You Are Not Broken
Photo courtesy of Hobvias Sudoneighm.

You Are Not Broken

Written by Emilie

Topics: Confidence

I spent most of my life feeling broken.

For the last three years, I felt physically broken. Health problem after problem. I was unable to eat “like everyone else,” without a reaction. It felt as though my body was falling apart, and nobody had answers for me.

For many years before that, I felt emotionally broken. I believed that I was inherently unlovable, unattractive, unworthy. That I was destined to end up alone.

From the age when teachers began asking me The Question up until a few years ago, I felt intellectually broken. Why couldn’t I find my Thing? Why didn’t I have a Destiny like everybody else. Clearly it was because there was something wrong with me.

Well, I’ll tell you what: there is nothing wrong with me.

And there is nothing wrong with you.

I have spent the last five years disproving each of these myths about myself. Most recently, it’s been the health myth– that my body was just built with these problems, and that the best I could do was listen to the “experts,” and supplement with drugs and vitamins. Nobody ever explained to me the value of whole, nutrient dense foods or of giving my body the type of fuel and movement that it requires.

This is the philosophy that underlies a lot the Paleo approach: that human beings are not broken by default. It’s also the credo of my new favourite podcast (shout out to Angelo)!

Multipotentialites are Not Broken by Default

Health and diet aside, the underlying idea that you are not broken by default is directly applicable to us multipotentialites.

When your heart tells you to pick up archery, do it. When your heart tells you to study modern dance, do it. When your heart tells you to spend your afternoon reading about quantum mechanics, even though it has no obvious “practical application” to your current career, do it. Your heart is smart. It knows what’s right for you.

Trust Yourself

Do not trust the “experts” who tell you to deny who you are, by choosing one facet of your personality and suppressing the rest. Do not trust people who say that you must be one thing in life, or that you need to choose a niche and narrowly define yourself.

Most importantly, do not listen to “experts” who tell you that you must become an expert yourself– that mastery, expertise, and life-long dedication (or 10,000 hours), it is the only way to make something of yourself in this world.

You are not broken. Your multipotentiality is natural and healthy. There’s a very good reason for it.

And anyway, experts telling you to become an expert?… Think there might be a bias there?


  1. Sarah says:

    Thanks Emilie :)

    All week I’ve been feeling like there’s something wrong with me after a nasty conversation with someone I really care about. I keep trusting other peoples judgement above my own, when I know in my heart that there’s nothing wrong with me.

    • Emilie says:

      The alternate title for this post was “Trust Yourself.” We’ve got all the answers inside. We just need to not block them out, which is hard because that’s exactly what we’ve been taught to do all our lives.

      Anyway, I’m glad you’re feeling better. Thanks for the comment, Sarah. :)

  2. janet says:

    thanks Emilie.
    actually having one of my introspective ‘down’ moments where i’m feeling like an alien that doesn’t belong anywhere (culturally, physically, socially, intellectually etc).. totally different thing but it helped to read this :)

    • Emilie says:

      Aw I know the feeling. I had it a lot when I was overseas, living in Denmark…

      Just log in to the Puttytribe when that happens. :)


  3. Lesley says:

    Yes yes yessss. All of this. Health, potential, personal, intellectual. It’s like reading about my own life, Emilie. It’s a really hard mountain to climb, to get to the top of feeling like you’re okay, you’re enough, that maybe there isn’t anything wrong with you, you’re just different from the ‘most’, and honestly, the ‘most’ aren’t all that happy or healthy often times.

    : )

    • Emilie says:

      You’re spot on, Lesley. The majority are quite unhealthy in fact. I try to think of the health challenges I went through as a blessing in disguise. (For one thing, it made me a very creative cook!) But people who aren’t quite as sensitive as us, never have that impetus to change. And so they chug on, slowly poisoning their bodies, like the frog in the boiling water… Eek.

      • I am so touched by this post. For the last 5 years I’ve been battling digestive issues as well and about 2 years ago was more depressed than I never thought I could be. I was in & out of the hospital, my weight had dropped to a ridiculous low (I was skin & bones) and my will to live was plain gone. It was an ALL TIME low, additional to me feeling worse about never seeming to be able to produce with all of the multifaceted “talents” I “had”. People would tell me I could do anything and I would internally roll my eyes and suck my teeth cause I was too busy thinking I needed to be like other people, good at only one thing.
        But over the last year or so, after also eliminating grains and unhealthy foods from my diet, something changed with my attitude. I began to feel empowered by the fact that I had to do things differently, I no longer had such an issue with being “different” from the crowd. The more I changed my diet, the more I felt better and looked better. It became less about doing things to fit in and more about doing what worked for me. So like you, I see my struggles as a blessing in disguise cause they have helped me to embrace me :) There’s nothing wrong with any of us, we are just different and maybe one day we will all learn to love the person and respect our differences. Love your blog!!!

        • Emilie says:

          Good for you, Candace! That’s awesome.

          It’s amazing how our physical well-being impacts every facet of our lives, huh? It’s really fascinating.

  4. Emilie,
    Just as you keep telling us that we are not broken and that we need to trust our hearts to tell us what to do, I have learned to trust my heart and come to your page when my heart tells me to. I was having a moment of self-doubt(again!), second guessing my choices. My inner self said: WWED? What would Emilie Do? So I logged on. There you are, my own little cheerleader, my multi-guide, that little voice I needed to hear that said-You are NOT broken, you are perfect the way you are. Thanks, Emilie, your voice righted my virtual kayak and I am off once again!

  5. kim says:

    I loved this post! I’ve struggled with this so, so, so much in the past, but I’m finally leaving that part of my thinking behind. I am going to turn 28 this month, and I’m happy to say that I finally found a way to accept myself for who I am, BEFORE hitting that big THREE-OH mark. I don’t just accept that I’m a geek at heart, but I fully embrace it now – when in my teens that would have been a four-letter-word.

    We are different because we are supposed to be. How many overweight people out there (myself included) have ever said, “It’s not fair that I can’t eat what I want to when no one else worries about calories and such”? Guess what? I stopped asking myself that when I found out that TWO-THIRDS of Americans are overweight and ONE-THIRD are obese. I felt like my body was the one broken… turns out it was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing with the “nutrients” I was giving it.

  6. Margaux says:

    Another multipotentialite friend was telling me how she felt there was something “wrong” with her for not being able to fake socialise — you know, that cheery vapid smalltalk where you just agree with what the other person is saying no matter what it is and how you really feel. I was astonished because, although I’m exactly like her in being bad at going along with this sort of chatter, I’ve always just felt there was something wrong with /them/, not me.

    Of course, there have been weak moments when I’ve forgotten how special it is to be multipotential and wondered why I can’t finish anything for the life of me. That usually happens at the end of a long hibernation period, and then I get interested in something new and I start back in. If I just learned to pace myself better, I probably wouldn’t fall into those dark periods of inactivity and wallowing.

  7. drew.. says:

    Fascinating to read all this and the comments. I was so expecting somebody to mention the ultimate in apparent anti-norm, non-status-quo lifestyle: going vegan. You want to release your potential, feel better and awaken, give that a go, you might be astonished. The Paleo thing is platformed on conjecture biased from the current status quo. Humans are evolved herbivores, without question, and i am astonished every day that folks are so unaware of this. AND, even more astonished that society is surprised when most are overweight when much of our diet is based on a substance that has evolved in nature to make an offspring as “big as a cow”. Just food for multi-thoughts ;) drew..

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Drew,

      Maybe no one commented on that, because it wasn’t the point of my article.

      I’m not going to debate evolution with you. All I know is that I feel my best eating a Paleo diet. I don’t believe that there’s one “best diet” out there for everyone. To each her own.

      • drew.. says:

        the article, and the comments, seems to revolve around the central tenet of health, a salient point in everyone’s life, even if an oft-ignored tenet. One might feel best in a particular mode of eating, but it has been suggested and proven that almost any change of incremental better-ness will have results far exceeding the sum of the changes made, such is the wonder of the mind ;) .. And, while you might read the next statement as challenging, it is not: the matter is not up to debate. Facts are not debatable. Every point of human physiology screams we are herbivorous by nature. I don’t toss this things out to wage wordsmith’ing wars, not in the least, i was simply touched by the honest revelation in your journey toward feeling better. I have been on that road for many moons.. just thought i would share. ciao!

  8. Marie says:

    I’m writing and painting about shame this week, because I’ve just found a hidden pocket of shame that has affected my life long enough. It’s serendipity that I found this post this week, because it makes me laugh and cry. I agree. I’m not broken, none of us are. I also really like that I can let go of the defiant defence of my many interests, kick the word “dilettante” back into the dictionary and embrace multipotentiality (which is a quizzical word, like onomatopeia). Yay!

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