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Just Because You Have Scars Doesn't Mean You're “Scarred.”

Thankful for the scars?

Everyone, it seems, has a different opinion on scars. Some people wear their scars like a proud medallion, while others are happy to let them fade. Regardless of what you decide, scars are nothing to be ashamed of. That goes for both scars that can be seen by the eye, and the emotional ones hidden from plain sight. Whether you decide to fade a scar, or wear it in all its glory, a scar makes for an excellent metaphor in life. 


Before we get to the deeper meaning of scars, let’s start skin deep: 

Scarring occurs when a wound damages the deep, thick layer of skin known as the dermis. When a scar forms, this area of skin may become flat, raised, have a rough texture, and look noticeably different from the surrounding skin. 

 

Now, to get a little deeper (and metaphorical): 

Some people might equate being “scarred” with being “tainted.” After all, a scar changes the skin’s appearance, and it just isn't the same as before. Yet, in a deeper sense, perhaps a scar can be compared to the inevitable that occurs along with growth: change

 

As humans and creatures of habit, we tend to resist change. This is because it is uncomfortable and can be downright scary. Yet, growth requires shedding our old skin—the smooth, cozy, safe skin that we once knew. 

 

While change in general is uncomfortable, and may sometimes be difficult or unglamorous—and although scars are not typically something we cherish—hopefully we can learn to appreciate the analogy of scars. 

 

Perhaps scars can be seen as a metaphor that the difficulty and struggles we endure in life are an opportunity to change us—not taint us—but paint us, in an exquisite and profound way; to give us a chance to grow and evolve, and develop insights and wisdom.

 

In addition, when we choose to harness life’s trials and tribulations as an impetus for growth and transformation, we discover that no pain is in vain. 

This awareness is the ultimate empowerment; and in this way, we move from victim to victor.

Speaking of victors….ever heard of Viktor Frankl?  A world-renowned 20th century psychiatrist, and survivor of unspeakable horrors, Viktor later transformed his “scars” into empowerment. After surviving the atrocities of Nazi concentration camps, he developed Logotherapy, a type of psychotherapy centered on finding meaning and purpose in suffering. He also authored the international best-seller Man’s Search for Meaning

 

No matter what one has endured, it is our choice what we do with the circumstances that life presents; it is up to us what we make of it.

 

However you decide to wear your scars—hidden or visible—what matters is what you choose to do with them; it’s about what you make of your scars.

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