“I think I might be broken.”
I’ve said it numerous times over the past few years. To myself, family, and friends.
I embarked on a journey to knowing myself, a little bit before I had my daughters, but a lot afterward. Motherhood was the true catalyst for unpacking and understanding who I was as a woman, and how my mind’s perception of my identity impacted how I was showing up in my mothering, marriage, friendships, and career.
They say “you can’t un-know what you know.”
When you begin to question the ways you have been socially and culturally constructed to behave in the various roles you’re living out, continuing to operate within these confines can feel suffocating.
It feels like you might be broken.
As I’ve gone along, unravelling the stories woven around my existence, it began to occur to me the lies I’d believed about my brokenness.
I’ve noted ten big ones that I’ve had to dance with, gently and lovingly, in order to loosen their grip and re-learn new ways to fulfill my true potential. Here they are for you to feel into — do any resonate with you?
10 reasons you think you might be broken (but you’re really just waking up):
1. You feel like you don’t fit in with your regular “crowd” anymore.
All of a sudden you might get a sense of not belonging to your usual crew. You feel unable to connect with small talk and limiting, finite concepts. It can seem isolating and confusing during this stage. But know, there are others feeling very much the same. Seek them out for support while you navigate this strange space together.
2. You feel lost in the unknown
I get it. The devil you know is still the devil you know. You’re unhappy, but you’ve been in the dynamic bringing dissatisfaction for a long time and it’s a safe kind of shitty. When we consciously step away from the devils we know intimately, whether the habit, relationship, job, new approach to parenting/sex/health (you name it), we find ourselves in the vast unknown. This is normal, and when we learn to surrender — here is where exciting potential lies.
3. You feel defeated by your body (i.e. illness, injury, unexplained ailments)
The pain that won’t go away. The viral outbreaks, infections, or weird unexplainable rash that’s come up. You know what I’m saying? One thing I know for sure is that our bodies don’t lie. And knowing this, despite eventually being cause for empowerment, can make things feel impossible as we navigate what our temple is communicating to us.
It’s so easy to want to diagnose and medicate when we believe our body to be broken. I am not saying that both diagnosis or medication are invalid — this is a choice only you can make — but woman, if you hear the niggling internal voice pleading with you to listen more deeply, perhaps it’s time to do just that.
4. You feel hypersensitive and overwhelmed by life
It should be no surprise that most women who are waking up to the voice of their soul feel as though they don’t belong and lost in the black hole of self-development, are highly sensitive human beings. If this describes you, you’ll be no stranger to being on the receiving end of labels like: too much, super emotional, intense, or hard work. We’re the women who feel deeply and feel most free when we’re expressing ourselves authentically. The catch is learning to support and love ourselves unconditionally because of our sensitivity, not despite it.
5. You keep making choices that dishonour your values — even though you know better
I’ve found that nothing presses play on my “I’m broken” cracked record like continuing to succumb to triggers, make choices or habitually respond in ways I don’t feel good about, particularly concerning behaviours I’ve been so dedicated to growing beyond. The trap here, dear one, is that we’re not taught to love ourselves through the fuck-ups. We’re taught to beat ourselves up to be “better.” Well, that’s bullshit. You are worthy of love, even when you make the same mistake over and over. Trust it will be this kind of love that makes up the key ingredient to living a self-honouring life.
6. You feel so goddamn angry at the world
Anger. Fury. Seething rage. Emotions that can feel so overwhelmingly scary to a woman who’s never known such fire in her body. Women are used to feeling sad or anxious, but many of us are not used to the depth of anger that we’re entitled to feel. Good girls don’t get angry or throw tantrums, so we’re told. Good girls politely accept their lot in life and don’t make a fuss.
Well, woman, here’s the truth. If you’re bursting with “unexplainable” anger, it’s begging to be felt and expressed. Your job is not to make sense of it necessarily, but to respect its presence and find ways to release it that feels cathartic and healing. You’re not broken, you’re on the right track.
7. You feel like a comfort zone is a thing of the past
If you’re waking up to the limiting stories you’ve been living by, then get ready to say goodbye to comfort created by ignorance. This can feel exhausting, like things used to be “so easy.” Except hindsight is an interesting thing, because if things were so good before, then why were you craving so much more? Unfortunately (or fortunately) growth requires discomfort.
It’s in the meeting of unfamiliar edges that we’re able to expand into new, courageous territory. Calling in support here is essential. On the path to waking up and fulfilling our greatest potential, we need guides and mentors to steer us forward and remind us of how far we’ve come.
8. You feel numb to opportunities for pleasure
Let me preface this with another affirmation: you’re not broken. If you deeply desire to feel more pleasure in your body, your relationships, and your life in general, then simply having the awareness of feeling numb to pleasure is an exceptional realisation.
I want to remind you that we numb ourselves to protect ourselves. This is a learned behaviour. From reasons stemming from trauma and abuse, to behaviours compensating for un-worthiness including over-working and addiction to busy-ness, women have been denying themselves pleasure for generations upon generations. Please know, it’s yours to reclaim — with loving patience and self-devotion.
9. You’re always censoring your truth because you assume others won’t understand
Your husband has stopped asking what you’re doing with the candles and “witchy” cards. Your mum rolls her eyes when you suggest it might be worth exploring the link between repressed emotions and her allegedly unshakeable infection. A curious mind attracts judgment in others. Venturing outside the tight constraints of patriarchal norms invites power struggles in relationships where conformity was the benchmark to acceptability.
As you begin to let your intuition lead, be ready to face opposition. As you integrate your newfound truths into how you show up, honour yourself and those around you with compassion. You’re learning a new dance and not everyone can keep up with the steps at the same time.
10. You suspect that the life you thought you wanted might actually be your worst nightmare
Early- to mid-life crisis anyone? If I had a dollar for every woman (most definitely myself included) who found herself with the house, the cars, the kids, and the job…and then promptly spiralled into panic, realising that the life she’s always dreamed of is actually her worst nightmare — I’d be super-rich. Yet, possibly unhappy, because emptiness cannot be filled with money and a white picket fence. If this is where you’re at, Beauty, let me say it again — you’re not broken.
Waking up equals some hard truths. The hardest for many being that the systems and structures we’ve all relied on to show us the path to fulfillment are based on shallow, soul-sucking, oppressive values that serve to disconnect us from our personal power and squish us into neat little conformist boxes so we don’t make life hard for rich white men.
To dismantle these boxes is no easy feat. I believe that it requires a process of un-learning, owning, expressing, and devoting — all in the name of the Feminine Rebellion.
With those fighting words, I would invite you, however, to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. We don’t need to run away (although sometimes this might be the best option) and cancel out people, places, and situations completely.
Often times, it’s about allowing the pendulum to swing the other way, before it can settle somewhere in the middle. When we come to learn we’ve outgrown an existence that no longer fits with who we are, it can feel like the only answer is to flip it all on its head (or is that just me?). Instead, perhaps it might be an option to pause and:
Going slow allows for our nervous systems to calibrate. If we’re triggered or in a state of distress, the best thing we can do is create space and intentionally slow down before we make drastic moves.
Seeking support is the most responsible and the most powerful choice you can make when you are considering big change. Internal shifts require external scaffolding. Find the healers, practitioners, teachers, and mentors who can provide the container for your exploration and growth.
Honour It All
Finally, trust that your perception of “brokenness” indicates you’re in a huge state of re-birth. It can feel near impossible some days, but wherever possible I invite you to practice honouring it all.
Every messy situation. Every message (welcome or unwelcome) communicated by your body. Every uncomfortable learning edge.
Being human is never slick, shiny, and perfect.
Being human is wondering if you might be broken, but instead choosing to trust that you’re simply in the messy middle of a natural process of shedding your old skin and settling into the new skin that feels most true for you.
Kate coaches and mentors women who desire to transform their perception of brokenness into an empowered, embodied experience of authentic feminine self-expression. Click here to schedule a free call with Kate.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life: BS-Free Wisdom to Ignite Your Inner Badass and Live the Life You Deserve.
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