You're not Broken...You just think you are!
A few months ago I was watching the Tony Robbins Documentary on Netflix: I am not your Guru. As I watched other people face their struggles, I was an emotional mess. I was crying with them -- because I identified. I said out loud to myself: "I'm so sick of being broken." Then I caught myself and a higher thought came to me: "You're not broken. You just think you are." My shoulders dropped, my breathing slowed and I immediately felt relaxed. "You're not broken. You just think you are."
I had this moment of clarity and I was like, "Oh, wait, I'm still whole". It was ironic because I was in a good place emotionally when I went to watch the doc, but seeing others work through their struggles in a very vulnerable way, reeled me in. So why all of a sudden would I say, "I'm so sick of being broken", immediately followed by the remembrance that I'm not broken? I carried around that narrative of "I'm broken" for many years -- as if I was so flawed that if anyone really knew "the real me", they'd drop me. That led to years of over compensating by trying to make everything look really good or acting like (what my therapist calls) a "shiny clown".
Below is a video of my first motivational speech. I was really nervous to give it, because I knew I was going to share really dark parts of my past that very few people know about me. The struggles I've recovered from that have shaped the person I am today. I shared in great detail about being a messy drug addict and a pathological liar; things I thought I'd never talk about in public. Rather than clearing the room after I spoke, I had people waiting to give me a hug or talk to me.
For some reason this story endeared me to others, and they wanted to be around me. It was the most freeing feeling in the world. I talked about things that are very shameful for me and the end result is that people wanted more of me. A couple people told me to write a book. This is proof that my story and my struggles, and my path to recovery, may help someone else. Which is why, in the last few months, I've slowly started to post about this stuff and open up. It still overwhelms me with fear that my truth will turn people away. However, I know my personal healing helps others heal, so if I'm feeling guided to share deeply, it means that whoever is reading this...well, you're meant to be reading this. If this resonates with you, this was written for you.
I don't believe "I'm broken" anymore, but every now and then that fear cycles into my mind. I have done a LOT of work on myself over the years. I'm a shining success story of all the therapists I've seen, personal growth workshops I've attended, online self-help live streams I've watched, healing/forgiveness books I've read, and audio books I've listened to about being positive.
I've healed trauma from being bullied, overcome addictions that tore me down and cleaned up relationships that I once sabotaged. I've learned to show up to my emotional struggles and work through them rather than running from them. I have self-care tools to live a well balanced life and an awareness of my "bad behavior" patterns, so that I don't repeat them. Who I am today is a composite of my struggles and fears and the hard work I've done to heal from all that bullshit that was keeping me off the path to being "my best self".
What I've come to understand is that I'm not broken; and what actually makes me most authentic and appealing to others is my openness with my self-help journey (and being honest with people when my shit gets turned upside down). Turns out, people want to know about that. Friends always ask my favorite self-help author or any sort of self-care or healing resources.
Lately I've been talking to people struggling with this sense of "being broken". I want you to know, you're not broken. And to the extent that you feel "broken", well, that means there's a wide open space for change and healing! We all struggle with something -- so the good news is you are not alone. The even better news is that I'm a walking/talking self-help resource. Below are a few links to blog posts I've written about my healing journey or tools to reduce stress and anxiety. If you have any questions or need further suggestions or resources, please e mail me firstname.lastname@example.org!