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Jun 15, 2008

Elizabeth Smart's "People" interview

I read the article in this week's "People" magazine about Elizabeth Smart. I have to say that she absolutely amazes me. She's been through something that is more traumatizing than anything I can think of, and went through it at such a young age. However, she has managed to have such a positive attitude about life itself. I'm taking until 50 to learn some things she knew before she ever came close to the age of 20, that she is now. Here are some quotes that impressed me.

  • "I feel so lucky to be here. From the day I came home, I haven't wasted time looking back."

How often have I looked back in the past, being unhappy about all the things that did or didn't happen, or even the temptation to look back and regret all the opportunities missed? This is powerful. We need to always look forward to the future, and forgive ourselves and others for whatever it is in the past that holds us back.

  • "I want to tell other people, don't give up. Miracles do happen."

I think I've often given up in the face of a whole lot less. No more. I believe that through my life changes and through a positive attitude, "Miracles do happen".

  • "I don't feel the need to talk about what happened to me, but if I do, I know my family is there."There were times, she says when she felt despair, "but I always knew that no matter what, I'd still be part of my family. They could change my name, change the way I look, starve me to death. But they couldn't change that I am Ed and Lois Smart's daughter. That was a very powerful thing to me."

I can see how that is powerful. Never let what anyone says or thinks about us change our beliefs and knowledge inside of who we are. People can treat us like we are worthless, but we never are. No one can change who we are. I think of all the erroneous beliefs I once had about myself, based on how people reacted to me, rather than to just know who I am, and portray that internally and externally.

  • "It's important to remember that just because something bad happens to you, it doesn't mean you are bad. You are still entitled to every possible happiness in life."

Nothing in my life even compares to the bad that she has been through. I've been through failures and negative judgements about me. How many times have I let that hold me back. Never again. We are all entitled to every possible happiness in life. As mentioned in previous entry's we do control our happiness. It's her amazing perspective and positive attitude that is keeping her so grounded and happy after the worst has happened.Her first night home, she insisted in sleeping in the bed she was kidnapped from, telling her parents,

  • "I want to sleep in my room tonight - don't worry, I'll be here in the morning."

How many times have we let fear hold us back. We decide, "I'm never going to do "x, y and z" again because last time I tried, this negative thing happened." I've spent years hiding from social situations because of things that happened due to my hearing loss. I've needed to learn to not let anything stop me keep trying as many times as it takes to find success. Elizabeth sleeping in her own bed was a powerful way of "getting back on the the horse after it bucks you off". We have to not let fear stop us.

  • "Before, I was just your average Mormon girl. And since everything I've one through, there's been a lot of learning and growing. I've learned to listen and not jump to conclusions. I'm not sorry this happened to me anymore, because it made me grow up."

Even though it's tempting for me to have regret over opportunities missed, wasted years of my life. I've been endeavoring to have the exact same attitude Elizabeth has here. I can't waste time in regret, but rather I'm thankful for the ability to have learned and grown from all those experiences. Like her, I've got to appreciate the lessons learned and keep my eye to the future .She has let go of her anger towards her kidnappers and says,

  • "It's just not worth holding on to that kind of hate. It can ruin your life. Nine months of my life had been taken from me, and I wasn't going to give them anymore of my time."

I know people that still have to talk about the past and the wrongs and mistakes of the past, perpetrated on them by someone in their life. For example, someone I know never misses an opportunity to talk about how awful they think their mother was and trash the past. Many of the things that aren't so wonderful that happened in our lives were never from people out to abduct you and control your life. Many things happen because no one is perfect and never mean harm, or if they do, they are trying to survive and protect themselves. No matter what happened in our past that is bad and how it came about, we can learn from Elizabeth here and not waste our time holding onto anger and or hate. Don't give them our time. Move forward the way she does, to her future and her happiness. I will do good to always remember that. I don't know what life has ahead, nor what hard lesson await. If I can keep an attitude like hers, I will always be fine.

  • "I only have one life, and I'm not going to miss out on it. When I'm through, I want to be able to say, 'Wow, I have lived a great life''

My fervent hope for every one of you, whether you are my reader or not, is that you are able to reach the end of the road saying just exactly that, "Wow! I have lived a great life." I know that I am going to be able to do that. I have the power to live a life that is great. So do you.

Gratitude Entry: I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to learn and to grow from so many inspirational people. There are many people that have inspired me in one way or the other in my life. Now as I learn to appreciate and grow from all of them, it's awesome. Thanks to all of you who are in my life. There is not one of you, among my family and friends that I don't learn something from that in turns, helps me to learn to live my best life in joy and happiness. I hope that I can in some small way, be a positive person in your life, as you too learn to live your lives in joy and happiness.


cami said...

Thanks for sharing Ann. Is the rest of that interview online somewhere, or is it in this weeks People?

Anonymous said...

This was so insightful Ann! In my life, I found the only way to move ahead was to look forward in life. Elizabeth Smart sure learned some hard lessons that has taken me years to learn too!

lamiss ibrahim said...
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