WebMD BlogsRelationships

Finding Beauty in Your Brokenness

man self love
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD - Blogs
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhDPsychologistJuly 29, 2020
From the WebMD Archives

If you’re someone who is generally down on yourself, it can be difficult to fully enjoy life. Even in more positive moments, you still have an underlying sense of being lesser than other people. It’s like an invisible anchor weighing you down. Though you may not know exactly what’s wrong, you know you’re inadequate. At least this is what you tell yourself. What you don’t realize (and what feels like could never be true) is that your deep, authentic self (not just the façade you show to others) is worthy and lovable. (Even if you think this is nonsense, do yourself a favor and don’t stop reading now.)

Despite how you might feel, you do not need to be perfect to have value. In fact, no one –and I mean no one – is flawless. Yet, when you feel broken inside, it can be incredibly difficult to grasp that you have worth. In my book Bouncing Back from Rejection, I explain it with this analogy:

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of rejoining the broken fragments of a piece of pottery with gold or other precious metals. While the repaired item may be appealing to the eye, the real beauty is in how people relate to it. The beauty is in valuing the life of the ceramic, which includes the damage that happens over time.

Similarly, to truly value yourself, it is essential to value your life’s journey. Mothers do this when they smile while looking at a stretch mark that they earned during the pregnancy of their child. Those who have endured childhood abuse do it when they appreciate that their sensitivity to others’ pain comes from the pain they have endured. It’s important to note that appreciating brokenness or imperfection as part of your life story does not mean you “should” be happy about the pain that you have endured. But you can appreciate your strength in overcoming your struggles, find value in the lessons you have learned from them, and be grateful for the resilience you have built.

To relate to yourself in these ways, you must first open up to the idea of viewing yourself with acceptance and compassion. (For an example of how to do this, see my brief video, Learning the Truth: You Are Worthy and Adequate) Once you allow for the possibility that you might not be a failure as a person, you can begin to look for signs that you are worthy and lovable.

There are many ways to strengthen your sense that having value is inherent in being human. Consciously take note of your virtues. Practice seeing your shortcomings or mistakes as part of being human. Put effort into building relationships with people who value you for who you are – and put effort into taking in the positive ways they feel toward you.

None of this is easy. It will put you in direct conflict with your inner demons. But stay with it. Continue to build compassionate self-awareness and absorb the love and caring shown to you by others. Ultimately, you will realize that you are not as flawed as you think. And you will discover a healing truth: You are inherently worthy and lovable just as you are.

WebMD Blog
© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Blog Topics:
About the Author
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a licensed psychologist in NJ and NY, and is on staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset. She is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. She accomplishes this through her work as a psychotherapist, speaker and writer. She is the author of Bouncing Back from Rejection and Insecure in Love.

More from the Relationships Blog

  • giving advice

    Think Twice Before You Give Advice

    If only we were as good at solving our own problems as we are at solving other people’s. But like so many great ideas, our solutions for others often become less perfect the more we learn about the problem ...

  • photo of couple arguing in bed

    How to Keep Your Emotions From Overwhelming You

    If you’re someone who gets emotionally overwhelmed, relationship conflict can be difficult to manage. When you get upset with your partner, you don’t handle it well. You are too upset to think clearly. So you ...

View all posts on Relationships

Latest Blog Posts on WebMD

View all blog posts

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Read More