Scars make us who we are. They speak to us, and say you’re strong, they are a testament to bravery, and not a sign of weakness. Scars are signs of survival and endurance leaving us stronger and more resilient, more equipped to face the present. They tell a story. Sometimes a story that is hard to hear. The scars on my chest, the beating of my heart fosters my appreciation for life- these are the few things that matter. It is beautiful to live, really live, and to have the marks to prove it. A testament to inner strength. Living and being a part of this world is beautiful, smile-worthy, despite any tears. Instead of allowing life experiences to bring us down or stunt our growth, we should instead try to make this what propels us into beautiful, strong, compassionate individuals.
Most of us know that physicians are great at healing physical pain, but how do we take care of the emotional pain that is sometimes slow to heal? It is heartbreaking to witness the emotional pain children endure after heart surgeries. I am a med-nurse for children at heart camp on the beautiful island of Catalina. Some kids have had heart transplants, a few have pacemakers and defibrillators, while others have congenital heart conditions. Being on an island, there were lots of water activities for the kids to enjoy, but for some it was something they would shy away from. Taking off their shirts and revealing their scars was horrifying to some children. This struck a chord with me. I realized how difficult it was for kids to accept their scars. They wanted to cover their chests because it hurt to look at the scars, be reminded of painful memories, and they were afraid people would notice something was different about them; they were self-conscious, and fearful. I showed the kids that I had scars too. “You’re just like me.” Remarkably, these courageous little ones started to understand that they were not alone, and that little imperfections are okay. When bad things happen, we don’t instinctively feel happy, and/or beautiful, but we don’t need to despair. Joy and beauty are everywhere, in everything, in every one of us – no matter how we look, or hurt temporarily. When people ask about scars, tell them your story. Let them know that the scars are a divine sign that you were granted another chance at life. Out of suffering emerge the strongest souls. Never walk away without a smile on your face, a zing in your step, and a high dose of faith in your heart. You are a survivor. Be proud of your scars for they are the emblems of a truly phenomenal life — Love yourself!