“The world is broken because we’re broken. Own your past.” – Viola Davis
We are all broken. We try to hide that by putting up walls around ourselves. We are afraid to acknowledge those wounds – I won’t call them scars because scars are wounds that have healed, and these are very fresh [just covered with a band aid] – because of the shame that comes with that. We are afraid that the world will see them and realise that we are not as put-together as we portray ourselves to be, so we keep everyone at bay – close, because it is in our human nature to desire connection, but not too close. This is what Sheryl Sandberg describes as the imposter syndrome in her book, Lean In.
We not only try to hide from the world, but we also hide from ourselves. We put unnecessary expectations of ourselves to be perfect and show no weakness, refusing to acknowledge the wounds – we cover them. We numb those emotions. Brene Brown explains in her TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, that in our attempt to numb the “bad” emotions, we also numb the good ones – joy, happiness, gratitude etc. We then become frustrated, unhappy people continuing the cycle of hurt people hurting people. As Brene says; “We’re good at inflicting pain than feeling and acknowledging it.”
What we don’t realise is that whether or not we choose to acknowledge the pain and past traumas, they’ll always catch up with us, without us noticing – unless we dig deep. They will always be part of our lives and influence every part. Our choices and decision making, our reactions to people and what they do or say to us, our interpretation of situations and the conclusions we draw, are all influenced by our past – be it our upbringing or past traumas undealt with. This creates what I call, The Cycles of Brokenness. It’s in the things we idolize, the things we chase, subconsciously, and the things we think will complete us and make us happy. How many times have you uttered the words; “I just want to be happy”, and where were you hoping to find that happiness?
What the past few months have taught me is that; the things we idolize are a reflection of our brokenness. Let me break it down:
Take a look at the things you desire the most in life – let’s check your actions over the past 12 to 24 months. What is the one thing, or more, you’ve fought tooth and nail to have or keep? And the sacrifices you’ve made for it? See, sometimes we’re not even aware that those are the things we desire the most – that we idolize them. We also see it in the ideas we are obsessed with, for lack of a better word, or constantly daydream about. They are our escape during those dark and heavy moments. What are those, for you – what is your escape?
The next step is to identify the root cause. For that, we need to evaluate the behind-the-scenes of these actions, the thought process that went into them and the emotions behind. Why do you idolize it so much? What, from your past, could be the possible link/origin, and did it come about – the cascade?
Relationships have been my escape, since high school, from my family drama, the pressures of maintaining the ‘A’ student standard and being Miss put-together. They were a happy place. Having that one person I knew I could call when it got too much was what kept me sane [because my friends only knew the put-together version]. It somehow also felt like the one area in my life that I had control over, where I could just be me, young and carefree, with no pressures in the world – I made sure that there were no pressures. It got worse as the years went by and I started being obsessed with getting to my happily ever after – meeting “prince charming” and being the ideal life partner – in attempt to correct my childhood and not have history repeat itself.
Now, looking back at some of the decisions I made, I realise that they came from the brokenness that I was not willing to acknowledge. I was driven by the idea of counting down to a new life – riding into the sunset with my ride-or-die – turning a new leaf and leaving all the baggage behind me, not realising that unless I deal with it head-on, it will follow me wherever I go. I wanted to make sure that I build a stable home so that my children never have to go through what I went through – I still do, but I’m no longer obsessing over it or using it as my escape. When I realised that I was willing to do almost anything to get my happily ever after, I knew it had to stop – I had to break the cycle.
It might take you a while to figure out the root of your obsessions. For me it took someone suggesting that I might be looking for an escape in what I was pursuing at the time – it was not a relationship – to spark up the conversation within myself. I needed to open up to someone about how I was feeling for it to happen – VULNERABILITY. I then had to go back and dissect everything. It took me a few weeks to make the connection. I realised that when I was not in a relationship, I looked for other escapes to fill the gap; something to look forward to – a distraction, maybe? – then I would focus all my attention on that. At first, I thought it was faith, but now I know it was just an escape. It is a pattern – The Cycle of Brokenness. You need to recognise it for you to break it.
You may be wondering why I say ‘cycles’ instead of ‘cycle’. That’s because it’s not just one cycle. There are a lot of them, and we don’t see them all at once; they are revealed as we clean out our closets. It is an ongoing chain reaction, the effects of which we live to discover, correct, heal, and to learn from. They manifest in ways we could have never imagined. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; It is a journey, a process, which requires your full commitment. It will not happen overnight. You need to pay attention to your actions; go behind the scenes and question the reasoning behind all your previous decisions and actions to recognise the patterns. Make introspection and reflection a lifestyle. Be completely honest with yourself, but still gentle and kinder.
Find your why and break the cycle.
UNLEASHED! You are worth it!
@claudemashego @ClaudeMMashego @claude_mashego