If we were to partake in an activity of group therapy, sharing with one another our thoughts, impressions and experiences, we’d see and learn how broken we are. Indeed, many may already assume this having previously become aware. Brokenness, of this sense, is about coming face-to-face with our experienced ineptitude, acknowledging that in most situations of life we’ve come up short; not because we didn’t care, it was because we were incapable of an adequate response.
Life is a thing that undoes us, and so regularly we probably scarcely give it a thought.
Having Empathy With Ourselves
There are many people who don’t feel comfortable connecting with their brokenness, for the things such a state will reveal about them that would be better left. The rationale might be, ‘What I don’t know about can’t hurt me’. But being disconnected from their brokenness will require them to be perennial escape artists—having to live with themselves, but apart from their core selves, never truly home to themselves.
It may take some initial courage to be open to our brokenness within—a thing, again, no matter how well-adjusted our families-of-origin were, that exists within everyone, though maybe a little more or less in some than others. But the fact is we can balance the need for courage by being empathetic with ourselves. We do this by understanding that none of our caused brokenness is our fault and none of it, as far as we were concerned, happened because we wanted it or allowed it to happen.
Empathy is easy when our perceptions come home to the fact that brokenness is a human universal. Indeed, such a thing merely accentuates the need every human being has for a Saviour. Everybody needs God.
From Empathy To Connectedness
The essence of the process taking us from the denial of our brokenness to our unconditional acceptance of it is an ability to see things as they really are, more and more.
Travelling on this journey is a wonderfully freeing experience; the more we sojourn the more we realise the polar complexities of life and our miniscule control over them. Along with that revelation comes the revelation, also, that our parents and other authority figures in our lives were just as much victims of these polar complexities as we have been. Our empathy with ourselves morphs, hopefully, into a more universal feeling of compassion for all the actors in life.
About this point, as we begin touching our compassionate selves, having a deeper understanding of ourselves and others, and our individual and collective brokenness, we begin to see more truly as God sees.
Connecting with our brokenness is a journey to freedom. It takes us to a better understanding of ourselves, others in our pasts, and God. When we can touch our brokenness and not flee in fear we become connected with compassion and all of life blooms.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.