You’re Not Broken

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, September 22, 2021
By Courtney Waugh, LMFT

Self-improvement. When I talk about this idea (a multi-million dollar industry of how to do and be better), I make sure others understand they are not broken.  They don’t need to be fixed.

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Approaching self-improvement from a place of friendliness and recognizing you don’t need to be fixed because you are not broken, creates a foundation that allows people to truly be on a journey of growth, without the fear of ‘messing up.’

When shame is the foundation of change, a miserable cycle ensues. For example, the diet industry often has a shame-based message.  So people start from a place of feeling not good enough, not worthy, and broken. And when the diet doesn’t work (FYI diets don’t work) or they put the weight back on (our minds and bodies don’t like restriction) we blame ourselves when it isn’t our fault, to begin with. For people to realize they are enough, worthy, and not broke, they have to create a relationship with themselves that has a foundation of mindfulness, compassion, and acceptance.

If a coach was screaming at you every time you didn’t do well enough at something, berated you for not getting things done that day, shamed you, and called you names… in time, you would stop doing it all. You’d isolate yourself and feel ashamed.  You might even yell at that coach to leave you alone! Often times that ‘coach’ is the self-talk many people have in their heads. It is intense, it is loud, and it is not conducive to growth. Often quite the opposite.

Any kind of change, whether it’s recovery, working on being less reactive, making better choices, taking care of oneself, creating balance, starts and will last by having a foundation where shame cannot take root. So when you make ‘mistakes,’ relapse, fall into old patterns, get caught in the obsessive mind, you don’t throw in the towel and fall into a vicious cycle.  You can hold on and gently pull yourself back.

Working towards self-improvement is a journey.  There is no destination. Life goes on. And, you have the opportunity to keep growing from a place of love, compassion, and acceptance.


“To grow oneself is to know oneself.” John C. MaxwellFLOWERS