There is a common misperception that you need to be fixed – that there is something wrong or broken or damaged about you that needs to be fixed. I encounter this from some attending our yoga intensive. I encounter it in some of the people I meet when I go away to training courses as a student myself. And there is nothing to be fixed in these people.
Not everyone has the feeling that they are wrong but it is a very common phenomenon. If it is not you, read on and learn about what is troubling others who live and work and move around you every day. If you are afflicted with the notion that you are in some respect broken, damaged, wrong or not wanted, read on and the ideas I express may be of some benefit to you.
When someone feels they need to be fixed a certain perception or pattern of thought has taken hold that asserts that they are inherently wrong. It may relate to their body shape or appearance. It may relate to their belief in their intelligence or knowledge. It may relate to their social acceptability and how well they fit in. It may relate to a fundamental question of being capable of being loved. In one way or another they perceive themselves to be lacking, deficient, wrong and in need of being fixed.
The trap here is in identifying with what you think. I have thought myself to have been isolated, separated and rejected by others. As it transpired, it was me assuming that I was not wanted that led to me avoiding opportunities for connection. On courses that I have attended where I have engaged in personal inquiry I have been mulling on my sense of isolation and rejection and have had people, unsolicited, come up to me. I was sitting at a table eating breakfast on one such course. There were many tables, lots of space, and a person I had not spoken to before then on the course came and sat with me and started chatting.
They were willing to reach out to me. It was me that had not been reaching out to others. The answer to my own sense of isolation in any moment was not to predetermine what others might think but to just be available for connection or to reach out myself.
The identification of a person with their body is a common area where the perception of a need for a fix arises. Some perceive they will only be happy when they are a certain size or shape and some will go to very considerable lengths to try to create the shape or appearance that makes them suppose themselves to be right.
We have all in our lives met people who are extremely attractive in physical appearance but who are just not pleasant or appealing people. Similarly, there are those less pre-possessing in appearance who are delightful. The pursuit of the right appearance can be a futile chase for an illusory goal that runs counter to your own DNA and all that is natural to you. In the pursuit you can become ever more judgmental and hostile towards your own appearance and ever more discontented within.
In truth, there is nothing to fix. You are whole and worthy and right just as you are. In the moment you realise that, all need for fixes will vanish. In his book Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste says:
“When you change your focus from limitations to boundless possibilities, from doubt and fear to love and confidence, you open your world in entirely new ways. You stop worrying about fixing what’s wrong with you and start living from all that’s right within you.”
I believe in this statement. So many times I have encountered people who have thought well of me in ways I did not think well of me. So often I have thought well of others only to discover that they did not think well of themselves in those areas. My thinking and your thinking are leading us to conclusions about ourselves that make us wrong, unwanted, unattractive, unworthy and generally not wanted.
How to break this pattern? Søren Kierkegaard was a nineteenth century theologian and philosopher. He said, “Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are”. The start is simply to accept the naked reality of what is. Sit to meditate. Breathe slowly and deeply though your nose. Be unhurried and relaxed in the manner of your breathing. In watching your breath, disengage your conscious mind from your thoughts. Become a watcher of your embodied human experience rather than a thinker about your experience.
Watch, acknowledge and accept all that is here – your age, gender identity, appearance, life history, finances, everything. In this moment be utterly at peace with all these things. Seek no change. At that point, pathways and opportunities will be apparent. Instead of needing your body shape to be fixed, accept your body as it is but see the potential for greater strength or mobility or energetic vitality. From acceptance you will have a sense of what you can be. When there is non-acceptance then your mind-set will be that you are wrong. Your mind will tell you to fix yourself to be what you think you should be or what others (friends, family, society) expect you to be.
I was somewhat ashamed of the law firm I was a partner in. It was a firm that had once been among the very most prominent in the region but had undergone a schism, changes in personnel and was no longer the leading light that once it had been. At some level I felt that was appropriate for me – that I was not deserving of better. There were aspects of myself as a lawyer that I felt should be fixed – how smart I was, how bold I was, how well-connected I was… I withheld applications to apply for positions elsewhere on the basis that I perceived I would not be wanted.
As soon as I announced I was leaving my firm to become a house husband, I received offers from elsewhere. They were offers which, had I not been committed to the course I was – to be a full-time, at-home parent to my sons – I would have taken. When I resigned my partnership, my mentor in the law said “What a waste. Another three or four years and you would have been a judge”. There was a difference in the way I perceived myself (as lacking and in need of fixing to be better) and the way I actually was and the way others saw me.
The key was to transform my perspective of myself – away from scorn, contempt, dislike and disrespect to seeing myself as good. I needed to face the facts of being what I was rather than engage in a convoluted process of guessing and second-guessing others’ opinions of me and shaping my own self-image and self-esteem, or lack thereof, upon those flawed perceptions.
I spent about 25 years in that state of disillusionment and confusion about who I was and what I was able to accomplish. In my role as a yoga teacher I have found my greatest sense of self-worth but, I believe I could have experienced the same sense of being at peace with myself with nothing to fix in any role in life. I believe the same sense of being whole with nothing to fix is there for you too.
Slow down. Meditate. Accept who you are, as you are and as you are not. Identify where you wish to grow and take action but not with any sense that you are not, in this very moment, whole and complete. Face the fact of being what and who you are. Chance, fortune and the choices made by your earlier self and by others with certain influence or control over you have brought you to this moment. Here you are in a certain state. Acknowledge, accept and make peace with yourself in this current state. From this current state, and with your full support for yourself, live and grow as you choose.
Melodie Beattie sums it up in these terms:
Surrendering to the simple truths,
even the simple truth of what we’re
really feeling, will always set us free.