What does broken mean?
Stories are powerful. Not only the stories we read, but the stories we tell hold power. The stories we tell ourselves—these contain life-altering power.
To me, brokenness is a story I told myself over and over. It’s a story of my failings, of my unworthiness of anything better.
My story framed my life.
I was a woman in the middle of my life. I had been going through life trying to check all the boxes on a to-do list that proudly displayed society’s stamp of approval. It’s a life track that many take, and there is nothing wrong with it. The problem I was faced with was that my life didn’t measure up to this check-box format. I felt stuck with the formula. I viewed the formula as something like a list of requirements that must be achieved and checked off to find happiness and worth.
Because of the story I told myself, my inability to check these boxes off meant I was not worthy of fulfillment or happiness because so much was missing.
The story I was telling myself was one of brokenness, insufficiency, and failure.
These thoughts cause one to really believe in one’s adversity. I started to believe that is how life is going to be—it becomes a burden you bear that disables you from living life in a fulfilled manner. I was no longer a girl who seemed to have it all in place, but instead I had all of these boxes I could not check off—partner, wife, mother, highly paid executive, the right size, the right connections, and more.
I felt broken and lost because I asked myself—if I can’t check off those points then who am I? What am I? Am I authentic? Can I hold my head up high and simply accept myself the way I am? Do I deserve to BE given my story? Society and the way people in it treat you when they see you do not fall into one of the boxes of their reality made it even harder to feel I was truly in control. What’s more is how can I expect society to treat me as a whole, fulfilled being if I do not first believe that for myself?
There was a disconnect. I was broken.
I finally realized that what I truly wanted deep down in my heart and the results I had been getting were not the same at all. I was not aware of how to do or think differently than I had as I been trying to place a check mark in each little box. I was unfulfilled striving to become the highly paid executive, the perfect size, and so on. I felt overwhelmed by how I treated and thought about myself and I knew I was not doing what I felt deeply passionate about.
Something had to change.
My new concern was the how. How do I go about changing? What do I do? How would I figure it all out?
The beginning of my journey to renewal and empowerment:
Years ago in my early thirties, I remember playing with my six-year old niece one day. We were telling each other stories. She loved this a lot. I started first and when I finished it was her turn. As she told her story—which was always similar to mine with the same names, place, plot—she would say with pride and the broadest smile ever, “Aunt Omo, see how I changed my story because it was so much like yours.”
She simply changed her version to be slightly different from mine. Made me giggle to see how her creativity was being created. It also surprised me how easily she changed the reality she believed in at age six. It got me thinking.
The stories I told myself kept me stuck and turned me into a broken person bearing a heavy burden that only piled higher year after year. The story I told myself, the story of brokenness, that was the only reason I believed there is no way out. For too long.
Change was a choice I had to make and I did. Stories were just that—stories—and could be changed if I just decided to. I AM no matter what stories I have believed in.
The stories of our failings are part of us and part of our pasts, but these stories are only one part of us. It does not paint the whole picture of our lives or dictate our now and our future. The clarity I worked to achieve and the power of it changed the way I saw myself. I was no more a victim of brokenness, feeling incomplete. I was no longer that person following the ebb and flow of life with an inner voice telling me there is more while I simply ignored it.
It was not an easy thing to do to throw that check list away and step into a life that I was creating from scratch. It took really wanting change in my life. It meant admitting that it was solely my choice to do the deep work required to start showing up as Omozua on my terms, knowing that life is more than the boxes you fit in or don’t fit in. Being okay with being your perfect imperfect at any given time isn’t something we can step into overnight and take on as a sort of new skin. To go from broken to renewed takes time and continual effort, like a gardener tending his garden. It must receive nourishment and attention.
The most difficult part of my renewal was learning to let go of the right things.
It was so difficult to pinpoint what it was that needed to disappear out of my life. Deep work was required, and admitting and realizing that I could not do it alone was another big step for me.
For the first time back then, I felt what it was like to reach out without feeling ashamed and this dark secret of brokenness was not the big mountain I had made it become. I was human and the best thing I could do for renewal was to do all that necessary to make the change I truly desired.
I’m so pleased that I am no longer in that dark place. I am now on the path of renewal, equipped to live my life the way I do it now—as an empowered person. I now experience abundance by my own standards. I now know brokenness is something you experience if you always tell yourself the same broken story.
A few things I learned on my journey from broken to renewed. . .
- No matter how small the step is, take it. It matters and it’s important.
- Living a fulfilled life long-term is always worth the tears, facing the truth, the emotions, and doing the deep work required.
- Don’t ignore the inner voice—life is too short to wait for IT to happen through a miracle.
- You are not alone. Don’t let shame make you think you have a dark black secret—others go through the same things, too.
- Resentment keeps you stuck.
- You owe no one anything but yourself.
- There are two sides to every story, even the one you’re telling yourself.
- Life is not easy, but you can live it in an equipped way if you pursue clarity.
- Your story is not set in stone—you can change it and mold it to fit your heart’s desire.
- You always have the choice.
- Watch your thoughts because they determine your future.
- By all means, reach out!
- When one door closes, fear not as a new one opens.
- Feeling broken at times and having glum days are absolutely normal and nothing you should feel ashamed of or guilty about.
- You can heal, choose to do, and view things in a different way.
- Every person is a work in progress, and though you can’t control the outcome of everything, you have the choice to make it great to a bigger extent if you are intentional about it.
I might not fit in certain boxes, but now believing that to be the only way to live is a thing of the past and a burden I choose to bear no more. I am okay with that and working on overcoming brokenness and all the lack I experienced and felt to be my only truth. I can now love me for me and know that self-love and it’s power is not a myth. I show up these days without labeling myself as this or that. Labels keep you stuck and unable to be the best version of you. The labels only count if you choose them to be your guiding light.
The best thing I did to start living a fulfilled life was choosing to change how I write my story and knowing that my future is unstained so all is good.