Let me tell you something I feel strongly about: I don’t want people to own or label themselves with what they struggle with. I completely understand why people take ownership; however, I want to protect people from the dangers of that mistake.
Look at the contrast between the following statements:
“I am depressed” in comparison to “I have depression.”
“My son is autistic” versus “My son has autism.”
“I am an alcoholic” compared to “I have an addition to alcohol.”
“I am a failure” rather than “My uterus failed.”
The first is an adjective that is used to describe. A person is more than depressed. A person is more than a diagnosis. Individuals are more things that the adjectives we label them with. You are more than the struggles that define you. You are more that what you have overcome.
The alternative is claiming something that you struggle with —whether that be depression, autism, a body part that let you down, or a vice that you struggle with. It does not describe you, your character or your worth. If you picture it as something you are wrestling with rather than your personal identity, you strip it of its power over you. It may not hurt less or change your circumstances; however, it lessens its impact on you personally.
The question becomes, how much influence do you want to give to what you are combating? Do you want to surrender your identity to it and let it define you? Or do you want to call it what it is — the mountain you are climbing?
The choice is yours.
Not even knowing you, I want you to hear something. You are not a failure. You are not your circumstances. You are not less of a woman. You are not your struggle, even if its waves crash around you.
You have to give someone permission to make you feel less-than. You have to allow someone to challenge who you are. That means the naysayers — those entitled to an opinion about you or those you silently compare yourself to — do not get a vote. Do not give them the power of your self-perception. Be confident in who you are.
And, by all means, do not give yourself the permission to make you feel less than you are.