You’re not broken, our culture is

 “You are not broken. You are breaking through. Every obstacle is just a stepping stone to your greatness.” – Chinh Pham

Right now, you might feel exhausted, overwhelmed, or disconnected from things that used to bring you joy. From people around you, and maybe, from even yourself. You might be in a world of pain, silently masking what you’re feeling deep down – enduring, suffering, struggling or feeling beyond stressed.

You’re not broken, beautiful human.

You’re exhausted.

And who can blame you? We’ve been told for so long who we should be, how to behave, who to mold ourselves into in order for us to be accepted, seen, heard, loved, respected.

It’s our culture that’s broken, not you. And it’s been that way for a very long time. If you’re more empathic or sensitive, you might be feeling some extra weight on your shoulders; picking up on other people’s energies and emotions. Just about everyone we know is going through something tough right now. And with all of this, we’re each trying to navigate work, family dynamics, mental health, and facing the reality that we’re at a pivotal time in our world’s history.

I don’t know about you, but I never dreamed a pandemic and so many wars would play out in my lifetime. There’s so much going on. So please, be a little kinder to yourself right now.

We’re not broken beings that need to be fixed or saved. It’s our culture and our way of living that needs to be fixed and changed. So much of that is happening. We’re seeing more conversations taking place around things that really matter (and make the world a better place); things like self awareness, healing and nervous system regulation. 

My breakthrough and healing journey

A huge part of the problem with our culture is how we’ve been conditioned, taught and encouraged to suppress parts of ourselves in order to be loved or accepted, or to fit into the “social norm” box.

Many of us did. I did, too. I was the typical good girl who learned to become agreeable and submissive. I quickly adapted and sussed out what was expected from me at home, at school, with friends – and sometimes even in early therapy sessions. And I became that. I became a master at hiding heavy emotions and pretending. I didn’t even know I was doing it until my parents died. Then, the walls came crashing down. I went through deep depression like I’d never experienced in my life and I had some dark nights of the soul. That’s when I started questioning things; things I’d so readily accepted and believed about myself, about life, and about our world… about ALL of it. I started to unravel the layers and rediscover my true self.

It’s been quite a journey so far. Like grief, there’s no magic solution or time frame for healing or working through trauma and suppressed emotions. Over the last few years, I’ve dived deep into topics around spirituality, consciousness, emotional well-being, energy and mindfulness.

And can I tell you? It’s been life changing.

I’ve never felt as much inner peace and fulfilment as I do now. I’m 41. I don’t own a house. I don’t have children. I don’t have a brag-worthy career. The old me would have felt like a failure – but I feel far from that. I feel more whole and connected than I ever knew was even possible.

Of course, I’m human (or at least, having the experience of one) and I have my down moments and off days too, just like everyone else. The difference is, I no longer force myself to shut down what I’m feeling and get positive as quickly as possible. I face it, I feel it, I move through it. I don’t get stuck there.

When you realise that our culture is broken – and you pay attention to the messages being pushed (work harder, spend more, look a certain way, behave like this – not that), and you notice what’s missing (self-awareness, personal empowerment, unity, harmony, inner connection) – you start to break free from that constrictive invisible cage you didn’t even know you were in.

Suppressing parts of who we are

Our culture has normalised a lot.

We’ve normalised overworking, anxiety and depression, busyness, numbing or distracting our emotions, superficial interactions, instant gratification over true fulfilment, division, shame, fear and negativity (when did you last watch the news?) and self abandonment.

From a young age, we’re taught to deny parts of ourselves and to constantly seek external approval, permission and solutions. No wonder so many people feel lost, disconnected and reactive right now. It’s because they don’t know who they are. The emotional turmoil you might be feeling isn’t random. It’s not because you’re “broken” and you need to be fixed. It’s simply your soul trying to get your attention by speaking through your body. 

Our emotions are not illnesses.

They’re guidance systems for us to learn from, heal and grow. Our problems creep in when we continue to ignore these little whispers, which eventually snowball into emotional hurricanes. 

This is where a lot of people are right now: in the heart of their own inner storm  – suffering and struggling, unable to regulate their nervous system, feeling a void they don’t understand, feeling broken because they can’t keep up the façade anymore. 

Connecting back to your true self is a journey we all have to take. You’re not alone and you’re not broken. We’re here to break through and to break free.

Let’s talk about trauma

I’m not a trauma expert, but I’m becoming more trauma informed. Because it matters so much right now. Almost all of us have experienced trauma in our lives in some form. There are two types of trauma:

Big T trauma: Child abuse, a bitter divorce, a car accident, the loss of a parent, violence in the family, etc.

Small t trauma: Bullying by peers, repeated harsh comments of a well-meaning parent, or even just a lack of sufficient emotional connection with our caregivers

Trauma isn’t what happens to you, it’s what happens inside you. As emotions, trauma and childhood expert Dr. Gabor Maté explains: “Trauma is an inner injury, a lasting rupture or split within the self due to difficult or hurtful events.”

Children, especially those who are highly sensitive, can be wounded in many ways. When our core needs aren’t met, this can result in pain and disconnection from our true selves.

Here’s an interesting thing I discovered about trauma that really spoke to me: it can lie dormant in our bodies until something in our lives happens to “awaken” it. Things like a pandemic, losing someone close to us, or dealing with a shocking life event. That’s when these deep wounds are activated and brought to the surface, and usually not in a gentle way.

Also interesting? Things like work pressure, social media, multitasking and an abundance of entertainment sources can exploit and reinforce this trauma.

Finding emotional freedom

When we suppress heavy emotions like sadness, anger, resentment or grief, we suppress parts of ourselves. This energy gets stored in our bodies on a cellular level. Sometimes for years or decades. At some point, this energy needs to be released. Eventually, these stored emotions reveal themselves, and a lot of the time it happens through the body as what appears to be a sudden illness or disease. Things like chronic illnesses, certain cancers, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia.

This is why doctors sometimes struggle to pinpoint what’s going on – it’s because the root cause is on an emotional level, not a physical one. We were never meant to just treat the symptom.

When I first learned about all of this, I was amazed. This isn’t exactly the type of thing we’re taught in school, is it? We’re taught to go to the doctor at the first sign of flu, to take pills for our headaches, to look everywhere but ourselves for the answers. There’s a place for Western medicine, of course. But we can learn a lot from Eastern holistic practices that focus on the whole person.

We’re not just a body and we don’t just have symptoms. We have emotions that are expressions of an entire life lived – they can’t be treated in isolation and they always have a root. If you don’t want to feel at the mercy of your emotions, you need to understand how they originate. And that means learning how to better connect with yourself – the real you beneath all those protective and programmed layers.

Where to begin your healing

“Once we resolve to see clearly how things are, the process of healing – a word that, at its root, means “returning to wholeness” – can begin.” Gabor Maté

That was a lot of information (and I did try to shorten it as much as possible!) – I’ll be unpacking more in future blog posts. But I don’t want to overwhelm you. There’s no rush and you don’t need to jump into anything. Awareness is always a great place to start. Simply becoming more conscious of what is available to you, beyond what you’ve been told.

Here’s a friendly reminder I’d like to leave you with: Nothing on the outside will ever fill the void, disconnection, overwhelm, or heaviness inside you. Inner work will. It’s a journey like no other and I promise you, it’s life changing. I’ve been there: the people pleaser, the niceaholic, anxious, soaking up everyone else’s emotions and energies, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed about the world as a sensitive – and, sometimes not wanting to be here. I really do get it. It’s hard being here sometimes, especially in our unpredictable world right now. But it’s all for a reason; we’re not here by accident.

You’re reading this for a reason, too. 

Clearly, you want to understand more about yourself. I’m right here cheering you on. You’ve got this. You can feel more whole, more peaceful, more inspired by life, more you. If you’d like a little guidance and support with that, I’m here for that too.  Feel free to send me a message and let’s have a chat.