Why Owning Your Past Is The Key To A Brighter Future


I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.
–Brené Brown

One of strongest truths I’ve learned is that in this journey of life, there is no there. We think that when we set a goal or hire a coach, that life will be “perfect” when we get THERE. But the thing is, once we get there, we find there’s a whole new goal or place or set of changes we want to execute.

This whole living and growing THING that we do is never ending.

Each day is an opportunity to go deeper into our own life and who we desire to be in this world. Yes, we need to get clear around what we want and move towards that, yet understanding that we are ever evolving and ever growing beings that get to experience MORE, it’s both exhilarating and scary.

I never tire of the gloriousness of being human. Just like I never tire of witnessing this glory in others.

The downside of this glorious human experience is that a part of doing such means we are going to experience discomfort and pain.

In order to BE who we desire to be in the world, we do need to actively claim and own our story.

I was recently reminded that in order to do so, we need to befriend our shadows. Yes, I am talking about the painful parts. Our shame, our sadness, our anger, being betrayed, making poor choices, feeling unloved or unlovable. I am also talking about the pieces of our life we want to pretend didn’t happen.

We are afraid that if we look into the shadows we will get lost within the darkness. I can promise you, though, that you don’t have to get lost there. Yes, I know, it’s easy to focus on the things we do “wrong”. Or we obsess over one single unhappy event in our life and believe that it defines us.

When we step away from allowing the past to define our present or our future, it loses its power over us. The mistakes we believe we made were all a part of this magnificent journey that have made us who we are.

By befriending our shadows, we choose to own all of our story. We find our contrasts. Yes, you may experience sadness and heartache, but when we refuse to gloss over the ways we are brave and the recognize the plethora of ways we are amazing, then that painful chapter of our story gets to be a part of our healing.

And choosing to heal the wounds and love our scars? Yes, baby, that is courageous.

So, befriend your shadows and find within them the traces of light, grace, love, beauty, bravery and forgiveness.

Owning your story isn’t just the process of befriending the shadows and rewriting their impact of our life. It’s also understanding that we can’t change what has happened, we just have to choose to move forward.

Owning your story is a process of loving ALL of the chapters of your life. Your victories, your happiness, your accomplishments, your hard work, and the tiny moments of joy.

Owning our story begs us to ask these questions:

  • Are you ready to forgive yourself?
  • Are there others that need to be forgiven so they don’t hold your story hostage?
  • Are you ready to let go the berating yourself for things that happened in your past?
  • Where are your success stories?
  • Where can you actively focus on who you desire to be?
  • What truths do you need to unearth so that you can begin to own your story?
  • What victories do you need to acknowledge?
  • What scars can you choose to love?
  • Where are you failing to give yourself credit?
  • Do you need to be reminded that you are worth the work to own your story?
  • Did you know that love is your birthright?
  • Is it time to stop fondling past events and putting your fears on a pedestal?
  • Are you clinging to roles you no longer need to play?
  • Is it time to claim new roles?
  • How can you more boldly step into the kind of life you desire?
  • Are you ready to commit to doing your work?
  • What kind of support do you need for your journey?

It’s a constant process to love who we are because each and every day, we get an opportunity to step into a life that feels more authentic than it did the day before. To step into the new roles we are discovering as we discard the ones that no longer fit.

I get this because not only do I have the honor of witnessing others do this work, I’m doing the work myself. I know from experience how easy it is to berate yourself over some of my actions in the past. I know how scary it is to seek the real truth around events from childhood.

I also know how it feels to come HOME to myself. To feel grateful for a piece of healing and find ways to forgive and love myself through the process.

Darling, owning and actively participating in our own healing is courageous and a privilege. Sometimes, we just need a reminder that we are worth the effort. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

This post originated on Attract the One.

Debra Smouse is a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle, author and life coach.

Keep up with Debra on debrasmouse.com

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