a fear of healing that kept me from staying out, it was all the daily habits that lead to depression. I kept all the habits in my daily life that were symptoms of depression – things like skipping showers, sleeping all day, avoiding productivity, binging tv shows, staying home, eating junk. Every time I came out of a depressive episode, all my habits were there to make the next one seamlessly come on.
When I finally realized that I knew everything I needed to know to overcome this and it was time to apply the skills I had to my everyday life to keep depression away, that day changed my life.
If it’s time to heal, if it’s time to stop being a mess – either mentally or physically – first answer that question, who are you when you’re not_____?
If you’re living that hot mess lifestyle right now – always late, behind on laundry, piles of clutter all over, sour smell somewhere in your car – it’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed and want to hide from everything instead of fixing it. You might have to stay in the yuckiness for a bit until you reach your breaking point of needing to change so badly that nothing can stop you.
If you’re just not where you want to be right now, take the time to sit with yourself. Sit outside or somewhere calming, be still, quiet your mind and ask, who do I want to be? What do I want my life to look like? You’ve got to set the intention of where you wanna go, saying you’re not where you wanna be is not enough. Set a goal, dream a dream, make a plan.
Comparison kills creativity. Who you’re meant to be doesn’t exist anywhere out in the world – who you’re meant to be is already inside of you. Your job now is to deconstruct your beliefs about yourself, undo the habits that don’t help you, and unbecome who you aren’t.
You’re meant to be you, authentically, fully, fearlessly.