The Scars We Carry With Us

There’s not a creature alive who doesn’t acquire a scar over the course of their lifetime. Not one. I probably sport far more than the average Joe—not the most serious or disfiguring, fortunately, but I’ve got a lot of ‘em. Of course, we all know that scars don’t limit themselves to physical reminders. The ones that impact us most usually involve some variation of disloyalty, which is different from loss, mind you. Over the course of our lives, we all expect to experience loss, what we don’t expect is to be deceived or rejected by someone close to us.


When you think about feeling betrayed, who springs to mind?


How we think about our scars is the crux of the matter. Scars can represent so many different things: our stupidity, our courage, our recklessness, our naiveté, our strength, our plain bad luck—maybe all of the above. Scars serve testament to our battle tested self. Of the various scars I have, most have faded from notice–I no longer recall what happened to bring them about–but others continue to throb. These sensitive places evoke feelings of shame, regret, or sadness; I hate the reminders.


As we re-boot our lives, one of our most significant challenges is to drain from these scars their power. There are many of us who ascribe far too much significance to our scars. If polled, no one else would consider them proof of our personal failures. I’ve made my situation worse because, instead of letting the scars fade away, I’ve blamed their existence as the reason I am unable to move forward. Their existence is not holding me back; I am. (This is akin to an amputee saying he can’t walk because he has no leg. Untrue. He can learn to walk differently.)


This is a very painful topic to write about because it is so personal and because I feel so impotent about my scars’ existence. It is taking me a long time to move beyond the injuries I have suffered. Would I return to what was before? Not in a million years. Am I glad and grateful to have escaped? Absolutely. Did I have to fight and claw my way out? Yes. Am I wiser now, learning lessons that I probably could never have learned any other way but through this set of circumstances? Yes. Am I glad I to possess this hard won knowledge? Yes. And, if I hadn’t fought back? I’d probably be dead (in the metaphorical sense, not the literal). So, when examined in this light, my scars are proof that I survived. That I was stronger than everything my opponent threw at me. That I defied their intended outcome.


How do you relate to your scars, be they mental, emotional, or physical? When you think about them, what feelings do they evoke? Do you see yourself as a sober and more savvy survivor or an ashamedly wounded soldier who just wasn’t as worthy an opponent?


Heavy questions I know.


Re-booting invariably involves scar tissue. We’ve all been beaten up. But the huge difference between us and the rest of the world is that our incentive to re-boot stems from a belief that our scar tissue does not define us! We refuse to let the scar have more power than our intrinsic self. And, if we are really wise, we don’t allow shame to infect the wound. Everyone makes errors. People can be mean and manipulative or willfully blind and participatory in our downfall. Nobody has a perfect record. Not you. Not me. Not anyone we know. We’ve all had our asses kicked. Maybe we even deserved it. Maybe not. But it happened, right?


It’s what happens next that counts.


Re-booting is an expression of faith that what we do when we stand back up promises a better life than if we remained lying on the sidewalk. Keeping ourselves down because we feel bad about what happened or how we look to others or anything else is a huge mistake. We’ve got legs to stand on, so do so! Don’t just sit there, pressing on that bruise, mournfully grimacing at how purple it looks. It’ll go away if we just get on with our business and stop fussing. Easier said than done, I know, but still true…

Roaring lion


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