Did you watch the Netflix special “Waco” about David Koresh and his followers? I admit that I am a junkie for these kinds of series that drive deep into the minds that we can’t quite begin to comprehend.
I think I am so addicted to them because when I think about people who join cults, belong to very strict religious communities, or end up going down bizarre paths under the influence of others I always wonder, “how did this happen?”
For some of these people the immersion begins early, and they never know another way. But sometimes you find out that someone comes from a seemingly “normal” family, somehow takes a wrong turn and finds themselves enmeshed in a community that controls every aspect of their lives. On the cruise control of indoctrination, they do unspeakable things in the name of the community, person, or idea they follow.
That’s what these two statements (the title of this blog) remind me of. “We don’t need to be fixed. We were never broken.”
Society tells us that we are broken. Over and over again. We hear it from companies trying to sell us their products, from religious organizations trying to save us, and from our own unconscious idling brains after these messages have been ingrained. We have to buy or belong in order to fix ourselves.
What if we lived our lives believing that we are whole and complete and wonderful just as we are? What if we didn’t seek out a way to fix ourselves? What if we truly believed that we aren’t broken?
There's a common question that I have heard asked and relates here. “Who benefits from this belief?” (Or sometimes asked as “who makes money off this belief?”)
For instance, if I believe that being in a curvy body means I’m broken then I will do anything to fix myself. I will buy any weight loss product, go on any diet, and join any gym that promises to fix me. But what if I weave through the traffic jam of my mind and decide that it’s not a problem at all? Who benefits then?
If I feel no shame when I look at my body, I AM THE ONE WHO BENEFITS! No one makes money off me. I just feel better. That’s it. That’s all. The road just ends. Game over.
People would rebut with “if there’s no shame then I would just eat junk food, become huge and unhealthy.”
To which I would say, “do you think shame is healthy?” Is shame more or less healthy than junk food?
Here’s the thing about driving out shame. It opens you up to all kinds of other wonderful things.
If I don’t have shame about my body, then I wouldn’t hesitate to go indoor rock climbing (if I have shame then I will be mortified that I might fall, fail, or just have my butt stared at by passing onlookers). Is shame more or less healthy than rock climbing?
If I don’t have shame about my body, then I might enjoy an ice cream outing with a good friend (eating ice cream in public is a big deal for some of us). Is shame more or less healthy than social connection?
If I don’t feel shame about my body, then I would eat when I am hungry even if it means eating in front of a whole room of people who might judge me instead of suppressing my hunger (resulting in starvation/binge cycles). Is shame more or less healthy than an eating disorder?
If we can orient ourselves on the map at a place self-compassion, a place of believing that we are not broken, we might seek out mental health NOT because we want to “fix” ourselves but because we want to live a life more in line with our values. We might value ourselves enough to seek out support from a therapist, a friend, a yoga community without winding down a road of blind loyalty and bizarre actions.
Ironically, in the race of life, the starting line is knowing that you are worth investing in. The best you is not one who needed to be fix, but one who needed love, self-compassion and support. Not blind faith in something outside yourself but true love for the person within.
Read my thoughts on yoga, teaching, parenting and everything in between.