Escaping the Story: Am I Broken?

Am I Broken?

Written By Kurtis Vanderpool

I'm a Certified Life Coach working to help people live healthier, happier, and more helpful lives. Whether is deconstructing your faith, navigating a relationship, or just the difficulties of adulting, I have over 10 years experience coaching people to create lives they love!

February 23, 2022

“We are all broken and wounded in this world.
Some choose to grow strong at the broken places.”

– Harold J. Duarte-Bernhardt


This is an excerpt from my regular newsletter, “Escaping the Story.”

In that newsletter, I go over the stories we tell ourselves that are keeping us from being healthy, happy, and helpful people in our world, and offer some tips, tricks, and resources to get you out of that story and into a better one.

If you would like the full newsletter sent directly to your inbox you can sign up here. 



Am I Broken?


Am I Broken

Am I Broken


I was in a rough place.

I hated my job.

Hated my growing waistline.

Hated my boring home life.

Hated most everything.


I was on my way to this random guy’s office for my first-ever life coaching session. I knew I needed to talk with someone. I knew this guy came highly recommended. But still…I didn’t want to go.

I didn’t want to go because I had a story playing in my head. This particular story said,


“You must be really busted if you have to rely on someone else to fix your problems?”


Now, I am a HUGE advocate of therapy, counseling, life coaching (I mean…I BECAME one after all). I strongly support all sorts of mental and emotional assistance. I have never believed any kind of stigma around it in my entire life.

However, now it was ME that was going through a tough time. Now it was ME…KURTIS who needed help.

And for some reason, as much as I advocate for therapy and life coaching, this time it felt different. This time, it felt like I was the scum of the earth.


How did I let it get this far?

Why couldn’t I be happier?

Why was I so angry?

What happened to all that willpower I used to have?

What about all those emotional health practices I always encouraged in others?

Am I broken?


What was wrong with ME?


This is the most common story I encounter with my clients, my friends, and within myself. The idea that something is inherently wrong with us is a story most of us play on repeat in our minds, and I will tell you it definitely comes with a price.

Whether we adopted this story from poor religious teachings, or just from growing up in a difficult world with hurting people around us, most of us have come to believe that we are busted, broken, beat up, and just plain hopeless.

This belief was part of my mental story for most of my life. I accepted and adopted it as basic truth and rarely even let myself question the validity of such a perspective-changing belief.


However, I no longer believe humans are inherently bad.

I do not believe that we are broken.

I do not believe that we are hopeless.


You see, through my experiences of God and community, I encountered love that said I was more than what I do.
I was valued even if I wasn’t perfect.
I was loved, even when I let things come out sideways.

Through this love and a lot of work, I have come to realize that I am not hopelessly broken.


I am unique, gifted, loved…and a little messed up mentally.


Okay…that may have been a bit of a curveball.

You need to know that I try to approach everything with a healthy and balanced attitude, so stick with me here.


Yes, it is 100% true that we humans do not function well. We kind of ARE broken in that the lenses through which we see the world are stained. We all have experiences that color how we see and respond to the world around us, and many of these experiences are not based in truth, nor are they HELPFUL.


As I learned in recovery, we all have Hurts, Habits, and Hangups.


We all have hurts.

Things that created painful feelings within us and thus taught us to protect ourselves at all costs, even the cost of intimacy.

We all have habits.

These are LITERAL neurological pathways our brains have slowly created that tell us to act a certain way in a given setting. The problem is, many of these actions aren’t very beneficial for us.

And we all have hangups.

We all have things we just can’t seem to grow through because of some trauma, fear, pain, or anxiety that has a stranglehold on our brains and our bodies.


So yes, in this sense, we ARE all broken…

in that, we don’t function at maximum efficiency to be healthy, happy, and helpful human beings to the world around us.



we are not hopeless.

We are not lost causes.


What we need to escape this story is grace.

We need acceptance.

We need kindness and patience as we learn a different way to think and live.


And we need to practice some better habits that will help us live more holistically.

You are not broken.
You are not worthless or horrible.
You are not damaged goods.


You are a human with some unfortunate experiences, some bad teaching, and really difficult circumstances to work with.


Change the story from “broken” to “growing” and you will find yourself living a better life.


Now, let’s get to work!


Try This

This week, try to recognize when you say–or think–something negative about yourself, and change the language you use to be a little kinder, as you would with a kid you were trying to help.

When you think “God, I suck at this,”
Then say to yourself, “No, I just don’t have a lot of practice. I’ll get better.”

If you think something like, “I will NEVER get this right.”
Try saying, “No one succeeds without a lot of failures. I’ll get there.”

I used to literally say “What a freaking idiot” anytime I forgot something.
Then I learned to
And say, “You’re not an idiot. You’re too busy. You’re overwhelmed. And you’re tired. Everybody forgets things. You just need to slow down.”

Try that this week and let me know how it goes for you!

And don’t be surprised if it’s a little awkward, uncomfortable, or difficult at first…remember



Resources & Suggested Readings


Live a Healthier, Happier Life
one change at a time.

Complete my LIFE ASSESSMENT guide and get started living a healthier, happier life today!



How to Become Happier - Kurtis Vanderpool Life Coach

Work with a Life Coach who gets it. Schedule a meeting with Kurtis today!

Live a Healthier, Happier Life
one change at a time.

Complete my LIFE ASSESSMENT guide and get started living a healthier, happier life today!


Work with a Life Coach who gets it. Schedule a meeting with Kurtis today!

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