Now that we’re about six weeks into 2020, I thought it would be a good time to share my intentions for the year. Yep, it’s February and I’m still doing them. That’s the beauty of intentions—they’re not binary in the way resolutions are. For me, that means rejecting that mindset that inevitably sets you up to feel frustration and defeat, that sets the stakes at win-or-lose, succeed-or-fail, all-or-nothing.
What a nightmare way to go through life. And what a surefire way to guarantee you will spend, at minimum, multiple days feeling bad about yourself. I just don’t have time for that nonsense anymore. (Not that I don’t have days like that, because well, I totally do but I’m invested in not setting my life in a way that ensures I will regularly be falling short, you know?)
So, with all that said, here’s my first intention for the year 2020.
Give yourself permission to be messy
Okay, this needs a little explaining. I don’t mean this in the sense of ‘just stop cleaning up after yourself’ nor do I mean it in that ‘let’s have a few drinks and get messyyyy’ way. This is about allowing space for well, you. It’s acknowledging that you are human and, as a result, you’re gonna be a little messy at times. And while this could apply to a lot of aspects of life, I am personally aiming for one in particular: that ill-begotten notion of being a ‘Good Girl.’ You know what I mean, right? That societal narrative so many of us struggle with that say girls need to be neat and together and basically perfect. (And if you’re not, then for God’s sake, don’t let anyone see it!)
It’s that same thing Taylor Swift is talking about the “Miss Americana” documentary. If you happen to be someone who’s followed all these arbitrary and unspoken rules that are meant to make you likable and more importantly ‘acceptable’ to the general world, at some point in your life you will probably reach a moment where you’ll ask yourself, “Wait, what is the point?” Because in all likelihood, you’re doing everything ‘right’ and you’re still being told you’re not good enough. And if you’re anything like Taylor and me, you’ll be like, “wtf, why am I still doing this?”
Because come on, we’re all going to be a little messy at times—why not give ourselves permission to do so? If it’s happening anyway, why not welcome it in?
Part of that means letting yourself show some of your stumbles and ask for help and not feel a pressure to present a version of you that isn’t real. And the funniest thing about all of this? I’ve had to give myself permission to mess up being messy. Because doing this does not come naturally. It goes against so much of what we’ve been taught. So, yeah you’re going to trip and stumble and falter. But you’ll gain from it. You’ll connect with others more authentically and you’ll feel better about yourself once you’ve given up trying to meet an impossible ideal.
And on that note, let’s go to intention #2…
Acknowledge and accept the truth of who you are
For me, these two intentions go hand-in-hand. (In fact, I only added the second after a couple weeks of actively doing the first.) Because to succeed in giving yourself permission to be messy, you also have to look honestly at who you are.
I like to think I know a lot about myself. I mean, I’m someone who’s been journaling since I was a kid; who is constantly seeking to understand more of the world around me and my place in it; and who—not to brag—has logged literally hundreds of hours of therapy over the years. (#traumalife #humblebragaboutmyvulnerabilityswag). But there’s always more to learn and in 2020, I’ve challenged myself to face, and hopefully accept, truths about myself. Mainly, these are things I run into as I’m giving myself permission to be messy. Some of these things are not even news to me…but they do tend to be bits that are hard to look at. This is not about putting those aspects of me onto a list of things I want to change (though sometimes it is something I’d like to improve upon); rather it’s more about the act of naming them and claiming them.
It’s very much a “good to know” approach. Like, “oh wow, when ‘x’ happens in my day, I get so grouchy and can act like a jerk. Huh, good to know.” Or “Ohhh, that’s an old story from my childhood and it’s part of me but I don’t have to keep believing it.”
We all have parts of ourselves that we’re blind to. I know I won’t see everything but I’m doing my best to look honestly and hopefully see things I haven’t seen before. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this as the year goes on but for now, it’s just the beginning.
I hope your 2020 is going well, reader. I hope you’ll give yourself permission to track your progress honestly and not just view it as a black-and-white success or failure. The important thing is to show up and try. Know I’ll be right there besides you, doing the same. May we all love ourselves enough to allow space for our own humanity—and the beautiful messiness that comes with it.