Strong in the Broken Places

By: Allison Annala, Regular ContributorJuly 1, 2015

On a recent vacation I noticed a book my girlfriend was reading entitled, Strong at the Broken Places, by Richard M. Cohen. That title jumped out at me like a gigantic jack in the box. “Strong at the broken places?” I wondered aloud to myself, “Quite the contradiction.”

The reality that something is broken most definitely confirms that it is, in fact, not up to its full strength. So I pondered this conundrum for a while.

How can something be strong where it’s broken?

When the tip of a pencil breaks, it’s rendered useless until it’s sharpened. When my phone dies, it’s useless until the battery is recharged. Neither of these objects would be considered strong by any means in their broken state… I struggled for a while on this train of thought.

Then I thought about my own brokenness. My knee, which was once (actually twice) very “broken” with torn ligaments, is now even stronger than the other one due to the surgery that repaired it. The failed relationship that lead to a “broken” heart has taught me about the kind of love I deserve and has helped my heart to grow stronger with time. And the eating disorder that ravaged my once very “broken” body and soul led me to a group of people who have helped me to become a stronger version of myself than I ever thought possible.

Strong in ALL of the broken places.


Well maybe this guy is on to something. I think it’s such a testament to the human condition that we truly discover the depths of our strength in our most trying times.

You never know how much you can handle, until you are tested beyond your limits.

I think everyone is surprised by their strength at some point in time. I remember that as a gymnast, there were days I thought I could not keep going. “If I fall off of this beam one more time…” or “There is no way I can make it through this floor routine.” And I would. Or I wouldn’t. But either way, the fight to go on was making me stronger for the next practice or competition. Every day that I chose to go to therapy and succumb to the weakness that had overtaken me, I was preparing myself for the day I could say, “I beat this, I am strong, and I have conquered the beast that threatened my life.”

Yes, we are strong in all of our broken places. Sometimes the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other is the most epic example of strength. We are stronger than we know, and most of us only realize our true strength when we are pushed to the breaking point and have no other option than to fight.

Never stop fighting for yourself, and do NOT resent your brokenness. You are strong in all of the right places, and I can promise you that in the end, the fight is 100% worth it.  

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How have you overcome brokenness in your life? How has it made you stronger? Tell us below!

About Allison

ALLISON_ANNALA.jpgA gymnast since age 4, Allison uses the life lessons learned through the sport to help young women discover their greatness! She is a huge advocate for girls and women, particularly when it comes to body image and self-worth! Along with coaching, Allison now teaches at her Alma Matter, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She loves sharing her passion for gymnastics with women of all ages and her passion for life and love on her blog She is so thrilled to be an advocate for IATG and can’t wait to help inspire women all over the world! 

Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.


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  • commented 2015-07-17 04:02:29 -0700
    Hi Allison! I loved reading your article and your most recent blog post on your personal blog! It’s wonderful to see what an impact IATG has had on your life!

    Several circumstances have made me feel broken but my strength lies in “walking through the fire” and coming out stronger on the other side. It is knowing that I am unconquerable, better yet I CONQUER! I got through that- now I can get through anything…because…I AM THAT GIRL! xo
  • commented 2015-07-01 14:38:11 -0700
    Allison! I really appreciated this post. I was just speaking to a friend about this same situation yesterday and your writing brings me such clarity on the issue. Losing my mom to cancer at age 22 (after a rough 10 year battle with the disease) has left me feeling broken and I have wondered lately how to cope with what feels like a weakness…in reality…because of the loss I have met and become close with so many amazing people that all represent my mom in some way. Best of luck to you on your journey, thank you for sharing!

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