They say that we are the sum of all the experiences and people that we meet and encounter. In some ways, it is true. We may be the bits and pieces that we unconsciously adopt when something happens to us or when we internalize how other people treated us or made us feel at some points in our lives.
The danger to this, though, is that sometimes we tend to look at ourselves through an outsider lens, and most of the time, the negative perceptions and experiences stand out. When that happens, we may forget and set aside our true selves and we become passive actors of what the world tells us to be.
In moments like this, I hope you remember that you are capable of resisting this narrative, because what they did not tell you is this: Your story is not written by those who have not walked in your shoes, your story is yours to create and only yours to tell.
You are not the reflection of the people who left and hurt you or the lapses and flaws that they tried to magnify over and over again just to use them as an excuse to justify their actions. You are not the mistakes you may have made once or the what-ifs that kept you up at night.
Instead, you are the resilience that you persistently showed, which allows you to keep moving forward every single day, even when your legs are shaking and your head is full of doubts. You are the strength that kept you grounded in the middle of the chaos of what came and went.
You are not a reflection of the painful and heart-crushing moments or the days when getting out of bed felt like hard work. You are the brave choice of getting out of bed and showing up despite the heaviness at times because you know that somewhere out there, you are still needed by the ones you love.
You are not the plans that did not come to fruition or the dreams that have not turned into reality yet. You are the hope that continues to grow day by day, allowing you to focus on the present moments while building on a promising future for yourself.
In time, I hope you find the courage to change the narrative of what you can and cannot do. I hope you don’t let the world dictate how you live your life or define you through their lens. I hope that you can finally embrace yourself and say, “I am not what happened to me, I am who I choose to become.”