Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. Strong people rarely have an easy past and the most massive characters are seated with scars. You will be burned, that’s just life. But, you will heal and come back again even stronger and more compassionate.

After a horrible motorcycle accident it took 34 surgeries to repair my leg and save it from amputation and it took me years to love myself and my leg again. But sometimes all you need is the smallest shift in your perspective to start seeing amazing results in how you feel. It worked for me.

It happened one day when I was scheduled for a visit with my doctor to make sure my broken bones were healing properly. When Dr. Wiss entered the room he sat in front of me and placed my scarred and swollen leg right in his lap on top of his crisp white coat. He touched my leg softly and looked at it as if it were an art masterpiece. Tears streamed down my cheeks and my whole perspective of my leg changed in that moment. I thought to myself, if he could view my leg like is was a beautiful masterpiece, so could I. After all, it was a miracle he had been able to save it from amputation, especially since I had a one percent chance of being able to keep it.

From that day forward I slowly started to accept and love my leg again. I slowly started to forgive my leg for giving me so much pain. I started to become proud of every scar, for I had definitely earned all of them. I was grateful that I had my leg and over time didn’t feel the need to cover it up with long socks or high boots anymore. I felt as if I had been let out of a prison of fear and worry about judgment from others and I was finally in a place of acceptance of myself and what I call my “new normal”.

We have a choice to be happy and thrive. Practicing gratitude quickly brings me to my place of joy. When you are focusing on gratitude, feelings of fear, sadness, or self pity disappear. When circumstances in life have narrowed your possibilities you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you! Choose to let it strengthen you. I choose to be filled with joy and count my blessings and so can you! So carry on warriors and celebrate how far you have come.