How are you broken?
We all are. Some of us have jagged cracks through our souls. Others of us have countless fine lines. Most of us have a mix of both.
We’ve been broken by words and by circumstance. We’ve been broken by jealousy and good intentions. Traditions have broken us. Zeal has broken us. Love has broken us alongside the hate. This life is a constant process of trying to put ourselves back together. Filling in the gaps left by loss. Sewing together the frayed edges of a broken heart. It’s important to acknowledge our brokenness, to strive to fix it.
But perhaps even more important, we need to recognize the ways that we are breaking others. Because we all do it. We break our friends along with our enemies. We unknowingly chip away at others’ foundations with our selfishness and our good intentions. We judge others because their brokenness is different than ours. Our own hurts makes us want to hurt others.
When we’re in the midst of being broken, it’s hard to see the purpose. Why do we have to do it? What’s the point of the hard stuff—the stuff that makes you want to give up, or cry, or just curl into a ball? The stuff you don’t deserve and didn’t ask for. The stuff that’s part of life. The stuff that makes us break.
Why does it happen to us? And what’s the point of fighting through it?
I suppose the simplest answer is that if you don’t get through it, you never get out of it. Going through it means you get to the other side. It means that it ends. If we’re lucky, and if we can open our eyes to it, we can start to heal more than we hurt. We can use our energy to fix instead of break.
Because the more we remain hurt, the more likely it is that we will continue to break those around us. In little ways. In big ways. In ways we don’t even recognize, because hurt people hurt people. And if all we do is sit in the pain and brokenness, then our cracks will only widen.
When we do get to the other side, when we can overcome it, then there is a fount of positives that we can gain from even the worst experiences.
Compassion. Understanding. Empathy. Grace. Because once we actually get through it, we’re so much better equipped to deal with other people who are still trudging through their hurt.
This doesn’t mean we go through it alone.
Let me say that again. That doesn’t mean we should go through the hard stuff alone.
It’s easy when we’re in the middle of it, to be TOO aware of the ways in which we bleed on those who didn’t cut us. We know we’re broken. We know we’re hurt, and we are all too aware that HURT people hurt people, and we don’t want to be the one to inflict more hurt. Sometimes it’s tempting to hide away, to separate ourselves from people who love us because we think we’re protecting them. The problem with that is that we’re less likely to heal, and the separation is going to hurt them anyway.
It’s a popular plot point. The moment when a character decides to end the relationship in order to prevent future heartbreak. They do it out of a misguided sense of chivalry, or because—strange as it sounds—sometimes keeping company with our pain gives us comfort. But we all know how that ends. The person left behind rarely feels relief in their freedom. Instead they feel abandoned, cracked down the middle.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the right thing to do really is to walk away. Toxic relationships are real and should be left behind. But most of the time it’s better for everyone if we reach out and let people in.
It reminds me of the lyrics from She Used to be Mine:
She’s imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won’t ask for help
She is messy, but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
We are not good. We are not bad. We are all just beautiful disasters doing our best. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a tribe to show us how to heal. We need those around us to reach out with understanding, empathy and validation. And the people in our lives need us to reach back with the same. We need to show our cracks and let others know that it’s okay. It’s okay to be hurt. It’s okay that we hurt others.
We’re all learning from every person we encounter, and hopefully all that learning gets us somewhere better.
We are all broken. But we can heal.
NEW RELEASE: To Sketch a Sphinx is Book 6 in Rebecca Connolly’s London League Series. Like my Dalthia series, they can be read as stand alone since each one focuses on a different main character. It releases TODAY, so it’s brand new and waiting on my kindle for me. I’ve read the entire series and the first two are my favorites.
Janette Rallison’s The Girl Who Heard Demons is on sale for $0.99. I’ve read this one and enjoyed it. It’s YA action humor.