Saturday , June 24 2017

Scars are beautiful: Treat them as Tattoos with a Story

The Beauty of Scars

 

We often find advertisements that endorse skin creams that claim to clear the skin of blemishes and scars, thereby upholding the socially believed cliché of flawless beauty.

Such advertisements make children and youth grow up believing that our physical imperfections, especially scars, are ugly. I’d like to, however, prove the opposite….that scars ARE BEAUTIFUL.

 

What is a Scar?

The dictionary definition of a scar is “A mark left after a surface injury or wound has healed.”
A scar is, therefore, a mark left on something following damage of some kind. Wounds that have healed, leave scars; accidents that we have survived, leave scars; troubles that were overcome, to leave scars. Stretch marks of childbirth are scars that prove a woman has become a mother.

 

Every scar tells a story:

The next time you see a scar on someone, ask them politely, if they are willing to share with you, the story behind it. More often than not, you’ll be fascinated.

Each scar indicates that some situation has been encountered. It is the proof that the difficulty has been overcome, the complexity has been simplified, the problem has been solved, the crisis has passed and is no longer as catastrophic as when it first emerged. It is an indication that the person is now experienced in whatever it took to heal the wound, so that, if the same or a similar issue ever emerges, the person now knows what to do about it.

Everything that is of value, has gone through tough moments…gold was heated, melted so that it could be intricately molded; strong pottery was baked; the most valuable diamonds have been cut.

 

The question then is “What makes a scar BEAUTIFUL?”

Beauty is only skin deep, so is the scar, but that is as far as the physical aspect is concerned. What about the psychological and emotional scars?

We sometimes say that although a person is healed outwardly, he/she is “scarred for a lifetime”. But is that a NEGATIVE thing? To be scarred for a lifetime? Not if you look at that scarring as an experience that will help you navigate through the rest of your life. It’s actually all a matter of perspective. What may be perceived by some as a scar of FEAR, could be translated as CAUTION.

Scars are beautiful

For instance, a girl may seem afraid to ever go near a dog since she was bitten by one, as a child. So although the outward scars have healed, her relatives may understand her current behavior as a normal and resultant fear of dogs. But if we read between the lines, her avoidance of dogs is just her way of ensuring the awful biting episode doesn’t recur. If we look at the latter explanation as positive, then this avoidance of dogs is not fear, but caution.

 
Scar Button
 

Now, don’t we want our children to use their life experiences to their benefit?

So it’s important to remember here, that constantly “protecting” one’s children from difficult experiences, may not help them. But rather inhibit them from developing the necessary antibodies to overcome difficulties, failures, and disappointments. Thus, build the very necessary strengths of endurance and resilience.

 

Of course, some of the deeper scars should be looked at as symptoms and warnings, which indicate that although surface healing has occurred, inner healing is STILL required. This internal healing can be promoted either spiritually (through an intense spiritual experience); socially (by having close relationships and friends in need), or sometimes therapeutically (through visiting a professional therapist).

 

Scars are beautiful

 

 

Following is an excerpt from an article I had written a while ago while reviewing a book for the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling (BJGC).

 

“Scars are good. Why do I say this? Because they are an indication that something that was a wound, has now healed. Scars carry hope, reminding us that bad times have been surmounted. Bad times may come again; we can’t control some things that happen around us.

But without scars, we would never remember that there were bad times that we have passed through and we are now healed. And so, if bad times ever do come again, I can look forward to those also becoming only a scar soon…

And slowly as I work through the healing, I’ll realise that if I help myself soon enough and well enough, the hurt won’t even get bad enough to leave a scar.

Later scars themselves will be a thing of the past, so dim, that I hardly remember them, except when I can now help someone else to heal too.”

(Divecha, R.; 2016 at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03069885.2016.1176122 )

 

So my point is, whenever we go through a rough patch, however tough, it helps to look at the incident as adding to our repertoire of experiences, just to make us richer human beings.

Isn’t that beautiful? And therefore I say, scars ARE beautiful.

I rest my case.

 
Scar Button
 

About Rhonda Divecha

Rhonda Divecha is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development at Nirmala Niketan College of Home Science, Mumbai, India. The above article emerges from her interest and involvement in the field of Positive Psychology. You can contact her on rhondiv@yahoo.com

26 comments

  1. Majella Pereira Braganza

    Fantastic article, Rhonda Divecha. Very thought provoking. Helps in changing over to a whole new perspective of what is otherwise considered as negative.

    • Yes, that’s the idea totally….Glad you think that way too. Let’s go ahead…change the world in our own little way. 🙂

  2. A very well writte article. Dear Rhonda would love to read more of from you. It reinforces the fact of loving oneself with all your scars and accepting others with their scars. “Scars are my true identity and I am proud of it as it brings out the victorious me or experienced me”. This is the message I take from your wonderful write up.

    • Thank you Fatima, for your encouraging words….this is certainly the impact I was hoping to have …stay with this line of thinking and together we can help facilitate positive attitude change. Do write in with ideas of your own too. 🙂

  3. Hey Rhonda… Beautifully written n so much true… I could actually relate to my life incidnets…

    • Thank you for your comment and God Bless You in overcoming such incidents…in fact you are most welcome to share your experiences by email (my email id is above) whenever you are ready to. I could use them in future writing to help others, without using your name.

  4. Scarry scarry night……paint your palette blue and gray…….love the article…….it resonates the beauty of a woman and women are without doubt beauty in motion 🙂

    • Oooooh Elroy….that’s so creative, Vincent van Gogh’s spiritual and emotional beauty could not be understood by the world around him…”the world was never meant for one as beautiful as you”….That’s exactly what we need to change…the perspectives that judge.
      Thank you for understanding…with the type of understanding that comes mostly out of experience.

  5. Beautiful thought provoking article. Never looked at scars in such a positive way. You really put it all so well Rhonda. We parents always like to shield our children from scars whether physical or emontial. Your article has made me think pisitive and bold. Scars are indeed beautiful. Keep writing .

    • Thank you Pramila, for your comments and encouraging words….in fact please do write in by email (my email id is above) to share your experiences as a parent after reading this. I’d really appreciate it. I could use your experiences in future writing to help others, without using your name, if you prefer it like that; or I would acknowledge you if you’re open to it; coz you would be instrumental in helping others.

  6. Amazing perspective..each and every one of us has gone through some or the other negative experiences, impacting us in differing intensities; leaving some scars, reminding us of the incident every time we come across it. Emotional scars particularly would be a little more difficult to deal with. This article opens a beautiful window for self healing. Kudos to the writer 🙂

    • That’s beautifully worded, Chitra. You know, I am learning soooooo much from yours and all these comments….so I thank you profusely for taking the time to write.

  7. Wow!! Thank you for this new perspective Rhonda
    Such a Refreshing way to look at life!!

    • Yes, Sonal…I guess we NEED to click that “refresh” button now and then…makes life worth living. Thank you for responding. 🙂

  8. What a beautiful article Rhonda…totally resonates with my ideas.
    Wish to share- a few years back, I had a patient who had come on for weight loss.- I am a nutritionist..
    He was ideal patient, fully receptive, willing to make the changes and highly motivated. Nevertheless to say, he did lose weight and achieved his fitness goals.
    On one occasion , he expressed his fear of his body being seen by others…which he was uncomfortable about as he had a numerous stretch marks- a result of a large weight loss.
    I remember being surprised at that – my idea of those stretch marks was not to be embarrassed, to me they were trophies – trophies of a warrior who had battled obesity and who had won the war. I remember telling him this and the look on his face as he was holding the thought – a sense of peace and an understanding of what it actually means. We agreed that each mark was special and he should be proud of it- those stretch marks will become motivational messages to many, a war cry, a flag of victory.
    Your article triggered those memories. Thank you for writing it- perspectives can change.

    • Hi Vibha, Thank you so much for sharing that amazing experience. What a beautiful analogy of a scar/stretchmark as a “Trophy”…keep up your excellent service. In fact your writing seems to hold so much promise, that you should seriously consider writing for this website “Stay Fit n Young” as all the thrust areas of this website (Workout, Nutrition and Wellbeing) feature in your work. Looking forward to hearing more such success stories. All the very best!

  9. Bernadette R. L. D'Souza

    Excellent article – very thought provoking and life enhancing. It gave me great joy to see you using your knowledge and insights to help others heal and grow. I would like to share your interesting article with many others to encourage and reinforce a perceptual shift of their negative life experiences to positive gains in wisdom, strength and transformation.

    • Thank you for your encouraging words, Bernadette. You are also creating not just ripples but waves in your counselling endeavours. You are most welcome to use this in whatever way you feel best. In fact do email me your success stories that I can the share with others too. 🙂

  10. How lovely. We really do need more people like you ma’am to put your thoughts & feelings out there & thereby overpower certain negative stereotypes & make our society aware that it is okay to be you. I believe too, that we need to build a society where love is spread & that people no matter how different are always beautiful.

    • Thank you dear Elrica…and yes, go ahead and help in whatever way you can. Never let your Adolescent Idealism fade out…keep your fire burning! 😉

  11. So beautifully written Ma’am. A completely different perspective.. A positive one.

  12. Superb Rhonda. I really loved the article on the scar. …. Every scar leaves an indication that we have encountered something. That’s superb , really wonderful and mind blowing. Just can’t read it once.

    • Thank you Carol for writing in….and you can read it more than once, infact as many times as you wish now…as there’s a download link provided above too. It will be sent to the email id you give in. So go ahead and click on that link 🙂

  13. Very encouraging article Rhonda. I remembered the tagline in Surf Excel ad ‘daag ache hain’.All we need is shift in perspective and move on.

    • Wowwww, that’s an extremely creative association, Charlette !!! Never realized the Surf Excel connection 🙂
      It’s an art to capitalize on good things in the media world and use them effectively…even though they may seem unrelated initially. 🙂

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