Scars Tell a Story

They are best displayed, not hidden.

“My scars tell a story. They are a reminder of times when life tried to break me, but failed. They are markings of where the structure of my character was welded.” — Steve Maraboli

Each scar is bound to memory... a compelling tale to tell.

Scars represent hard-won lessons, experience and growth. Each one is a testament to resilience and survival.

Too often scars are seen as painful mistakes best forgotten. We hide them, hoping no one will see our imperfections... the rough spots marking us as damaged goods.

Our tendency to hide scars is terribly shortsighted.

Consider kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquered gold, silver or platinum. Instead of disguising breakage, kintsugi proudly displays the repair as part of an object's history. The object retains its original shape but emerges as something new.

There is an interesting parallel to the Japanese world view of wabi-sabi. In the words of Richard Powell, “wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect.”

Kintsugi and wab-sabi for people are much the same. The scars we bear honor our history. They are recognition of impermanence and imperfection, both sources of true beauty.

Combined, scars map out the moments where life challenged us and even broke us. We emerged with the same form but as something new... someone new. The marks we now bear add character.

According to China Miéville, “scars are memory. Like sutures. They stitch the past to [us].” Our past experiences shape us. To be ashamed of our past and the scars we bear is to be ashamed of who we are today.

Cast away shame. Display scars with pride. For as Shakespeare once wrote, “he jests at scars that never felt a wound.”


Consider each scar you’ve collected over the years. Recount the story associated with each one. How did the experience change you? How did it shape who you are today?

If you have no scars, simply continue living life. If you are fortunate enough to acquire one, cherish it and the story it represents.