“Learn from the past and don’t dwell on shortcomings” has been a major lesson for me throughout my life.
As I continue sharing the lessons learned that I wrote at the end of each chapter of my memoir, Life After Birth, I reflect on this critical point of growth and personal forgiveness. I had been bullied and teased for how I looked and what I didn’t have. I didn’t feel pretty with my big teeth, short hair and clothes that weren’t name-brand. I also didn’t have many friends. But what I saw as shortcomings shaped me into the person I am today.
The shortcomings made me appreciate what I had.
Appreciate Your Past and What You Have
Sometimes it is a challenge to recognize and appreciate what we have when we feel like we are lacking or missing out on something. I felt that too. To be honest, I still feel that I times. However, we must make a deliberate decision, in a S.O. What! moment. That decision is to acknowledge what we feel or what we may be lacking and immediately counter it with appreciation for what we do have.
At that point in my journey, I wanted expensive clothes that my parents couldn’t afford. It didn’t take long for me to say, “S.O. What!” and embrace the fact that I had clean clothes to wear. And the older I get and the more people in more challenging situations than my own, it gets even easier to appreciate what I have.
Focus on Who You Are
Another lesson from the past was to focus on who I was. I was a loving, caring and friendly person. I used that knowledge to change my perspective and my future. Because of what I went through, I learned not to tease others for what they didn’t have, or how they looked. Instead, I learned to accept, encourage and uplift them with my words and actions.
Don’t dwell on what has happened or what has been, instead learn from the past and move forward. Move forward in strength where you appreciate what you have, who you are becoming because of the challenges you’ve overcome.
What lessons have you learned from your past challenges? How can you use them to make you more appreciative of your current situation?
I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges. provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.
Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker? I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.