Is it okay to be proud of surviving a tough childhood?

I have that survivor-of-trauma imprint – the desire to shout about my experiences from the mountaintops, proclaiming and owning my truths and making sure everyone hears me, fighting against the desire to hide, hide, hide, so no one should know.

Mind you, my childhood was in no way the toughest. My “hide, hide, hide” censor reminds me of that all the time. “There are others, probably many others, who had it much harder than you,” it scolds me. “It wasn’t that bad.”

There are many others who had it much, much worse than I did. I agree with that censor. And it may not have been that bad. That also is true.

But it was tough. And it hurt. I hurt. I probably hurt even more, in some ways, looking back, because I now know that it didn’t have to be that tough and painful. It “shouldn’t” have been. We all deserve a glorious childhood. Or at least one absent of trauma and mistreatment.

And I certainly don’t want to dwell on any of that any more than necessary. Or any more than I can help, at times. But there are also moments when I feel quite full of myself for what I went through and how okay I am.

Full of myself and blessed. Fully aware of “there but for the grace of god go I.” Cognizant that I was lucky to come through some things so relatively unscathed, and even luckier – and blessed – to have found help, support, resources, guidance, and energy to build my life.

But I am full of myself. And proud. Is that okay?

I think so. While I don’t think that everyone needs to know and appreciate my trauma and past, and I no longer want it to be what defines me (nor believe that it must be), I do think it’s okay to tell myself that I’m hot shit. (And maybe the people who know me really well and love me tons – and maybe only some of them.) Totally hot shit.

I hear my censor, my editor, telling me not to get a big head. And then I hear myself reminding my clients that their ownership – their claim – of the wonderful things about them is in no way having a big head.

I hear my censor telling me that I’m just lucky. And then I hear myself reminding myself that I am, indeed, lucky, and I also hear my friends over the years commenting on how hard I’ve worked to leave my past behind, and have it no longer rule me.

I teach others that it’s important to own their strengths and be proud of all they’ve accomplished and who they are. I think it’s time to teach myself the same thing.

I love learning to embrace all that I am, and then learning to embrace me even more. Part of who I am is my past, surviving my past, and learning to be more than my past.

And I’m proud of that.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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