This blog post was sparked by a song by Pink – Learn to love again. In it she says, “We’re not broken, just bent.”
I can distinctly remember a few times in my life where I felt like I just broke. Literally. It was almost an audible sound and physical snap deep in my core. Maybe that’s happened to you too. But, I didn’t really break. There was a shift, yes. Nothing would ever be the same again, no. But I didn’t break. And for a while afterward, I was a little bent. That bend marked the place that I had to work on.
That feeling of brokenness can stop you dead in your tracks. Just like a conked-out car, you might feel like you have lost the motivation to go one more inch. Every time I have felt broken, I was certain I could never be put back together. But that too was untrue.
And so today, maybe you feel broken. Maybe you know you’re a little bent.
Broken or bent: I have a few words of encouragement for you, my friend:
1. Life never stays the same.
There are some things that I wish were different and some things I wish would never change- and yet they all do. When you are feeling a little broken, please know that it won’t- can’t last forever. Will it all go back to the way it used to be? No, it never can my friend, but each time I have felt broken, I would ‘t take back the old experience for anything. Because what was restored was actually better. Yes, it can be better. The choice is yours.
2. Sometimes when we feel broken, we feel that something is deeply wrong with us.
That we aren’t like other people, that we will never be good enough or whole enough or well enough.
I have a unique perspective and opportunity to peek inside people’s lives, minds, and worlds. Pretty much nowhere else in the world, can you get an uncurated view of people’s internal worlds like I get as a therapist. It is an honor. I do not take this privilege lightly.
My clients have taught me so very much. They have taught me that we are all the same. We all want the same things. The Superior Court Judge and the guy who owns the tire shop all have the same insecurities, needs, desires, and emotions underneath the surface of how they show up in the world. And we all feel broken sometimes. You are not alone in this.
Part of the reason we feel broken is comparison. The Superior Court Judge isn’t comparing himself to the tire shop owner, he’s comparing himself to the Supreme Court Justice. The tire shop owner isn’t comparing himself to the cashier at McDonald’s, he’s comparing himself to the more successful franchise owner across town. We compare and we feel less than.
Or something devastating happens in our lives and we compare it to our expectation of how it should be and it falls so very short.
We can begin to heal some of our brokenness by:
1. Stop asking the why’s.
Life is a mystery and no matter how great you are at solving them, you’re not going get this one figured out before it’s all over. You will understand one day. But now isn’t the time, so stop with the why’s. It just is.
My sister told me once that she hates it when I say “It is what it is.” But I don’t know any simpler way to say I accept what is and recognize that this life- this one that we have is meant to be experienced. Accept that it is a mystery. We lose parts of the experience by turning a magnifying glass on it all. Sometimes we need the magnifying glass, but not when we are feeling broken. Now isn’t the time.
It is what it is and it will get better.
2. Know and tell yourself over and over that you deserve love.
I have a number of clients who will say that they feel that they are too broken for anyone to want to love them. This is so wrong. Remember I told you that EVERYONE feels broken at some point or another? Everyone. Don’t succumb to that negative self-talk that says you are too broken. You are not broken. You are bent and even in your bent shape, you are still attractive and you are still deserving of love.
3. You need to feel those feelings, don’t bury them.
That’s pretty much an answer for everything and there is a reason. It’s so much easier to bury your feelings when you feel broken. It hurts! The pain can feel like too much, but when you do, it just makes them worse. Feelings don’t stay that way when you bury them. They morph and rot and change into something very unhealthy.
4. Focus on what you can do and praise yourself for it.
Focus on what you have left that is functional. You are still there underneath the pain. Focus on what is working in your life.
5. Envision your resilience.
Don’t just hope for it. Know that every second that ticks by, your resilience is growing because you are getting through this. Emotional resilience is created through our brokenness.
I want you now to envision your cracks filling up with light. I want you to see the gaping spaces where you feel broken wide open reforming and building themselves into a better version of you.
6. See beyond your brokenness.
Mark Nepo said, “To be broken is no reason to see all things broken.” When we are in a place of pain, it’s hard to see beyond it. But look up. No, really! Turn your face up to the sky and lookup. It is vast. There is so much beyond your brokenness and you are a part of that. You are going to choose to live, to love, to trust, and to dance again. Keep that on your horizon as you walk through this journey.
You, beautiful strong being are not broken. You’re just a little bent.
Written by: Dr. Zoe Shaw Originally appeared on: Drzoeshaw.com Republished with permission.