We are all broken in some way; either we were born that way, or we became broken over time. Some of us fracture easily; some of us are harder and it takes a lot more to smash us to pieces. Some of us are broken early in our lives, some later on. Sadly, we also do much of the damage–we are too critical of ourselves, we beat ourselves up over real or imagined failures, and we look for (and see) flaws of every type.
We can have major or minor disasters happen to us; but each one is real enough to stop us in our tracks. Sometimes we have what I call ‘forced breakage;’ we suddenly find we need a surgery that will keep us housebound for weeks. Our car breaks down, and we have to take the bus. A loved one dies, leaving us shattered and aching. We lose a job and are so angry and sad that we can’t imagine ever feeling good again–we let ourselves fall into that oft-repeated phrase: “Been down so long, it looks like up from here.”
But what if all that breakage are lessons? What if these are situations we need to experience in order to become all we are meant to be? I watched a program recently about people who had faced devastating injuries, and listened to a pretty young girl talk about having to lose one of her legs. She had contracted an infection in one leg that threatened her life. When the doctor told her that the only way to survive was to lose that leg, she said that in that moment she wanted to live so badly that losing a leg seemed like a small sacrifice. She made up her mind to get through the surgery and rehabilitation with a positive outlook, and she did all she could to heal and become strong again.
She turned a life-changing diagnosis into a positive turn in her life. She had been going to school to become a lawyer, but during her recovery, decided to become a physical therapist. Just imagine all the people she is able to help now–just because she became temporarily “broken.”
Imagine what you would say to a friend who came to you in tears, saying that she was ugly, stupid, worthless and that no one would ever love her. Wouldn’t you put your arms around her, and tell her that she is the dearest friend you have and that she is indeed beautiful, smart, wonderful and meant the world to you? Of course! So why can’t we do that for ourselves when we need lifting up?
I’ve said this before in previous posts, and will say it again here: I believe that before we are born, we choose our family. We may need a family who is nurturing, loving and accepting to help us blossom into who we need to become. Or we may need a family who is critical, mean-spirited and indifferent to us; again, because we need that environment to test and hone us into the people we will be.
We are so much more than what we look like, what physical, mental or emotional handicaps we have; where we come from, whether we are rich or poor, or whether we have a good or bad childhood. Our magnificent potential is always there inside us–whether we do something with it or not, is it there, ready to burst into bloom. So how do we work with our own breakage?
First and foremost, we don’t let the shards of our breakage define us. We don’t make them an excuse to stay broken. We look at the broken bits and see them for what they are–steps toward being stronger, happier, more fulfilled and able to see the best in ourselves. I’ll pass on *something I learned a few years ago, and I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.
Try this simple exercise every day for a month–give it just 30 days, and see how you feel. This exercise consists of seven simple steps:
1. Look yourself in the eyes in your mirror at least once a day, and say, “hi, beautiful!”
2. Put your left hand with fingers together over your heart, and place your right hand with fingers together over your left hand. Hold this position for at least five seconds and say out loud, “this is the heart of a good person.”
3. Say to yourself out loud “everything today is going to be GREAT!” Say it with a smile and repeat this phrase 15 times once a day.
4. Say to yourself out loud “all is well.” Say it with a smile and repeat this phrase 15 times once a day.
5. At least once a day, sit quietly, close your eyes and breathe in through your nose slowly and deeply to the count of five, then breathe out out through your nose slowly and deeply to the count of five. This is a great way to release stress and clear your thoughts.
6. Keep your ‘shield’ up! Imagine your own shield any way you want to (mine is made of rock crystal). When around negativity of any kind, mentally put up your shield so that you don’t absorb any of that bad energy.
7. Remember that when other people are angry, sad or worried, it’s all about them–not about you. You can be comforting and kind, but you don’t have to absorb their negativity.
In a recent post, I mentioned the **Japanese art of Kintsugi. Literally, it means repairing broken pottery with seams of gold, making the pottery beautiful and valuable because of its uniqueness. The same process can be true for people–we can make all those broken pieces of us beautiful by the ‘gold’ of how we put those pieces together.
*I owe a debt of gratitude to Noreen McDonald, from whom I took some amazing and life-changing classes. Please visit her web site at http://noreenmcdonald.com.
**See http://akintsugilife.com/ for more information