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How can you tell the difference between a victim and a successful survivor?

We successful survivors of hard times are comfortable in our own skin. We know who we are and we’re OK with ourselves, flaws and all. We know our worth and value—whether anyone else sees it or not.

We value what’s inside of ourselves and others more than what’s outside of us. In other words, although we want to look our best, and we enjoy having nice things, we care more about the quality of a person’s character and personality than we do about looks and possessions.

Because we value a person's character above all else, we can accept people as they are whether they have a million dollars in their bank account or no account at all. We don’t measure people by their money, popularity, or by the positions and power they hold. Successful survivors measure people by their honesty, integrity, and intentions—in short, by the way they treat other people.

Successful survivors of trauma don’t feel sorry for ourselves for the hard times we’ve been through. We don’t envy people who have had [seemingly] easier lives. We understand that no one gets through this life without experiencing some kind of pain. We know that every person experiences trouble. We recognize that there is a specific plan and purpose for everyone, and that comparing them or the challenges we face doesn’t help anyone.

Successful survivors know that we cannot turn back the clock and make the painful events we’ve experienced un-happen. We cannot unsee what we’ve seen or unhear what we’ve heard. But we understand the advantage of using what we’ve learned from our experiences, like the character traits of empathy, courage, and resilience, and the abilities like sensing when something is wrong, and coping skills like exercise, prayer or meditation, to create successful lives.

Yes, hard times changed us, but not for the worse. They shaped us for the better. They made us think and feel and care more deeply, and from there we can reach others who are still hurting. We care greatly. We love deeply.

Successful survivors know that we can make it through anything because we’ve already lived through our worst fears.

People who remain in victim status are usually victimized over and over again. Successful survivors have gone through similar painful trauma, but we decide that we won't be victimized again. We survive and thrive and we help others do it too.

We successful survivors live purposefully every day toward the fulfillment of the good plans for our lives. We know that those plans always involve helping others in our own unique ways, and enjoying the sense of satisfaction that results from living our purpose.

If all of this describes you, YOU ARE A SUCCESSFUL SURVIVOR! Keep thriving and moving forward because you are showing everyone within your influence how it's done!

If you're still in the hot middle of trying to survive, give yourself credit for getting this far. You may have been a victim of traumatic experiences, but you don’t have to remain a victim. Begin right now to see yourself as the strong, smart, and bold survivor that you are.

To go from surviving to thriving, join us at and on our Facebook page at

When you connect with us, you will find that you’re with people who get you, who feel you, and who will encourage and empower you. You can make it on your own, but why do this life alone? There’s a growing army of us, and with you, we will all be even stronger!

Rhonda Sciortino, author of Succeed Because Of What You've Been Through (featured on The Today Show), used the coping skills from her abusive childhood to create personal and professional success. She built two successful businesses, then turned her attention to helping others to find their purpose and their authentic success. More info can be found at


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