Do you ever get frustrated that you are not further along than you think you should be? Do you have moments where you feel like you are back at square one?
While this is all normal, in this episode I will teach you about “the messy middle,” the space between where you are and where you are going. This space can feel very uncomfortable, frustrating, and like you are taking a step backwards.
Listen to understand the crucial steps to moving from the messy middle to the other side where you are healed, happy and feeling like yourself again.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 84, The Messy Middle.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more freedom than the life you’re currently
living but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hi friends. Welcome back to another episode. So before I dive into this
week’s episode, I just need to give you a little bit of a update of some
cool things going on for me. This last weekend, I was able to go to Austin,
Texas, and I just got back a couple days ago. I was able to visit some
family and see my nieces and nephews. But the main reason I went out is
because the school that I initially certified at, The Life Coach School,
has an annual mastermind. It’s where all of us coaches come together, we
learn, we celebrate each other and mainly it’s to help each other grow by
learning from our leaders and leaders in the industry. Anyway, in 2019, I
went to one of these masterminds and I remember sitting out in the
audience, watching the people up on stage and knowing in my bones that
there would come a day where I would be on that stage, winning an award.
I just knew it. I didn’t know when, I didn’t know how, I just knew that I
would. Well guess what, my friends, I received an award last week up on
that stage in front of something like 1,400 people. And it was really cool
and really surreal to be able to look at that past version of Andrea from
2019 and say, thank you, Andrea. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for
pushing forward. Thank you for working hard to make your dreams come true
and helping others. Because what that award represents to me is all the
people that I’ve been able to reach and help and come in contact with. So
it was a pretty awesome moment. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since
then and how far I’ve come from what I was going through, what you’re going
through, and how I felt like my life was just falling apart.
And to be able to stand on that stage and know what it represented, that
I’m helping a lot of people, just means the world to me. So thank you for
being here. Thank you for being in my space anyway. Today, we’re going to
be talking about the messy middle. I had a fellow coach, Shavan Perro
recently. She used this term and it has stuck with me. It’s the messy
middle. Of course, you’ve probably heard that expression before or I had
heard it before, but I’ve been thinking about it and I want to share it
with you in a way that hopefully will be helpful to you. So I want you to
imagine a time where you decide that you’re going to go clean a space in
your house. Let’s say a closet. What do you do when you clean a closet?
Oftentimes you take everything out and then you decide what you want to put
And it often gets a whole lot messier before it looks decent again, before
it looks really good and polished. So imagine also doing the same thing
with a pantry, taking everything out. I’m sure all of you listening have
done this before. You decide, I’m going to clean this space and you pull
everything out and then it is just a disaster, right? It’s a disaster. And
I know sometimes when I find myself in that situation, I think, what was I
thinking? It’s such a mess. How will I ever get it all put back together?
Now imagine somebody coming into your house and pulling everything out of
your closet, taking everything out of your closet, piles of garbage, all of
things, and the then walking away. I don’t know if you have piles of
garbage in your closet, but you know what I mean.
Boxes, bags from shopping, old things that you don’t wear anymore. They
pull it all out, empty all your shelves out and leave. Sometimes infidelity
can feel way. Somebody just came in, blew up your life and walked out. Even
if your spouse is there with you working through it with you, it can still
feel like they came in and blew everything up. And now you have this mess
that you have to deal with, right? It can be quite overwhelming. It can be
frustrating. It can be angering, right? Everywhere you look, it just looks
like a big mess. So what do you do in this situation? What do you do? This
is the messy middle. That’s what I’m going to talk about today. There are
some things that are really crucial about this space that I want you to
hear me out on, okay?
Now, if somebody were to come in and destroy your closet and take
everything out and go put it out in your bedroom, all over, all over your
bed, all over the floor, all your stuff and leave. It would be really,
really frustrating. Part of the reason why it would be really, really
frustrating is if there was no plan in place for what you’re going to do
with all of that, no plan in place for why it was all pulled out in the
first place. If somebody just did it and left and you didn’t have any idea
of where to put things or what your finished product might look like. So I
want to make the point that when we are in the space of the messy middle,
it’s very crucial that we have a beginning point and an ending point.
The beginning point is this. You see the mess, you see it all and you
decide what you are wanting to do. You decide that there are things in that
mess that you’re going to look through instead of just shoving everything
back in. You decide that you’re going to meticulously go through the
papers. You’re going to go through the clothes, you’re going to get rid of
the things that are no longer serving you and pass them along. This is
crucial with infidelity because too much of the time, we try to do a patch
up job of making things better without really doing the work at looking at
how it got so messy in the first place. Now, as I’ve said before, this does
not mean that we are taking responsibility for the choices of the spouse or
partner. The spouse or partner had multiple other options, things that they
could do besides practicing the things they did in the realm of infidelity.
There’s lots of other things they could have done. They could have insisted
on hiring a therapist. They could have insisted on both of you getting help
or all kinds of things. They could have chosen to leave, right? Instead,
they got involved with somebody outside the marriage, right? So I am not in
any way trying to pass blame here. What I am saying though, is that
infidelity is an opportunity to look at all of the pieces. To go, okay,
this is where our marriage is at. This is where it’s at. It says room
that’s full of all kinds of things. Now is any of this mess mine? Is any of
this mine? Did I help create any of this? If not, good to know, right? If
so, what is it? How did it get here? What do I need to clean up?
This is a really important part because when we understand what our role
is, we get to hand back the rest. We get to know what is ours and go to
work, cleaning up the things that we want to clean up within ourselves and
passing over the rest of it. Saying, no, this piece is not mine. This mess
is not mine. This is crucial point number one about that messy middle. You
got to be able to look at it and decide which is yours, which is not yours,
okay? The second point about this messy middle is that you’ve got to have
an end in sight. You got to be able to see what you’re going for, a vision
of what you’re going for. Before we do anything like cleaning out a pantry
or cleaning out a closet, we generally have an idea of what we want the
finished product to look like.
We might only have an image in our mind or a picture on Pinterest or
something like that, but we have an idea of what it is that we’re going
for. And even if we don’t get it Pinterest perfect, we can still get pretty
darn close. We have an idea. We know what we want. We know how we want it
to feel and that keeps us moving. It keeps us going and cleaning up the
messes and continuing to work until it’s done. Now, I recently stumbled
upon a book that is by a man named Scott Belsky. The name of the book is
called The Messy middle, The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the
Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture. It’s a long name, right?
This book is actually geared towards businesses, particularly
entrepreneurs. However, as I was preparing this podcast, I was thinking
about some of the points he makes in this book and how they are very
applicable to the messy middle of infidelity. That space in between where
things get put back together, that space that feels very, very messy.
He uses some statistics to teach. What many of us know, which is that most
businesses fail. Did you know that? Statistically speaking, most businesses
fail. When people decide to start a new venture and get a loan or whatever
they do, most of them fail. And the reason why is because the business
owners give up while they are smack dab in the messy middle. They decide it
was a dumb idea, that it won’t work. That if it was going to work, someone
else would’ve figured it out by now. That they’re not a good business
owner, that they all know enough, that the statistics are stacked against
them, et cetera, et cetera. So they quit. They walk away. In this book,
Scott Belsky addresses this and he teaches three points on this about what
has to happen to see you through the messy middle and to the other side.
Now, just to be clear, I know that you’re not in a business situation. You
are in a marriage and it is different. However, I want you to hear me out
on the things that are the same. Just like the business owner who wants to
desperately to build a business, what you are doing probably feels
impossible sometimes, building an incredible life after infidelity. Not
just a good enough life, not just a good enough marriage, we’re talking
about knocking it out of the park and building something incredible. In
light of what I said at the beginning of this podcast about earning that
award, part of why it meant so much to me is because back in 2019, I was
brand new and I own my own business. I started it from scratch. I started
out with zero clients, zero, with zero income.
And that was at the beginning of 2019. And I have now built my business
into a multiple six figure business. I could not see how it was all going
to work at that time. I did not know the how. I didn’t know how. I simply
could not have known. I just knew that I would. I knew that I had a fire in
my belly to help a lot of women get through the pain and ache of
infidelity. I spent so much time thinking about my people all the time. How
can I reach them? that didn’t work. How about this? That didn’t work. What
about this? That didn’t work. Until I started to have clients come to me
and then they started referring me to other people. And then I decided to
launch a podcast in 2020 and on and on it goes.
I could not have seen how it was all going to work. I just knew that it
would. I knew that I was going to stick with it until I did. And I think it
takes the same gumption, the same grit to work through the messy middle to
the other side of infidelity. Many people quit. Many of the books that you
read, many of the articles that you read are coming from the lens of people
who quit. I’m not trying to be harsh, but so many people quit while they’re
in the messy middle. This is too hard. This too painful. If it were really
possible to heal fully, more marriages would stay intact. You probably hear
these things, right? Guess what? They’re wrong. There is a way through to
the other side. There is. There is a way through whether you stay in your
marriage or not, depending on your very individual circumstance, you can
get to the other side of the messy middle and live an incredible life.
You will not hurt all the time. If you stay this course and don’t give up
when it gets really messy and really hard, and just assume that this is the
best your life can be, you are going to blow yourself away. You’re going to
be amazed at what you can do. So I want to teach you the three points that
this author teaches about getting to the other side of the messy middle.
Point number one, making it through the messy middle determines victory or
failure. That might sound very basic, but it’s not. Like I said, so many
people don’t make it through messy middle. They quit. They back off. They
say, “I guess this is it for me. I guess this is the best I could do.”
Making it through the messy, middle determines victory or failure. If you
quit while you’re in the messy middle, you will not be able to have the
marriage that you want, or the relationship with yourself that you want.
Keep going. Keep going during that messy middle. There will be a victory on
the other side of it. And you know what? You’re probably much closer than
you think you are. Number two, maintaining self-awareness in times of
difficulty and prosperity is vital to surviving after your journeys start.
So I think this point has a really important piece to it. Maintaining
self-awareness in times of difficulty and prosperity, not just when things
are hard, but also when things are good, because sometimes in that messy
middle, some of the mess is going to be good. Some of it’s going to feel a
little tougher. Why is self-awareness so important in both the good things
and the things that are a little harder? I’ll tell you why. For example,
let’s say that your spouse is behaving the way that you want them to.
They’re saying the right things, they’re doing the right things.
If you stop being self-aware of why this feels good to you, and it becomes
this game of just needing the validation to feel safe in the relationship,
what happens when he stops saying those things to you? Does your
self-esteem plummet? Do you start to get panicked? Do you start worrying
about what he’s doing? I hope you can see where I’m going with this. When
we outsource how we feel about ourselves, we outsource how well we are
doing to what’s coming in, what the inputs are, it becomes quite shady and
shaky. Maybe not shady, but shaky, becomes shaky because we’re depending on
something outside of ourselves. So if we can maintain that self-awareness
of why we’re feeling the way that we are, where we’re getting our input. Is
it coming from myself? Is it coming from something he’s doing and just
being aware of it?
It will help us to keep going in that messy middle and not crack when
things get hard. And number three, double down on what works well to
accomplish the most. Double down. So what does this look like here? It
looks like if you find a set of thoughts that help you to feel calm when
you start feeling shaky, keep practicing those thoughts. If you find
something that you do like an exercise or journaling or something like
that, that helps you calm down when you feel a little bit panicked, keep
doing that. Double down on what works and keep doing that thing. Keep doing
it. Double down, do it more. Keep doing it. Make it a new habit that you do
all the time. Notice the things that are helping you move forward, pay
attention to them and do them more.
These are the things that are going to help you get through the messy
middle and to the other side. What is the other side? Now, the other side
is never going to be perfect because we all live in a flawed world where
nothing is perfect, but on the other side is peace. On the other side is a
much deeper awareness of who you are and a much deeper sense of calm and
peace and happiness. And knowing that you got through it, knowing that you
have embarked on this journey that you got through the messy middle and to
the other side. You’ll know that you’re to the other side because you will
have made decisions, external decisions like staying or leaving in your
marriage, doubled down on those decisions, shown up for yourself, showing
up in a way that supports forward motion and then having the result of all
of that hard work on the other side.
So just to recap, know how the mess got there and know at least roughly
what do you want the finished product to look like. That there’s a purpose
to the mess. That there’s the meaning to the mess. It’s not just messy for
no good reason. Now, I want to just say that if you don’t know where you’re
going, and if you feel really, really lost, if you’re in the middle of a
mess and you don’t quite know how to put it together, if you’re in the
middle of a mess and you don’t quite know what to do with all the things
sitting in front of you or how they got there, I want you to come talk to
me about joining my brand new group. I just opened a group, it’s called
Know in 90. It’s for you. It’s for this very situation.
I know what it’s like to sit in a mess and not know what to do with it.
It’s a very lonely place to be. It’s a very overwhelming place to be. And
it can seem to go on and on with no end in sight. I want to help you get
clear on an end in sight, what that looks like, how you’re going to get
there. Exactly how you’re going to get there, cleaning up the mess, getting
on your way, getting out of being stuck and on your way. If this fits you,
please come talk to me. The link is in the show notes where you can come
and schedule a call with me. You can get on my email list
email@example.com where you will get information about this program.
You can message me on Instagram. There’s lots of different ways you can
This matters. Your life matters. Your experience in your life matters. And
I know that there are many of you listening that are stuck in this messy
middle without a clear direction of where you’re going. And I want to help
you with this. I’ve got space for 20 women and the spots are filling up. If
you’re interested, come talk to me. The doors close in a week after this
episode is released. They close in a week. If you are interested, come talk
to me and we can get you in. Okay my friends, go love yourself in the
middle of your messy.
Give yourself love, compassion, and know that it is normal. It’s normal to
feel out of sorts and messy in that middle space and know that there’s
purpose and meaning in it and that you will get to the other side. That’s
what I have for you today. I love you. Thank you for being here and I’ll
see you next week. Bye-bye.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.