There are many reasons why you might feel broken inside. Maybe you're struggling with bereavement or a painful breakup. Or, perhaps you've lost your job or ended a significant friendship. No matter what has caused that broken feeling, it's likely that you struggle to see a positive future for yourself and that you seldom get any joy from your days. You may have lost your sense of self, and believe that all of your efforts have come to nothing.
If you constantly worry that you feel broken and lost in this way, you may worry that there’s no way you’ll ever feel better. The good news is that although it is undeniably awful to feel devastated and adrift, there are ways to move through this experience and come out the other side. In this guide, we'll explore eight things worth remembering when you feel broken inside, showing you how to apply this advice to your own life throughout.
Before we move on to the key messages that can help you recover, it's important to note that feeling broken isn't a sign that you should give up on your goals or on your happiness. We all go through periods where we feel broken, sometimes beyond repair. It is a deeply human experience because our lives are often shaped by chance encounters and unpredictable changes.
Entering a phase of brokenness simply means that a significant obstacle has been put in your way and that you need to spend a sustained amount of time processing this recent experience so that you can figure out what it means for your future. This is true whether you have in some way lost a person, an opportunity, a role or an aspect of your health.
In addition, hold onto the idea that there are plenty of scopes to learn, from what you're going through. While it may not seem like it now, it's highly likely that your current experiences are shaping you in a way that will ultimately lead you in a positive new direction. Trust that you can and will move through this pain, recover your resilience and find ways to be happy again.
When you’re feeling broken, there’s often a temptation to push your emotions away because they’re so painful. You may even be ashamed of some of your feelings, perhaps believing that they're an indication of weakness.
In fact, we all feel sadness, anger, and regret, and some things that happen to us naturally elicit these sorts of emotions. So, accept your feelings rather than rejecting them. Trust that they are warranted.
Another reason why it's important to engage with your feelings is that you can't make them disappear. When you repress or refuse to acknowledge them, you don't get rid of them but rather just put them to one side to fester. In most cases, you'll be at risk of these feelings exploding out of you unbidden, and it may be harder to deal with them when that happens. On the contrary, when you accept your feelings you have the choice to work through them consciously.
Nothing is permanent, even feeling broken inside. All of our lives are a series of up and down moments and are guaranteed to contain both misery and joy. When you are old, you'll likely look back on the hard times with a measure of nostalgia, as you'll be able to see how they played a role in shaping the person you became. We often forget just how short life is, and just how temporary all of our experiences really are.
When you’re feeling broken, quotes like “This too shall pass” can be turned into affirming mantras that you repeat when you are overcome by sadness. Repeating this type of phrase to yourself can help you to believe that your distress is fleeting. Similarly, looking back at previous hardships can put this one in context, helping you to see this as a blip in your life rather than a permanent state of affairs.
You may be embarrassed to admit that you can't cope alone, or find the idea of sharing frightening. However, when you're hurting at a deep level, it can make the world of difference if you're willing to speak up and say you need support.
When you keep all of your thoughts and feelings inside, they become bigger than they are and it can be very difficult to gain perspective on your situation. In contrast, talking to someone helps you to share some of the load, and allows you to take advantage of other peoples' problem-solving abilities. When choosing who to ask for help, think about the most emotionally mature, compassionate people in your life. And if you want anonymity, consider working with a counselor to explore and move on from your feeling of brokenness.
It's easy to feel helpless when your spirit is broken. You may think you're just being buffeted along by life, and that you have no power to shape your future. However, it's vital that you believe you have a measure of control over your situation. While you can't change the past, you have some power over the way in which you respond to that past, and you have a whole lot of power over what your future looks like.
Instead of solely obsessing about what you can't change, turn some of your attention to the question of what choices are currently available to you. Canvas all of your options, no matter how initially unappealing or implausible. Then, try to make at least one decision that underlines your personal autonomy. Doing so will remind you that you are not helpless or inert and that many of life's avenues are still wide open for you.
When you feel broken inside, it’s often because life has changed in a way that you don’t like. When such events take someone or something important away from you, it's natural that your kneejerk response is to fear and loathe the idea of change. However, change is inevitable, and when you use your energy fighting it, you only stoke feelings of anger, helplessness, and disappointment.
Instead of fighting change tooth and nail, try to accept it and realize what it can do for you. After all, it is only through necessary change that you'll become happier, more satisfied or more fulfilled. It may be helpful to make a short list of some of the biggest positive changes in your past. This will help you to see that change can be a force for good, and begin to break some of the negative associations that may be holding you back from moving on.
Once again, being fully present can be hard when you feel broken; you might find yourself focused on the past, or keeping your attention occupied so you don't have to experience the moment. However, taking in what is going on (inside and outside of yourself) is one of the most effective ways of learning from your loss and creating a fulfilling future. When you are fully present, you can accept and process feelings as they come, and this can give your self-knowledge a huge boost.
If you struggle to live in the moment, consider taking up a daily mindfulness practice. You don't need to do an elaborate meditation if you don't want to. Simply focusing on your breathing for ten minutes can make a difference. Scanning down your body (from head to toe) can also be an effective mindfulness exercise, highlighting areas of tension and helping you to engage with the conflicting feelings that might be inside you.
When you’re feeling broken, meaning can be hard to find. You might have the sense that you're just an unlucky person, your mind constantly replaying all the worst things that have happened to you. Although it might sound counterintuitive, try your best to remember what you feel genuinely grateful for in your life. The more you're able to do this, the more hope and healing you'll cultivate.
If you struggle to come up with big things that inspire gratitude, don't worry. Focus on the little things that bring you joy, no matter how inconsequential you might think they are. Think about your favorite songs, the best books you've ever read, the most beautiful things you've seen.
Think about what you love to eat, the relationships you've cherished, and the places you've visited. Anything that you can do to connect with the brighter, more hospitable parts of the world will help you.
Finally, when you feel broken, try to remember that difficult life events often facilitate positive personal development in the long run. It's natural that right now, you sometimes wonder if life will always be this hard and this sad. It's difficult to hold hope in your heart when you have had your confidence or happiness knocked in a fundamental way. That said, if you can find it in yourself to look for positives then you'll thank yourself at a later date.
Finding reasons to be optimistic or hopeful doesn't mean invalidating the pain you've been through. It simply reflects a willingness to see that everything in life has more than one side. And if you can't bring yourself to be positive about the future just yet, at least give some consideration to how you've grown throughout this period of your life. The lessons you are facing now might be some of the most important you'll ever learn.