by Kelly Howard for Elephant Journal
Own your shit.
I don’t mean own anything physical. I mean, let’s all own that nasty, yucky, sticky, emotional and physiological stuff that’s been bogging us down, stifling our true brilliance, tarnishing our beautiful souls.
Let’s Own. It.
So…perhaps some of us are living with a troubled past. Or present. Let’s own it.
Let’s own it all.
I could write a novel length list of possible “issues,” hang-ups, phobias, attachments and questionable personality attributes. The cold hard truth is this: we all have shit in our lives that needs to be dealt with. Nobody’s life is perfect. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has gotten a free or easy ride on this attraction we call life.
The first step is getting over any judgment or preconceived notion that our struggle is somehow more important, more difficult or more traumatizing than anyone else’s, because we never know what that person we perceive as happy, grounded and full of grace has had to struggle through. We only see what people want us to see, through a lens of our own twisted perception that creates our personal reality.
We are special and unique because we are beautiful individuals…not because of what we’ve been through. That “stuff” doesn’t define us. We all have our own shit. Let’s get over the idea that ours makes us entitled to anything—a bad attitude, sympathy, permission to treat ourselves or others poorly…no. Just…no.
Okay. We’ve gotten over the twisted entitlements and yes, we’ve got some less than shiny-happy pieces of our lives. Now, let’s take full and total responsibility for it. Own it.
I don’t mean that anything that happened to us is our fault. That’s silly. Sometimes we are made victims and that is a terrible thing. Sometimes we find ourselves in traumatic or just really crappy feeling situations and that sucks. I don’t mean that we have to take responsibility for the actions of others or for pure bad universal luck, but we do have to take responsibility for how we’ve dealt with or reacted to it.
If it will make you feel better, I’ll go first:
I am a co-dependent woman who loves too much. I have a weird relationship with food and use it as a coping mechanism when I’m uncomfortable in any way. I have made some poor choices in romantic partners (and a couple friends) that put me into some scary and traumatic situations. I sometimes seek out affection to validate my worthiness and often find myself fighting battles that are not my own in hopes that it will earn me love.
I own all the previously mentioned craziness. What does this mean for me? It means that I fully recognize that I’m a broken person but in that recognition is a big ol’ helping of some serious self-love and acceptance. I may be broken but I own the hell outta all those little pieces of me and as a result I’m embracing my areas of opportunity and have found the motivation I need to work through them.
Doing the work isn’t easy.
It’s easy to pretend that everything is bright and shiny and perfect, that we don’t need anything from anyone because life is grand just as it is…but as for me, I cannot live another day without embracing my “stuff,” without owning my shit, because doing so would be inauthentic and I just can’t breathe another breath living a lie.
Want some more cold hard facts? Until we own every little piece of ourselves, until we fully see ourselves and own who we are, what made us that way and want to fight to rise above and be our best selves, we will never be happy. We will never have a healthy relationship—with ourselves or with anyone else. Period. Harsh truths.
What can we do? We can hire a therapist. Do some introspection. Exercise our bodies, minds and spirits to exercise out our personal demons. Sometimes it takes some work just to uncover enough bravery and self-love to fully recognize or see your own “stuff,” and that’s okay.
Let’s own our shit, and then do the work to shovel it out of our personal experiences.
It will always be part of our story, but it doesn’t have to be the main plot.