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.
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.
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).
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.