I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived most of my life believing that there was something wrong with me. Exactly what has changed a thousand times over the years. When I was young I thought I wasn’t smart enough. When I got older I wasn’t popular enough. In high school I wasn’t thin enough. There was the constant mantra that I was not enough and that meant that there was something wrong with me. As I got older this cemented in to a core belief that I was fundamentally broken and that nothing could fix me. It’s taken years of work on myself to even say this core belief out loud and it will take years more work to truly convince myself that it isn’t true, but today I am able to entertain the idea that maybe, just maybe, there’s nothing wrong with me that needs fixing. I’m going to put out the radical idea that there is also nothing wrong with you that needs to be fixed.
The reason that this is a radical idea is that much of our consumer culture is based on convincing people that there is something wrong with them that needs to be fixed and that a product will do the trick. The beauty industry wants to fix your face with the right makeups, face washes, and creams. The diet industry wants to fix your body with the right pill, supplement, food, or drink. The pharmaceutical industry wants to fix your feelings with prescriptions. No matter how you look or feel on a daily basis there is an industry out there that will sell you a fix. Generally, we are more than happy to buy these fixes because we truly believe we need to be fixed. There is some piece of us that we believe to be broken and we are so desperate to be whole that we will buy anything that promises us that fix. Unfortunately no product can fix what isn’t broken, and you are not broken. I am not broken.
I have this meditation app called Insight Timer. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a way to integrate daily meditation in to your life. I’m not a sit still kind of gal, so guided meditations are my jam and Insight Timer has a ton of them. One that has engrossed me lately is called “There is Nothing Wrong With You” by Robin Rice. I’ve listened to it every few days for the past few weeks. She runs through a list of everything people tend to find wrong with themselves: their bodies, their personalities, their life circumstances, and their relationships, then gently reminds the listener that there is actually nothing wrong with these things. Our lives are just fine exactly the way they are. Our bodies are just fine exactly the way they are. Our relationships are just fine exactly the way they are. We should not be compelled to fix something because we believe it is broken, we should be compelled to change something because we want it to be different. This is not to say that we are all perfect and don’t need to change anything in our lives. We all have character defects that need to be addressed, but this does not make us broken, therefore we do not need to be fixed.
The meditation offers the idea that we can change anything we want to about our lives, if we want to change, but asks us to keep in mind that we are not required to fix anything because we are not broken. This got me thinking about my motivations for changing in the past, especially related to my body. When I really think about it, most of the times that I have been compelled to change myself it was because I believed I needed to be fixed. In fact, I have always thought of my body as something to be fixed. Much of my life was spent researching the next new thing that would fix me, pursuing that thing, and then being disappointed when it didn’t fix me.
As I continued with this line of thought it occurred to me that if I believed that my body didn’t need to be fixed would I really want to change it at all? This is a very uncomfortable question for me to address because it challenges all of my core beliefs about my body, but when I really think about it a voice in my gut tells me that I wouldn’t want to change my body. The voice in my gut tells me that I have always changed my body to fix it and that if it doesn’t need to be fixed then I don’t need to change it.
I can’t say that I totally agree with this voice in my gut. I’ve spent too many years believing that I was broken to just stop believing it and change my ways, but this voice allows me to explore new territory and start to internalize new beliefs. What would change if I were to let go of the idea that I need to be fixed? That voice in my gut says that everything would change.