You Are Not Broken

If you spend any time on Facebook at all, you may find yourself wondering if you are broken because there are so many memes and quotes that would make brokenness seem viable. However, I think Steve Maraboli is the one person who got it right:

We are told countless times, either directly or indirectly, that we are broken. We are broken because of our varying emotions. If we’re down and out, depressed and feeling unworthy, then we are broken. If we are overweight and can’t seem to slim down, then something must be wrong with us. If we can’t get our lives in order to match those of the people who seem to have it all together, then again, we must be broken. (Newsflash: None of us have it all together all of the time.) Society eggs on that feeling of brokenness by revealing what it conceives to be our flaws – and we believe it.

According to OxfordDictionaries.com, the definition of broken is:

(of a person) having given up all hope; despairing

So, basically, unless you are in total despair and you have absolutely no hope left within you, you just might be broken according to this definition. (Honestly, if you are that hopeless, you should tell someone you trust, seek medical help, and/or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.) The vast majority of us are not to that point of self-destruction. We may occasionally cry ourselves to sleep at night or throw a fit in anger, but we are resilient and bounce back. If we were truly broken, we wouldn’t even see bouncing back as an option.

In the book, A River to Live By, written by my former Morita therapy professor from Washburn University, Dr. Brian Ogawa, “Life flows from being emotion-all.” That means we should feel all of our emotions and allow them to flow naturally. It also means that if we aren’t happy all the time, it is not an indication that we are broken. If you think about it, happiness is not a destination; it’s just part of the journey. It is not the emotions that are good or bad – or complete or broken. It is how we act because of those emotions that can be either good or bad.

For example, if you are angry, throwing a chair at the person you are angry with is highly unacceptable. No doubt, that is a bad reaction. Eventually, you are going to feel happy again – maybe not about that person, but something else will evoke that feeling in you. On the other hand, if you are happy because life just seems to be totally in your favor, it’s probably not a good idea to flaunt it around because, eventually, you are going to feel another emotion altogether, probably one less feel-goodish. Are you broken because you suddenly find yourself from a happiness high to a sad low? No. You are merely human.

It is the labeling of our emotions that causes us to feel that we are broken. Once we take that away and just accept our emotions as they come, it takes the pressure off to always strive to be happy since it has been labeled as a “good” emotion. Don’t get me wrong: Being happy is an awesome feeling. But oftentimes we have to find the gratitude toward those emotions that don’t give us what happiness does; every single emotion has its purpose.

The same goes for beauty. Absolutely none of us have perfect skin, perfect lips, perfect eyes, perfect anything. If you were to ask even the fittest people about their bodies, each and every one of them would have something they actually dislike about it. Striving to be the healthiest we can be is not a path to flawlessness; rather, it’s a path toward living life to its fullest.

Now back to Steve Maraboli’s quote:

Maybe the reason nothing seems to be “fixing you” is because you’re not broken. Let today be the day you stop living within the confines of how others define or judge you. You have a unique beauty and purpose; live accordingly.

Stop trying to fix that which isn’t broken. If you want to improve some areas of your life – who doesn’t? – then by all means, take the steps necessary to do so! Just put the glue away and accept your “unique beauty and purpose,” and start living life like you mean it. Feed your fierce and all the emotions (and “flaws”!) that go with it.

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