I came across the following piece some years ago. Can’t remember where. At the time I didn’t know who the author was, just felt it was a powerful piece that should be shared.

A friend mentioned that I’d shared it with her over 5 years ago; and that it still spoke to her. So passing it on again. I tried to source the author, it’s possibly Tabitha Sullivan

I do not define myself by how many roadblocks have appeared in my path.

I define myself by the courage I’ve found to forge new roads.

I do not define myself by how many disappointments I’ve faced.

I define myself by the forgiveness and the faith I have found to begin again.

I do not define myself by how long a relationship lasted.

… I define myself by how much I have loved, and been willing to love again.

I do not define myself by how many times I have been knocked down.

I define myself by how many times I have struggled to my feet.

I am not my pain.

I am not my past.

I am that which has emerged from the fire.

  1. 1. state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of.
    “the contract will seek to define the client’s obligations”
    1. 2. mark out the boundary or limits of.
      “clearly defined boundaries”

How we define ourselves, or what/who we allow to define us, can have an enormous impact on our lives. It is important to have a clear sense of ourselves. To know who we are, and who we are not. To understand are strengths and weaknesses, and in what circumstances we thrive best. To show up for ourselves, as a friend of mine puts it.

Maybe consider reading the poem again, and think about how you are currently defining yourself.

On a final note, it interests me that “define” is a verb. A doing word. Suggesting there is some action or active participation required. Also, that it is a process. What previously defined us, doesn’t have to define us now. What currently defines us doesn’t have to defines us in the future.