How many of the stories in your life would you like to change? The things that have happened to you, choices you have made, decisions that shaped your life for the better, or for worse. We all have them. I could write a book on mine. They aren’t necessarily regrets as such, more things that we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves if we were writing the script of our life.
I often look at my son’s female friends, young women seventeen to nineteen with their lives ahead of them. I think about the events that happened in my life around their age, the choices I made, the lessons I had to learn the hard way. The relationships that didn’t serve me, the men who didn’t respect me, the drinking, partying, drugs, lack of self care, lack of self respect. I know it was all part of my journey, part of growing into myself and the woman I would become. Of what I was here to teach that I first needed to learn. But for the longest time I shamed myself for who I was, how I was in the world, and the darkness with which I looked upon those stories.
When I look at these young women, I am overcome with waves of compassion for myself. They look like fully grown women, but they are just babies, buds waiting for enough sunlight and rain to blossom into their full beauty and potential. My self compassion carries over to my twenties and my workaholic, borderline alcoholic self that would lead me to work too hard, play too hard and neglect the marriage that if I had been honest I had never wanted. And then through my thirties, divorce, single motherhood, and all the lessons that would further grow me into my womanhood.
Our stories are our path. And whilst they will never define us, they do shape us. We may not have chosen them. We may hold deep shame because of them. But if we can step out of that shame for just a moment, if we can bare witness as the observer to who we are in our soul, then we can also bare witness to the glory of the woman growing into her sovereignty. We can honor our stories for who they helped us become. And for a journey only made more beautiful and precious with every flawed step along the path.