After years of yoga, it hit me – I still had unresolved, deeply repressed trauma from my childhood. No…my parents were great. I wasn’t raped or tortured.

But I still had imprints on my psyche, pounded into my brain from 13 years of intense bullying. Every time a child decided to throw a soda can at my skull, exclude me from the lunch table, or ask me what words like “pussy” meant on the bus, my brain interpreted that I wasn’t good enough, and a thick metal shield covered my entire body.

Studies show that unresolved trauma can lead to a lifetime of victimology, dysfunctional behavioral and permanent shields of armor. If left unresolved, emotional trauma manifests in the physical body, causing chronic pain and serious health conditions. The individual gets used to a state of fight or flight – reacting as if I tiger is trying to kill them in the jungle.

PTSD is more common than most people think. In fact, PTSD research notes that 75% of people will experience PTSD in their lifetimes.

As humans, we numb out by drinking, taking drugs, watching tv, having sex or embarking in other less than productive behavior. This behavior keeps us where we are at and prevents us from becoming who we can be.

“It’s fine that I’m choosing a life of solitude and safety,” I’d tell myself for years. “I don’t want to get hurt.”

Meanwhile, I’d spend an intense amount of time with my head in self-help books, combined with years of yoga and some meditation. After quite some time, I came to a realization.

Not only am I not a victim, I’m meant for greatness. By getting in touch with past, I’d formula my superpower. You can too.

Here’s how:

Step 1 – Identify What Your Trauma Is

Now when I say identify your trauma, I don’t mean, relive it or make it your story for that matter. You just got to be real with yourself. What’s happened in your life – and how can you leverage it for good.

You may need therapy, intense meditations – or a mix of both. You need to understand what’s holding you back before you can move forward.

No matter what, try:

Releasing is vital.

Step 2 – Understand How Its Affected Your Life

Maybe you’re like me and have avoided dating in fear that someone is going to tell you that you’re not enough. Or perhaps you’ve settled for a mid-level job instead of your dream career because it is safer.

It’s likely you’ve spent years numbing in some way or another. Get truthful with yourself – so you can move forward.

Don’t stress about the lost years, you are reclaiming your life now.

Step 3 – Decide You Are More Powerful Than It

You decide. You can be a warrior in your own life – or you can be a victim.

Psychology research dating back to the 1980s describe the phenomenon of post-traumatic growth (PTG) for indicating possible positive changes in various life domains – more connected spiritual growth, greater intimacy and compassion for others, new possibilities in life, feeling stronger, and appreciating life on a deeper level, for those who have experienced trauma in the past.

In practical terms, many of the most successful, most prominent individuals choose a path of greatness, rather than victimhood. Think Oprah Winfrey who was sexually abused throughout her childhood, Kesha who was practically a slave to Dr. Luke, and Steve Harvey who once was homeless.

These people choose between staying victims or becoming more powerful than their stories. Many people have chosen the latter – much to our unknowing.

Fourth Step – Learn how to leverage it as your Superpower

The final step, the most significant step, is formulating your superpower.

Oprah’s is her ability to connect with hundreds of millions of people, to dissect the message, and communicate it out to the masses, while Kesha’s is writing songs around her experiences, spreading messages of healing, individuality, and forgiveness. Steve Harvey’s made millions of people laugh.

We are not defined by our stories, our pasts, or our pain. Instead, we are how we leverage our experiences to overcome and share our gifts in this world.

You see, our pain leads us to find our superpower. You just gotta move past it and start the good fight.