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Elizabeth Smart’s advice on reclaiming your identity after trauma (Video)


“You get to decide who you are.”

Elizabeth Smart might be one of the nation’s most famous survivors of kidnapping, but her trauma is not what defines her. With the help of advice from her mother, she has gone on to live a happy and fulfilling life as an advocate, wife, and mother.

In the video below, she recounts the first time she met her captor after having been rescued and how she came to understand that he could never define her life — only she can do that.

“Life is so worthwhile,” she says. “No matter what has happened to you, no matter what your background is, no matter what youe past is, each of us deserves to be happy. Bad things do happen, but that doesn’t mean that they need to define us or to destroy our life. And, yes, I may always be known as the girl that was kidnapped, but that’s okay because I know that that’s not all who I am.”

Trigger warning: The video below contains some details of her kidnapping and references to sexual assault of a minor. 

Read more: Let these 5 women from the Holocaust help you become stronger

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