No matter what you’ve been through, you can conquer it and live the life you want to live.
For most of early October, all US-centric news sources were difficult to watch. The news tends to be grim, but for one-third of the women watching the investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, it felt personal.
Politics aside, violence has become a prominent discussion topic. Many survivors have jump-started the conversation, admirably taking it head-on and speaking out. Others have yet to find their voice.
That’s how I was a year ago—I was assaulted just as the #MeToo movement was taking off. I saw myself as a victim; so many people were sharing their stories as survivors, but I didn’t see myself as one. It was overwhelming. I wanted to get past it, but I didn’t know how.
It was too hard for me to read article after article describing others’ experiences, and their own recovery processes seemed far away and impossible. All I knew was I wanted to get better.
After months of therapy, I was in a much better place, but not ready to share my story yet. That changed when I watched “Nanette” on Netflix.
Since watching, I have realized that women’s strength is unparalleled. And when we tell our stories, we empower each other. Your story is valid, no matter what you’ve been through.
But it’s up to you to take ownership of that story. That way, you can change the narrative. That’s how I learned to be a survivor.
There are all different survivors of different traumas. Not everyone chooses to disclose their experiences to the whole world, either. That’s okay.
For those that do share, however, there’s comfort in knowing you’re not alone in how you feel. There’s also power.
Since healing is not linear, some days I still feel down. Some self-care is in order. One way I get myself going again is reading or listening to stories that inspire me. If my time is limited, I’ve found bite-sized quotes can be equally as effective. They’re like little nuggets of encouragement to keep me going.
Sometimes I’ll save them as a sticky note on my laptop, or physically write it out. There are plenty I’ve wanted to ink onto my skin as a tattoo.
If you need help, there are lots of resources you can turn to (The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a great site). In the meantime, here are 25 inspiring and powerful quotes from survivors to empower and motivate you to keep going.
1. Humor can help, especially when it’s tied in with the straight-up truth you need to hear.
“To be rendered powerless doesn’t destroy your humanity. Your resilience is your humanity. The only people who lose their humanity are those who believe they have the right to render another human being powerless. They are the weak. To yield and not break, that is incredible strength”—Hannah Gadsby
2. There are many ways to define strength.
“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t”—Rikki Rogers
3. And growth comes from your strength to deal with the cards you’ve been dealt.
“Your growth comes not as you work harder to get something you don’t have, but as you live in the reality of what you have already been given”—Nancy Guthrie
4. You’re powerful.
“Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you do choose”—Michelle Rosenthall
5. Isn’t it worth it?
“And here you are living despite it all”—Rupi Kaur
6. Where you were once weak can be your greatest strength.
“If you want to know where to find your contribution to the world, look at your wounds. When you learn how to heal them, teach others”—Emily Maroutian
7. Bravery isn’t reserved for certain people and positions.
“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do”—Brené Brown
8. Psychological professionals know it, too.
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become”—Carl Jung
9. Our favorite writers are our favorites for a reason.
“Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong”—Sarah Dessen
10. Some of the most incredible feminist icons in the world are so inspiring.
“There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power strong than both, that of women”—Malala Yousafzai
11. When it gets hard, it’s good to have a mantra.
“Survivor Psalm: I have been victimized. I was in a fight that was not a fair fight. I did not ask for the fight. I lost. There is no shame in losing such fights. I have reached the stage of survivor and am no longer a slave of victim status. I look back with sadness rather than hate. I look forward with hope rather than despair. I may never forget, but I need not constantly remember. I was a victim. I am a survivor”—Unknown
12. You are a champion.
“I am not a victim. No matter what I have been through, I’m still here. I have a history of victory”—Dr. Steve Maraooli
13. Flowers can bloom in the most unexpected circumstances.
“Our wounds are our sources of growth”—Rachel Naomi Remen
14. Because it’s your experience to go and grow through.
“When I talk about my trauma I am not asking you to carry it or relieve me from it”—Blythe Baird
“After a while I looked in the mirror and realized…wow, after all those hurts, scars, and bruises, after all of those trials, I really made it through. I did it. I survived that which was supposed to kill me. So I straightened my crown…and walked away like a boss”—Unknown
16. Your choices can change everything.
“The enemy doesn’t stand a chance when the victim decides to survive”—Rae Smith
17. Don’t smile because someone tells you to—smile because you can.
“Survivors of abuse show us the strength of their personal spirit every time they smile”—Jeanne Mcelvaney
18. You’re Wonder Woman, for real.
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles”—Christopher Reeve
19. Remember to roll your shoulders back, too.
“Someone once asked me how I hold my head up so high after all I have been through. I said it’s because no matter what, I am a survivor, not a victim”—Patricia Buckley
20. Let it burn bright.
“You’re not a victim for sharing your story. You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth and raging courage”—Alex Elle
21. Even TV shows can speak resonant truths.
“You survived the abuse. You’re gonna survive the recovery”—Olivia Benson
22. Hear it from another survivor—it gets better.
“Please know that you can get out and it will not always be an easy road, and it will be lonely at times. But it only gets better, life is too beautiful to live it trapped and abused and hiding under the shame of it all”—Anonymous
23. For all the writers out there.
“So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality”—Ellen Bass
24. Your survival is important for all women.
“Each time a woman stands up for herself without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women”—Maya Angelou
25. And you will learn to love so much stronger than you loved before.
“One day, I plan to love so loudly, my body abandons every demon harvesting me”—Arati Warrier