Sometimes life comes down on us like a ton of bricks, and we start to feel like we’re the problem. Experiencing traumatic events, failed relationships, having a mental health condition, or feeling unsuccessful can make us feel like we’re “damaged goods.” And we may start to wonder: am I broken?

In these moments where we feel broken, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s ok to feel this way. Validating this feeling allows you to see yourself as human and helps you move forward. You may feel broken in this moment, but you will not feel broken forever.

Life can make us feel broken

Feeling broken and feeling unworthy often go hand in hand. We often equate our worthiness with our success in life.  And we fall into the thinking trap of believing that we should be at a certain place or have made certain achievements. Acknowledge this feeling, but try not to dwell in it. Feeling broken is a sign to reorient your life and start figuring out where your priorities are. No matter how broken or unworthy you’re feeling, you’re always worthy of happiness.

Or sometimes our life experiences make us feel broken. Living through traumatic experiences or living with a mental health condition may make us wonder, “Have I experienced things so damaging that I’m broken?” When we feel this way it’s important to recognize that what has happened in the past (or present) has no effect on your worthiness.  You may be going through a difficult time right now, but you will get through it.

Feeling broken may amplify the belief that something must be wrong with you while the rest of the world goes on with their lives. It can feel like everyone else has it all together while you can’t seem to figure life out. But this isn’t actually true. At some point, many of us feel broken.  We’re all human, and life is messy. Comparing yourself to others will only make you feel worse, so try to avoid this if possible.

Gluing yourself back together

A ceramic bowl, broken and repaired with gold.
Image source: Wikimedia Foundation

This photograph shows a ceramic dish that has been broken—and repaired with gold. (This is a Japanese technique called kintsugi.) The cracks represent a permanent loss… but they also allow the dish to be more beautiful than it was before—and a lot more interesting.

Think of yourself as a vase. You may have been broken, but a broken vase glued back together is still a vase. Even if it doesn’t look quite the same as before, it still serves its original purpose. This is a powerful analogy to remember when you feel broken. Even though you may have a few scars, you’re still the same person. You’re still here, and you still have a purpose.

Though it might not seem like it now, our challenges make us who we are. Your experiences are the glue that holds the vase together. When you’re deep in the trenches of feeling broken this might sound like nonsense, but it’s true: your past has made you stronger or helped you to grow in some way.  While you may feel broken, you can always glue yourself back together and rebuild.

If you’re concerned about your mental health, start by taking one of our mental health tests. Or by exploring the links on this site to learn more about mental health.

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