Society conditions us to focus on our imperfections and do everything that we can to fix our flaws. This can make us critical of ourselves and never feel like we’re good enough. You can improve and be a better you without having to judge and berate yourself. Get a perspective shift by learning four reasons why you’re not broken but a work in progress. You’ll realize that everything you need lies within you. (Estimated reading time: 5 minutes)
“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.”— Unknown
When you wake up in the morning and look at yourself in the mirror, what’s the first thought you have?
If you’re like most of us, you might zoom into that tiny zit on your forehead, the bags under your eyes, or you’ll find some other imperfection to fixate on that goes beyond your appearance; your tedious job, lackluster love life, or your insecurities and emotional baggage.
If you feel this way, know that you’re not alone. In our ’fix me‘ culture, we’re constantly reminded of our so-called imperfections. Consumerism tantalizes us with make-up to cover up our blemishes, cosmetic surgery to make our bodies more appealing to conventional aesthetics, psychotherapists to help us ‘fit in’, self-improvement courses, and pills to rid us of our psychological wounds and worries.
Maybe you were told that you’re too shy and awkward – that you need to come out of your shell and take more chances in life. Perhaps you were betrayed and hurt in the past, and you never recovered from the damage. Maybe you come from a modest background, and you never felt you were wealthy or successful enough to impress others.
For the longest time, I felt that there was something wrong with me. While growing up, family members always reminded me of my inadequacies because I didn’t fit into their culturally acceptable mold. When I was younger, I always questioned my worth and consequently attracted people who mirrored my insecurities.
It became clear to me that deviating from the norm is often seen as something that needs to be fixed by people with rigid mindsets. Over time, I learned that their opinions shouldn’t be a yardstick I used to measure my value and what I’m capable of.
This applies to anyone who tries to tell you that you’re broken, whether it’s a boss, friend, partner, or even a commercial. If you buy into what they tell you, you’ll fall into the rabbit hole of self-loathing and pathologizing yourself. You’ll be on a never-ending quest to find solutions and quick-fixes to reach an impossible ideal.
If you’re battling these voices, remember that you’re not broken – you’re a work in progress, like a sapling that needs to be watered and nourished before it can come into full bloom. You’re not resting on your laurels or being delusional about what needs improvement in your life.
You can improve and be a better you without having to judge and berate yourself. Author Mike Dooley writes, “You do not need fixing or self-help so much as you need self-love and acceptance. When you show yourself unconditional love and compassion, old unhelpful patterns of thought and behavior naturally begin to fade away.”
There is no one else like you on the planet. You have a unique genetic blueprint and a magnificent constellation of qualities that come with that. There never was and never will be another you.
You’re a unique manifestation of nature, and that’s why you’re enough. Losing 10 pounds, finding your dream partner, or wearing a cute outfit are superficial changes. They can’t transform your essence. Don’t listen to what the world has to say. You’re already everything you need to be, and you don’t need to become someone else.
Writer E.E Cummings wrote that “to be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight- and never stop fighting.”
So, fight for staying true to you. Change when you need to, and commit to a life of constant betterment, not to fix yourself, but to enhance what’s already shining from within.
Here are four reasons why you’re not broken, but a work in progress:
1. You were born whole: Look into the eyes of a child, and you’ll see no signs of self-judgement. They are in their purest state because no part of them believes that they are broken. At that stage, we instinctively know that we are born whole, and we’ll continue to be whole for the rest of our lives. When you access your natural strengths, you’ll realize that everything you need lies within you, despite what society has conditioned you to think.
2. Your flaws make you human: Everyone has a light and a dark side to them. The duality of human nature has been recognized since the earliest civilizations. We’re all capable of heroic acts, and acts of kindness, but we’re also just as capable of committing atrocious crimes. Acceptance of this universal truth will open the door to self-awareness and allow decision-making that handles our dark side with a sense of responsibility and compassion.
3. Past mistakes and pain don’t define you: Very often, a sense of brokenness comes from holding onto our past mistakes and hurts. We keep reliving painful incidents and holding onto the memories until they gradually begin to define us and influence our choices. Author Caroline Myss refers to this phenomenon as “woundology.” When we take steps to process pain through forgiveness, acceptance, and reflection, we’ll feel lighter and grounded in our strength.
4. Facing your issues is part of your soul evolution: The lessons, plans, and challenges that we face are based on a soul life plan chosen by us, according to Ainslie MacLeod, author of “The Instruction: Living the Life Your Soul Intended”. Part of the soul plan includes the kind of personality that we embody, and the circumstances that we will face – all specifically chosen to help our souls seek and explore for their spiritual growth.
The journey of life involves the joyful and challenging times, and both can be catalysts for our greatest evolution, pushing us into reaching our highest potential. Every challenge we face serves a higher purpose.
Like the tides of an ocean, our emotions continually ebb and flow. After fully experiencing one emotion, it will quickly be replaced by another. Instead of being swept up by the waves, take a step back and appreciate the beauty of your feelings. When you remove judgement, life will begin to flow, harmony will be restored, and you’ll reconnect with the silent power that lies within.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: What are some of the things that you’re trying to improve in your life? How does it make you feel when you think about it?
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I needed to hear this in so many ways. I am always my worst critic and put more pressure on myself than most people in my life. I know I need to give myself grace and be patient with myself but it is hard at times. So thank you for this reminder and also for the encouragement. It is just what I needed to hear at this point in my life.