Do you feel broken? Oh boycan I relate. Let me tell you a story…
Confession: I used to hate looking at this picture.
This was taken just a few days before the sudden end of my marriage in 2011.
Looking at this photo used to make me want to run back in time and warn that girl to run. It made me crazy that I couldn’t tell that girl what was coming. It made me crazy that I couldn’t somehow go back in time and protect myself.
This is all just to tell you that if you feel broken right now, trust me, I know how you feel.
And although I know it won’t take away any of the hurt you’re feeling right now, please know that eventually, you’ll find the light in the experience.
Growth rarely happens when we’re cozy and secure in our life.
You can try to control your job, your friends, your family, your relationship. And you might even succeed for a little while.
But eventually, life will come along and give us a giant shove out of our comfy zone.
Marriages end. Jobs are eliminated. People die.
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen
Let’s be real: it fucking sucks to have your life ripped apart.
There’s not much I (or anyone) can say to lessen the blow of that experience or take the pain away.
It fucking sucked when I lost my apartment, husband and job in the space of 24 hours.
(Oh man did it suck!)
But it had to happen.
I literally would not be sitting here writing this post without that experience.
Back then, I was stuck in an unhealthy relationship.
I’d lost faith in myself and in my power.
And I had stopped loving myself long enough to let all of that happen.
I could blame him for everything that happened (and for a long time I did).
But the truth is I had allowed that situation into my life.
I allowed myself to be with someone who sought to control me more than love me.
It was me that let that energy into my life.
I had opened the door and let that person walk all over me.
That’s my low self-esteem issue in the end.
(And it was a harsh thing to realize.)
When your doors have been kicked down and you’ve spent your reserves, just know that’s where the magic happens.
Everyone experiences a rock-bottom moment.
As much as it hurts at the time, that moment frequently becomes the catalyst for profound change.
Thinking back, I was wildly unhappy with my marriage and completely stressed about the business I had with my ex.
But I was stuck in the mentality that it was all still worth fighting for.
Losing it all sucked, but you know what?
It’s exactly what I wanted.
I didn’t want to be controlled anymore. Nor did I want a loveless existence. I simply didn’t want to live my life as the supporting character in someone else’s story.
(Of course it took a long time to realize that.)
But you can’t lie to the Universe.
The Universe always knows exactly what was up.
The separation sucked but it also made me strong.
It made me free. I had to fall down to find myself again.
I realized that living under the wing of someone else was not fucking good enough.
I got my voice back–even though I didn’t even know it was missing.
And it made me fall back in love with myself and, eventually, to create a life that I’m wildly in love with.
An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward.
The truth is you’re feeling broken because the old version of you no longer exists. You can’t go back to being that person and that’s okay.
You get to figure yourself out all over again. And that’s a fucking rare opportunity in this life.
Feeling broken creates space for huge fundamental shifts in the way we live our life.
When we strive to be happy all the time, we’re not growing. Comfort doesn’t challenge us. It doesn’t let us see what we’re really made of.
I know this for certain:
It’s one thing to jump out of a plane on your own terms. It’s entirely another to be shoved out the door!
Truth is, either way, you’ll learn something profound about yourself.
You’ll realize how strong you are.
Life isn’t always fair. All the positive thinking in the world won’t prevent certain things from happening to us.
And it’s okay.
There are a million different ways that losing my entire life made me find myself again.
Before I was broken, I was a creative person. But my career goals were largely self-oriented. Today, my focus is 100% on helping others with my work. In the end, I experienced several major shifts, but that’s a pretty profound one which has led me here today.
I don’t want to tell you that there’s always a silver lining. Nor will I tell you that everything works out for the best. When you’re truly down, it’s impossible to see either of those things.
I’m sharing this story today just in case one little part of it resonates with you.
Because we all experience hurt and loss and we all hit the bottom at some point.
And knowing that you’re not alone somehow makes it all a little easier.
Feel Broken? 4 Ways To Reframe
Reframe Feeling Broken Method #1:
Recognize Your Ego Death
For most people, the initial reaction after a major blow is to fight your way back to where you were. After all, you’re experiencing ego death: the things you once thought about yourself and your world are no longer true.
It’s usually not the blow that’s so disturbing. But when we experience major loss, we also lose our sense of identity.
The human brain does not like that. Our sense of self is a powerful thing. It’s the bedrock of how we experience the world. But the reality is that our world is a lot more fluid and changing than our brains let us realize.
You feel like you’re in mourning because you are. Although you might not realize it, you’re mourning the person you used to be.
But at the end of it all, you are the same person without the job, house, parent, spouse etc. It will just take your brain a little while to know that.
Reframe Feeling Broken Method #2:
It’s time to take care of you, boo. During times of stress, it’s easy to forget to sleep or eat or shower. You might not want to do any of those things. But start forcing yourself through the motions. Create distractions in your day. You don’t have to have endless coffee dates or social time but fill your schedule with something. Give your emotions a lot of leeway to their thing but don’t (god!) give yourself unending times of feeling sorry for yourself.
There’s a huge difference between self-care and wallowing. Your body and mind still work. So even if you don’t feel like it, there’s a lot of different things you can make them do.Book a massage. Join a running group or take a class. Finding something else to focus on is a method of self-care.
Reframe Feeling Broken Method #3:
Right now, your life is out of your control. And you know what? It’s all okay.
Control is always just an illusion. When you feel rocked to your very core, the first thing you want to do is grab onto something for dear life.
But don’t forget, you already know how to swim.
The world may have uprooted you but YOU still exist.
Yes, it’s still a process. I know those words grate on people in times of need because in those times all you want is for someone to tell you EXACTLY how much longer you’re going to feel like shit.
But no one can do that for you. And there’s no way of knowing what’s going to happen next. The dust is still settling around you. And when it settles, you still won’t know exactly what to do because EVERYTHING has changed.
Don’t expect everything to be the same. It won’t be and that’s okay.
Not being in control can be a beautiful thing. It’s funny how the Universe shows up for us, when we let it.
Reframe Feeling Broken Method #4:
Realize It’s All Temporary
Whether you feel good or bad in this current moment, one thing is always true: it’s only temporary. Everything. Good feelings, sad feelings, every other kind of feeling. All of it: temporary.
A year after my traumatic separation, while on vacation in Bali, I got an infinity symbol tattooed on my wrist.
I had always had an affinity (ha) for that symbol but it served to be a perfect marker of my own survival. Life is always up and down, growth, death and rebirth. We’re constantly being remade and reborn, even when things are going well for us! Nothing is permanent, ever. The only thing we can do is stop to enjoy those beautiful moments as they pass.
Realize it all goes too fast in the end, even these tragic moments. Slow it down, breathe it in and be profoundly grateful that you’re alive.
Throw yourself off the bridge to see if you can fly.
Get slammed up against the rocks because goddamnit, you were trying.
Burn it all down to build it all up again.
There’s a million ways to kill your life (intentionally or not).
It all hurts. It’s fucking hard.
And in the end, it’ll all be okay.
We’re each defined by our challenges, not our safety zone.
We can bow down and give up or come back stronger than before.
You’re a fucking powerful creature. Don’t ever forget it.
By the way, that picture doesn’t make me want to scream anymore.
These days, I take a look at that picture and think “Oh my God, girl you are almost free“.