Sybil Shaibu column: Do you have scars?


There’s no such thing as a perfect life due to the uncertain nature of life. The sheer unpredictability of life makes us all candidates of a plethora of experiences. And you would agree with me that some of the experiences are pleasant while some other’s aren’t.

Interestingly the experiences we encounter in our lives help shape us into the people we become eventually. Many a time these unpleasant experiences end up traumatizing us. Ironically, all these experiences contribute to transforming our lives. Not everyone who goes through a traumatizing experience is able to survive; and those who survive are left hurt, in a lot of pain and in some instances scarred for life.

Everyone has scars, trust me when I say that. That’s because in one way or the other each one has had their own share of traumatizing events that have left a scar.

Scars can be physical, mental and emotional/psychological. If an unpleasant physical or emotional experience scars you, it has a permanent effect on your mind. And interestingly while the body works on its own to heal physical damage like cuts or bruises, emotional wounds are much more complex to heal.

Many people tend to think that the reason why emotional scars are difficult to heal is because they’re not seen. Others also think such scars don’t even exist because people hardly talk about it. But people fail to realize that it’s so because talking about such traumatic events hurts so much. And for some people talking about it makes them relive the events that caused them so much pain. As a result they’d rather not talk about it as a means of coping with that sad event of their lives.

Healing emotional scars requires consciousness and intentionality and that’s not easy. And not everyone can arrive at this point by themselves, talk less managing it alone.  Unlike physical damage, we can pretend that emotional experiences never happened. However, like physical damage, regardless if we acknowledge the wound, we are still left with scars. Unseen scars are the most damaging due to its unseen nature.

Emotional scars manifest in behaviors, and that’s very detrimental because it affects every area of one’s life. And for this reason, many try to hide their scars. Personally I choose to see my scars as evidence of what I have survived.

The first step towards overcoming scars is getting to the place of acceptance. And this can be achieved when you get to the point of understanding that, everyone has scars, and old wounds that just won’t go away. So you’re not alone.

Instead of condemning yourself because you feel you carry “baggage”, tell yourself everyone too has their own baggage they carry. We all have “baggage” and old wounds, so you are not alone.

Once you acknowledge this, you give yourself the opportunity to forgive yourself and the chance to heal. Healing doesn’t mean the pain would go away at once and there will be no memories anymore. No! Healing means you learn to live with the scar but not allow it dictate your life. You are not that scar, neither are you to blame for the events which resulted in that scar.

Many people allow their scars to dictate their life hence robbing them of their livelihood. You survived that trauma and you can survive that scar. Be proud of yourself for being a survivor; wear your scars with pride. Be proud to share your survival story with others to encourage them. Instead of hiding and wishing it goes away, learn to talk it out. Talking to others about our challenges is therapeutic, in the sense that, as you talk about it you affirm your triumph over the issue.

Know that you are strong for making it this far, only the brave are able to conquer their fears. Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.

In japan, broken objects are often repaired with gold. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the objects history, which adds to its beauty. Consider this when you feel broken.

If you have scars, how do you see them?

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