I remember when I did not own my story. When I lived my life as a victim of my experiences. Where the things that had happened to me and the people who had broken parts of me were real everyday things that I carried. I was in a space of fear, living in my past and hiding from my future. All I knew was what had happened and how I could not trust. And so I did not trust, and guess what - my life did not get magically better. Don’t get me wrong, I was a happy go lucky kind of person - very relaxed and very grounded, but once you tried to enter a space where my walls sat, you were never, and I mean never, getting past them. Everyone stayed on the outside and that was how I liked it. That was very safe. But as I grew older, I recognised a few things. Firstly I didn’t like who I was in my stories, I was weak and sad and unlovable which is far from the reality of who I am. I also recognised that I wanted more. I wanted more than to live where all I could see was what had happened because it blocked out the view ahead into my future and also into the beauty of my present. I was blessed with so many incredible people and experiences, which I was not truly appreciating because I always had one eye looking back. So what did I do? I decided to update the stories I had from a place where I was empowered. From a space where I was no longer a victim but a survivor and these experiences and people were my teachers. We cannot change what has happened but we can own it for ourselves. Every time I though I was broken, damaged or changed in fact I was given the next lesson and the next piece of wisdom that would allow me to grow out of my shell into my new form. This form is stronger; more experienced and holds more power. Whatever you story and however it has impacted your life, I offer you a chance to reclaim it. This is your life and your stories, so make sure that the stories you tell empower you. Tell them from a place of strength, and if that’s too hard, from a place of learning. Life is a teacher that can create great suffering out of great love and vice versa, so reflect on how you’re telling your stories and decide to own them for yourself. Allow your stories to be the lessons learned that enabled you to grow into the person you chose to become. Own your stories, don’t let them own you. To end with the words of Viktor Frankl: “That which is to give light, must be able to withstand burning”.

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