By Quinn Nystrom, MS

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” -Brene Brown

Perfect human lives only exist on TV.

Actually, I can’t even say that anymore since the most popular shows these days are the ones that share what life is really like; messy, complicated, beautiful, and challenging (think This is Us or Blue Bloods).

Our life is our story and our story is something no one can take away from us.  But our stories can be far from perfect and I’m sure most of us wish there was a “do over” button or a hypothetical editor who could go back and “pretty up” some of our more disheveled chapters that make up our past. If you feel this way, you are not alone! We all have parts of our story that are a little more difficult to own up to than others.

I think it’s safe to say that most of us attempt to keep our past failures or imperfections hidden because we are afraid of what others will think of us. In reality, it’s not our business what others think about us, right?

But what if we flipped that notion of shame, embarrassment, and discomfort on its head? What if we took a hard look at who we are as a whole (not just the good stuff) and owned all of it? By “own” I mean really stand in it and embrace it no matter how ratty it may look to us. Own it, like it and honor every inch of it. Every wart, bruise, detour, curse word, mistake, accident, or moment of bad judgment.

Scary and uncomfortable? Most definitely! But also necessary to grow, evolve and do the one thing that is soooo hard for everyone; love ourselves.

Things to Remember when Working to Own our Stories:

  • Feeling overwhelmed with this whole “owning it” process? I encourage you to start small. Find a trusted friend or loved one and share some of the things about yourself that no one else knows. Baby steps.
  • When we attempt to keep our failures or imperfections hidden, they are like anchors that pull us down. Life is hard enough without all this extra baggage. Own who you are and where you’ve been. Wear the fact that you are still HERE and going strong like a Badge of Honor.
  • When we bring these parts of us out of the dark, stare them down, and see they aren’t so big and scary, we take the first step in choosing to think differently about who we are.
  • Celebrate the whole Package of You; all of the good, the challenges, the heartaches, the joys, the mysteries. All of it has something in it to be proud of.
  • Never trivialize your achievements. Just like owning your flaws, your achievements, talents, and gifts to the world are something that deserves the light of day as well.

We all have our personal stories. Inherent in our stories are lessons learned and wisdom collected. Through stories, we can embrace our past, own who we are today and the people we’re becoming. Right this moment, pause and look at who you’ve become from all the things you’ve made it through. This life is your story. Own it.