We Are Never Not Broken

Posted by on Sep 5, 2011 in Self-Discovery, Self-Esteem | 6 Comments

Last week I asked you, sweet reader, what would happen if you discovered how contradictory I am in myself? How would it affect your opinion of me if I revealed the inconsistency of my many selves?

This is something I have struggled with for such a long long time. I thought that I needed to present a whole, coherent self to the universe. One that was legible and complete and comprehensive. One that made sense. One that appealed!

In these days of online business and monetized blogs, our persona has become our business. We are our personal brands. And so, necessarily, if I wish to follow this route, I must crystallise my very essence and clarify my purpose.

But this is where I think so many of us come undone.

To those of you who get lost in the world of niches and specialities, to those of you who feel intimidated and enthralled by all those wonderfully focused individuals who seem to have it all sussed out, to those of you who are always seeking, never finding…

I want to tell you that you are not your direction: you are not your self.

Events will happen in your life that you cannot predict. You will make choices that will have consequences which can never truly be planned for. You will say yes to the most life-altering opportunities, and you will take babysteps towards goals you cannot even imagine yet. You will forge relationships, take actions, speak truths that will reverberate throughout time, and will continue to do so long after you have left this world for the next.

And in each of these situations, you will create a new self – a self which orientates itself around this new perspective, this new point of fact. You give birth to a child and your mother self is simultaneously birthed. You survive an earthquake and your survivor self steps forward. You surrender into savasana and your divine self hovers in the ether.

You are all of these selves and none of them. Because you, my lovely, are so much more than a creation of self. You are something so much more timeless than a concentrated definition, so much more expansive than the direction you choose to take.

There is a Hindu goddess, dear reader, called Akhilanda – the goddess never-not broken who reminds me that the search for a coherent self is meaningless. She tells me that whatever self I believe myself to be is ultimately an illusion. She tells me that I am never not broken – and that this is not just ok, but that this is indeed a thing of beauty.

We are necessarily fragmented, broken, fractured. But rather than lament this fact, shroud it in the cloaks of secrecy and shame, we should display it, celebrate it. We will always choose which self to present to the world at any given moment, just remember that no matter what self you choose, the you behind the self is too vast to be contained. Too magnificent to be reduced.

So, why don’t we try this on for size: wholeness is only available to those who accept that they are intrinsically multi-faceted expressions of self-hood. Coherency is achieved when even those selves that we don’t particularly like are integrated. Consistency is not found in a direction – it’s found by turning up to the plate day after day.

So what happens when I reveal how contradictory I am? How inconsistent I am? How fluid I am in my identity?

I find out that you feel the same way too. I find a deeper connection with my lovely readers. I find communion.

We are all never not broken – and isn’t that just beautiful?

PS If you’re interested, Thandie Newton gave a wonderful TED talk where she engages with ideas of selfhood – highly recommended!


  1. Gill Potter
    September 5, 2011

    I so agree Amy and you have written it so beautifully. I love the analogy of the cracked pot and how it waters the plants whilst bemoaning it’s flaws. Ultimately where we are cracked is where the Divine light shines into our Soul and back out in a dazzling pattern that makes each of us unique-not broken-unique and beautiful <3 Thank you and namaste x

  2. Karen
    September 5, 2011

    Thank you for reminding me that I don’t need to apologise for being me!

  3. alisha
    September 5, 2011

    We do contain multitudes, as Mr. Whitman said. I agree with you that there is so much pressure to paint oneself in a box, to be chose just one and deny the others. Hopefully we can all learn to appreciate all the layers.

  4. Anita-Clare Field
    September 5, 2011

    Oh Amy, this is just what I needed to read today as I try and come to terms again with the very things you have written today. Thank you xxx

  5. Joanna Paterson
    September 5, 2011

    It’s interesting Amy – perhaps this is simply words and what they mean to us, differently, for I feel I must say that although I have gone through times when broken-ness applied, when my identity, or my persona might have felt fragmented or broken, when my life and life in general seemed like an unsolvable puzzle, I think I have always felt that my self was my self – not broken but always connected and connecting at some dark river level, beyond my ken.

  6. Rachel @ Suburban Yogini
    September 6, 2011

    In yogic philosophy there is a concept known as Maya. Maya is everything we see around us, everything we feel, everything we define ourselves by, everything we are conditioned to believe is reality.
    And Maya is ultimately nothing but illusion.
    Now if you can get your head around that (and admittedly trying to describe Maya in a few words is virtually impossible) you get to your point about searching for the coherent self being meaningless.
    If none of this is real then of course it’s meaningless! BOOM!


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