Smart likened emotional wounds, such as hers, to physical ones, saying they should be cared for "and eventually it will heal."
Though there may be scars, she continued, "We can function with those scars."
"Now that I have those scars, I can do something with them," she said.
Advocate for child protection
Smart formed the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which focuses on child safety and protection, after a conversation with her father last year.
She said so many resources and efforts are spent on the reactive aspects of situations like bullying and abuse and abduction.
"Wouldn't it be wonderful," Smart asked, "if all of those things didn't have to happen?"
This is the basis of her education program, called radKIDS, for resist aggression defensively.
Through this program, kids are taught how to protect themselves from kidnapping or bullying, and, most importantly, taught self-confidence.
Smarts feels if something similar to radKIDS were around when she was a child, "Maybe I would still just be an average, everyday girl from Utah" instead of an abduction survivor.
She urged people in the audience to ask for the program in their school district.
"Miracles happen every day," Smart said, "and I'm living proof of that."