Inspiration Tuesday: What Elizabeth Smart Teaches Us About Gratitude, Self Worth & More…

What Elizabeth Smart Teaches Us About Gratitude And MoreDon’t you hate being sick? I do.

Last week, I was sick with a bad cold. Ugh! Seriously, on day four, I was getting sick of being sick!

But, honestly, my being sick this past week is nothing compared to what the subject of this month’s Inspiration Tuesday went through.

You may know who she is from the headlines a few years ago – Elizabeth Smart.

I read Elizabeth’s memoir recently and, let me tell you, Elizabeth Smart is one amazing person.

Really. I stand in true awe of what she endured, how she survived, who she’s become…

And what she teaches us.

Come with me and don’t make a sound, or I’ll kill your family…

Can you imagine being just 14 years old and being woken up in the middle of the night by a stranger holding a knife to your throat? Whispering in your ear, “Get up and come with me. If you make any sound, I not only will kill you, but I’ll kill anyone who tries to stop me.”

You probably can’t, but Elizabeth Smart can.

That night, in 2002, began nine months of horrific captivity for Elizabeth by her captors, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. Nine months of…

having nothing to do but listen to Mitchell talk about himself as G-d’s “chosen one” (while often being chained to a tree).What Elizabeth Smart Teaches Us About Gratitude And More

being raped by Brian David Mitchell – daily, and sometimes multiple times a day.

starvation, alcohol and, occasionally, drugs (the latter two forcing Elizabeth to violate her religious beliefs).

In short, nine months of hell. Until she was, thankfully and miraculously, rescued and reunited with her family.

What Elizabeth Smart teaches us about gratitude, self worth and more…

That’s hard to read, right? It’s unimaginable that someone, let alone a 14-year-old child, could go through an experience like this. (And I didn’t even include everything…)

But unless we understand just how truly horrific her experience was, we can’t fully appreciate who Elizabeth is today, at 26, and the lessons she teaches us.

Lessons like…

: | Even in the darkest of circumstances, gratitude exists.

You can obviously tell how brutal Elizabeth’s circumstances were during her captivity. Honestly, just when she thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. Yet, even in these beyond dire circumstances, Elizabeth describes how she was able to find something to be grateful for, whether it was her family, the brief respite offered by sleep, the morsels of food she did get, or something else.

When you’re feeling down or frustrated about things in your own life, be like Elizabeth. Take a moment, stop the whirlwind of negative thoughts going through your mind, and find something – even if it’s just one thing – to be grateful for.

Because if Elizabeth can find it, so can we.

Tweet this –> Even in the darkest of circumstances, look for something to be grateful for – because it’s there.

: | Separate your self worth from your circumstances.

I was always fascinated by how Elizabeth seemingly came out of this nightmarish experience with her self worth so intact. (And she really did – it’s no facade.)

What Elizabeth Smart Teaches Us About Gratitude And MoreElizabeth says that, after she was raped for the first time, she felt broken, as if she no longer had value. But then she thought of her family and how they would always love her no matter what happened. And her sense of worthiness returned.

She also recognized that this experience was something that happened to her – it’s not who she is.

So, when doubting your own self worth, think of those people who love you no matter what happens, and let that give you “peace of worth”.

And have faith, like Elizabeth did, that your worth will never be diminished. You are more than just your circumstances. You are intrinsically worthy.

: | Even the toughest adversities have value.

In one of the final chapters of Elizabeth’s memoir, she talks about how this challenge has helped her – yes, helped her. (While difficult, challenges often teach us in ways nothing else can…)

As Elizabeth says…

I have learned that my challenges can help me reach out to others with more empathy and understanding than I could ever have had before. Because of the things I have lived through, I can help other people now.

Find value in your adversities. Yes, some are very difficult to go through. Some make no sense. But one thing I know for sure is that every challenge, large and small, has meaning, especially when, as I’ve said here before, we use it to help others.

:: ::

There’s not a lot to love about Elizabeth’s story, but there is a lot to love about her attitude.

I hope she inspires you as much as she inspired me – especially her lesson on gratitude.

A final note. Elizabeth is happily married today and enjoys a very fulfilled life. And I couldn’t be more thrilled for someone I don’t know!

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To surviving and thriving,



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