Invisible Scars

Scars are marks that remain on our bodies that are usually visible. What happens when the scars on our hearts are not transparent? I know people, including myself, that fall in this category. We’ve weathered burns with relationships, and our trust factors are weak. It’s been easy to become jaded in our mindsets while guarded with our hearts. When a person has endured so much heartbreak and angst, it’s difficult to see the scars they wear.  

I used to love the book “The Scarlet Letter,” my favorite passage reads, “The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers—stern and wild ones—and they had made her strong.” This statement reminds me that situations and scars can be used as a teacher no matter what life throws at us. We have to be willing to learn from poor judgments.  

For a very long time, I let people make me feel inferior. I carried scars that were unseen on my soul. I held in pain from losing my children and kept pushing through like it was nothing. I didn’t let others see me break down much because I thought it was a sign of weaknesses. Everyone else around me was falling apart, and I didn’t believe that I could be a part of the cycle, so I shoved my emotions to the side, becoming numb to others who wanted me to let them in. I chose to put my energy into other outlets that might help other people, but I wasn’t honest with how hurt I indeed was. It’s easy to shove people out of your life and much more challenging to show the hurt and raw emotion we experience when our scars become imprinted with invisible ink.  

Looking back, I should have gotten more help psychologically than I did. I lost many things and people in a short period. When I lost my children, I blamed my ex-husband because he didn’t seem to care enough about me to get me the medical care I needed. That statement wasn’t fair to him, though, because there is no way he could have prevented the miscarriages. I blamed the doctors when my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor because they missed his diagnosis by a mile. They didn’t order the tests that would have told us ahead of time what he was dealing with over the last few years of his life. I needed someone to blame. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. None of the bad things that happened weren’t a specific person’s doing. Instead, it was a part of life that I didn’t want to acknowledge.  

Life is hard. We don’t like to talk about the hurt that inflicts itself in our lives. Sometimes our pain is from those we love; other times, physical pain rears its ugly head. What matters is that we embrace our scars and keep going forward.  

Visible scars can seem ugly to some people. I choose to see visible scars as beautiful. I have known many veterans who bear visible scars that may be difficult for people to understand the pain they live with because not only are they are reminder physically, but the pain can be excruciating underneath those scars. Unless you have known men and women who fought in combat or had limbs removed, you can not begin to comprehend the level of pain they endure. Psychological scars can be worse. At least with physical scars, people can see the areas that a person might be dealing with their pain, but psychological and emotional scars are invisible. People can see others hurting their body language and in their eyes, but the soul hides many secrets. Our souls carry scars that can not be defined because every situation is different. The levels of emotional pain vary from person to person.  

I went online to get some helpful hints for folks because each of us deals with our issues differently. Since I’m not a counselor or psychologist, I try to keep positive reinforcement with everyone by referring to tips that have helped others in professional settings. Here are some of the top tips I found that might help you deal with invisible scars.

  1. Be yourself: You will never heal by trying to be something you aren’t. Accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all. Once you do this, you will be able to move forward by addressing the problems you face.  
  2. Invent yourself:  We all need to re-brand our identities throughout our lives. There is nothing wrong with inventing who you want to be and changing yourself for the better.  
  3. Love and be loved: The more you love others and let yourself be loved, the more open to change and to heal you become. I know it sounds trite, but it’s true. When we stop dwelling on the negative things and people in our lives, we begin to heal and flourish.  
  4. Forget the past:  If you don’t forget the past, the future will never be in your grasp because you will always be living backward. Stop dwelling on what you can not change and start focusing on what you can change. Creating a better destiny for yourself is healthier than wishing your life away for something or someone that didn’t deserve you in the first place.  

I can’t pretend to know what any of you are dealing with in your lives. I can give you an idea from my life what I’ve dealt with over the last few years. I hope none of you ever face losing a child. It destroys a part of you that you never get back. There are so many questions that go through your mind, and the answers never come. That’s one reason why it is essential to help others going through journeys similar to yours. Many people deal with the loss of a child through miscarriages and stillbirths. Many folks also deal with the loss of relationships and jobs. We grieve when loved ones pass on to the next life and try to put the pieces back in our lives so that we can keep going.  

Remember that life may not be easy, but it is a journey, and throughout our travels, we will get scars along the way. I hope you choose to let those scars be your teachers and make you stronger. Strength lies within us but is not always tapped into until it’s needed. There’s no need to hide our scars from the world. Those scars help make us the people that we are today, and our identities are constantly evolving. On this Monday, do yourselves a favor. Look around you and see if you notice others who are hiding their scars. You might make a kind gesture to let them know they aren’t alone. Maybe strike up a conversation to get to know them a little better. Whatever you do, never be ashamed of the invisible scars you carry or the physical ones because they are our suit of armor. Those scars prepare us for life’s twists and turns. Who knows? You might even get to throw a few curveballs yourself and help others begin to heal from the scars they carry. Have a great day, everyone.  

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