How do you view your “broken” spots? Are they embarrassing areas of your life that you can’t bear to think or talk about? Do they make you feel less than and as if you’ll never see yourself or be seen as normal? When you think of your mistakes and failures, do you cringe and hope that no one ever finds out about them?

I seriously hope not, but if you do, this photo and the explanation that goes with it may shift your view and make you feel a whole lot better about yourself. This beautiful bowl is unique because of its fractures. I love that idea. For example, part of my uniqueness (and, oddly, my professional success) comes from having had eating disorders galore—chronic dieting, overeating/emotional/compulsive eating, and bulimia. At the time, I felt horrible about my behaviors and incredibly defective and broken. Now I look back and proudly think about what I overcame. I neither wish those behaviors away nor cherish them. Rather, I consider that I wouldn’t be me without having had them.

What happened to you as a child may make you feel broken. Maybe you were sexually, physically or verbally abused. Or your parents neglected you. Or you were poor, bullied by other children, and scorned by your neighbors. Or you had parents with drug or alcohol problems or mental illness. The fact is that you didn’t choose these things. They were situations over which you had little or no control. These things happened to you. You never were broken—nothing was ever wrong with you that needed fixing. You only felt that way.

The choices you made as an adult may make you feel broken. Perhaps you repeatedly had sex or relationships with people who treated you poorly. Or married one or several of these people. Maybe you drank too much or lost jobs because you were drug, alcohol, or gambling addicted. Very possibly you hurt people because you were confused and scared, lacked effective and mature life skills, and didn’t know any better.

Rather than view yourself as broken because of any of the above, why not incorporate these things with neutrality into your identity. These experiences made you who you are today, a unique person. There will never be anyone like you again in this world. Embrace and enjoy your uniqueness. There’s really no other healthy choice, is there?

Best,

Karen

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