“What is wrong with me?” “Am I crazy?” “Am I just broken?” “Will anyone truly love me?” “Why do I keep f*cking up everything?” “Why am I such an outsider/loser?” “What the hell is wrong with me?”
If you’re here reading these words, chances are that you’ve felt (or are currently feeling) this way about yourself.
No judgment here. I’ve experienced these thoughts and feelings over and over again in my life.
But I’ve learned something important: believe it or not, there’s nothing actually wrong with you.
Yes, you might be living from a wounded place or from patterns of unresolved trauma, but that doesn’t make you “broken.”
In this simple guide, you’re going to learn why you feel like something is wrong with you, and what to do with these crappy feelings.
Note: this article is specifically for those who feel on an emotional level that something is off with them. But if you’re experiencing a physical issue like a mysterious symptom or illness, please go and see the doctor. Or if you’re having extreme psychological disturbances like hallucinations or suicidal thoughts, this article will not be able to adequately support you, so please see a psychiatrist or call a suicide hotline immediately.
Table of contents
“What is Wrong With Me?” – FOUR Reasons Why You Might Feel This Way
True story: I used to believe that I was an evil sinner that was going to hell.
Of course, that extreme (and kind of comical) belief came from my strict religious upbringing which instilled this unshakeable, ever-present belief that something was terribly wrong with me.
Thankfully I no longer believe that psychologically abusive teaching, but it has given me a direct understanding and insight into this pernicious belief.
Here are some potential reasons why you might believe that something is wrong with you:
- Religious conditioning (as I mentioned above) which can directly or indirectly impact you
- Childhood trauma – i.e., being brought up in an environment where you were made to feel unworthy, unlovable, unseen, ugly, unwanted, etc. on a regular basis
- Systemic oppression due to your race, sexuality, gender, physical ability, etc.
- Media marketing – e.g., constantly being exposed to unrealistically beautiful, successful, and happy people on social media, advertisements, and other media sources
Most of us have faced at least one (usually many) of these experiences – and they all contribute to a feeling of low self-worth and loss of self-respect. Let me know what you think the source of your struggle is in the comments below.
Nope, There’s Nothing “Wrong” With You
Stopping to really take a look at this question of “what is wrong with me?” we can see how superficial it is in the sense that it’s unhelpful and doesn’t go very deep into the issue.
It’s a surface judgment.
We discover that we can’t stay in a relationship and so we immediately assume that there’s something wrong with us.
We feel anxious around groups of people and so we judge ourselves as being broken or we apply a pathological label to our symptoms.
It’s normal to skip to these conclusions and quick judgments – no blame here. We all do it due to the four reasons outlined in the previous section.
But instead of asking “what is wrong with me?” I encourage you to ask a more gentle and trauma-focused question:
“What happened to me?”
“How did I survive it?”
We’ll explore these two questions a bit more later. But first, let’s examine the link between trauma and the belief that there’s something wrong with us:
“What is Wrong With Me?” is a Belief Rooted in Trauma
Here’s the thing:
The way in which you live life right now is rooted in the experiences you’ve had growing up and the unresolved trauma embedded in your body, heart, and mind.
Whatever stressful, maladaptive, or difficult behaviors you’re exhibiting right now are an adaptive response or a survival mechanism that your inner biology and psychology developed to ward of danger in the past, and keep it away in the present.
How does this relate to the belief that we’re messed up or broken?
The answer is that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with you, you’re just living from a traumatised place.
In the words of trauma specialist Bessel Van Der Kolk:
Being traumatised means continuing to organise your life as if the trauma were still going on — uncharged and immutable — as every new encounter or even is contaminated by the past. After trauma the world is experienced with a different nervous system. The survivor’s energy now becomes focused on suppressing inner chaos, at the expense of spontaneous involvement in their lives.
We’ll explore ways to deal with this trauma (which can happen due to many experiences including one-off and ongoing stressful events) in the next section.
Ultimately, the core message here is that believing that there’s something “wrong” with you is understandable but also shortsighted. Why? The answer is that whatever pain you’re experiencing is rooted in deeper unresolved trauma and beliefs that drive your actions and perceptions.
This unresolved trauma isn’t your fault at all. But it is your responsibility (if you choose that path) to work through it from a bigger-picture understanding.
How to Free Yourself From the Belief That There’s Something “Wrong” With You (4 Paths & Practices)
If you constantly ask yourself the question “what is wrong with me?” you’ll probably experience at least one of the following symptoms:
- Feeling empty inside
- Feeling alone and unlovable
- Feeling lost in life
- Existential depression or existential crisis
- (For younger people) quarter-life crisis
If you’re interested in exploring any of those symptoms a little more in-depth, click through to the relevant article.
But for now, let’s explore how you can free yourself from the belief that there’s something “wrong” with you:
1. Journal about these three questions
To revisit the importance of the two questions I mentioned earlier in this article, I encourage you to actually journal about them:
- “What happened to me?” (i.e., what trauma have you experienced growing up and in adulthood, e.g., religious conditioning, childhood trauma, systemic oppression, toxic media marketing, etc.)
- “How did I survive it?” (i.e., in response to this trauma what behaviors did you consciously or unconsciously adopt to numb, avoid, or suppress the pain?)
- (Bonus question) “How does this new awareness change my self-perception?”
You’d be surprised by what kinds of unexpected insights and even breakthroughs can emerge after exploring these three questions.
2. Craft a self-compassion practice
Learning to grow self-respect and self-love is a huge part of counterracting the belief that there’s something fundamentally “wrong” with you.
One of my favorite practices is doing a 1-minute mirror work practice each day where I talk to myself kindly using supportive affirmations like “I am worthy” or simply connect with my heart and say something gentle to myself. Although mirror work can be a tough and uncomfortable practice at first, it gets easier with time.
Some other guides that may help you cultivate a daily self-compassion practice are:
- Self-Love: 23 Ways to Become a Doctor of the Soul
- How to Love Yourself (No Bullsh*t Guide)
- 100+ Journaling Ideas For Deep Mental & Spiritual Healing
3. Release Stored Trauma at a Physical Level
Our nervous system governs our entire being. Read that sentence again.
So if your nervous system is stuck in a fight, flight, or freeze mode, you will never be able to feel truly relaxed, grounded, or connected.
Ever wonder why no amount of good exercise, healthy habits, talk therapy, or meditation makes you feel better?
The answer is that you’ve most likely forgotten about the importance of healing at a somatic or physical nervous system level.
Some routes I recommend exploring further are:
- Reading books like When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate, The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, and Scared Sick by Karr-Morse and S. Wiley
- Watching videos on YouTube about nervous system healing and regulation
- Exploring trauma-informed somatic healing practices (like cultivating body awareness, resourcing, pendulation, etc.) and potentially working with a trained somatic healing therapist
4. Soul Searching
For some, sticking with the above pieces of advice is enough. But for others, there is an even deeper craving to find and deal with the root of suffering which creates trauma in the first place: the ego.
The ego is that separate sense of self that we carry which causes us to feel lonely, isolated, and abandoned.
When we live from an ego-centered place, we live misaligned lives that tend to feel meaningless, aimless, or empty on some level.
By going Soul searching, by going on a journey to find out own deeper path in life, we also discover that there’s nothing actually wrong with us – it’s only the fragmented ego that believes that.
If you’d like more guidance, I highly recommend checking out my article called Soul Searching: 7 Ways to Uncover Your True Path and my guide entitled Meaning of Life VS. Purpose of Life (the Difference!).
This whole website is dedicated to the topic of Soul searching and the spiritual awakening journey, so you’ll find many resources at your fingertips!
I’d love to know if this article helped you at all. It’s always meaningful for me to read your responses to what I create and share. Please feel welcome to write any of your thoughts or feelings about this topic below!
I feel something is wrong with me because of my personality. I do not know myself enough so I do not know how to behave with others. ‘how would they retaliate, how should I respond, am I being true or false, am I being understood or misunderstood?’ …It becomes overwhelming.
The other reason is expression. I feel I keep on failing in expressing Our Source thus God from within me to the without… But the days find a way to bring me back home. I pray that everyone at such a point finds an answer, that innate indelible knowing ,which sorts all illusions that arise within us.
I feel so empty and lost I have a problem with healing and certain things make me repeat the same cycles over and over again I have become more lazy than ever. How do I heal properly without getting overwhelmed or having the mindset that everything becomes to hard I am receiving a lot of brain fog. Any suggestions
The article written makes sense to me, my children now adults and myself often say that our family is broken. It’s true we have been, but part of us is still stuck in the past. When we are young we are been programed by our parents. It’s instilled in us of how to be, when we are told we are not good enough that remains with us, so do past bad abuse in all forms. Again from the past to the future that remains with us,so our souls become fragmented and broken. Taking many years to heal if we ever do. Trying to find and fix those fragments is a huge challenge for us to do. We can re programme our selves to some degree. It still feels tho that we are still trying to heal after many years. I think it takes a little soul searching and work on yourself to heal.
Thanks for the read, I have sent it to those who need to read this.
Dear Luan and Sol,
I hate everything, I don’t have any reason to feel this way. How do I stop feeling this way.
Wow, this is an extremely powerful and insightful article that really resonates with me, thank you so much for sharing this with us, it means so much. Your work, both of you that it is, has been such a great comfort to me during my spiritual journey, and certainly a very inspirational aspect, assisting with some incredibly deep healing, and honestly, I cannot thank you both enough for this. Again, this beautifully written article is so powerful, and something that appeared at the right time, it truly was fate.
During my journey, I’ve discovered a bundle of unprocessed trauma, a lot surrounding abandonment and not feeling good enough, and I’ve recently discovered Somatic Healing too, which again, just very eerie how all of these puzzle pieces have fitted together so neatly and perfectly all at once. I’m certainly looking forward to delving into the journal questions you’ve supplied.
Again, I cannot thank you both enough for all you share and do for so many of us across the world, incredibly grateful for you guys and all you do.
Much love from the UK
I’m 21 and I’ve recently been undergoing a spiritual awakening journey. I find your articles deeply resonate with me at times. I feel quite uncertain in myself. I feel hyper-aware of my own actions, almost questioning everything. I’m a generally curious person I think, but sometimes I find myself questioning things down to very fine details in relation to my own actions, consciousness or to the world that exists outside. This causes me unnecessary stress. I feel so afraid to take a path because how do I know it is the right one? Is there a specific one that is meant or just general paths? Or is it just part of the process to make mistakes while staying in allignment with my soul, finding my way on the journey? I feel very different to everyone else, I always have done. I seem to be so easy to step on. I almost think that that is my role in life. I feel I gather inner rage from it all. I disconnect from myself and that’s how I deal with it. I probably could be categorised into to the dissociative personality disorder. I often talk to myself in the third person, and… Read more »
Throughout most of my life, I’ve also had this thought. For me, it was definitely childhood trauma that caused me to wonder this. But it was little t trauma, not Big T trauma. It had nothing to do with my parents, and everything to do with my peers at school. I did not fit in at school. I was a social outcast. I suffered from social ostracism, which is an invisible form of bullying. I was excluded from everything, people made fun of me behind my back, and I felt like I was invisible because I wasn’t being acknowledged. This started to make me think “What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t anyone like me?” That explains why today, I have low self-esteem and low self-respect. It seems like most people don’t have a lot of respect for me and they look down on me.