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Got any scars? Most people have a few, and each one tells an interesting story. Over time, our bodies become road maps, with lines joining up marks and blemishes, our various destinations.

One of my guilty pleasures is a TV show called Criminal Minds. At the end of each episode one of the characters usually sums up the story with a moral message. On this occasion, it was so good I jumped off the sofa to write it down. 

“Scars only show us where we’ve been. They do not dictate where we are going.”

Have you come across the person who shows you their physical scars, and tells you the story of each in great detail, every horror graphically explained? What do you notice about them? The first thing I notice is how many they’ve got! And in telling their story, with some, it’s a bit like the Fisherman’s Story – the fish gets larger at each re-telling. With others it’s a quieter explanation, but still recalled quite vividly. It always surprises me how well rehearsed each story sounds. And how much pleasure on sharing it gives the person who is scarred. 

And those are the scars we can see. 

Each time we re-live or rehearse the trauma associated with a physical or mental scar, we embed the experience more deeply into our unconscious. After a while, it becomes a habit. If we don’t break the habit, it may become part of our identity. And some of the scar experiences may generate very unhelpful behaviours which we take forward in our lives.

Listen to the stories you tell yourself. Are you rehearsing and retelling any scar stories? Imagine choosing to change the story to a healing story. What impact does that have? Feels better, doesn’t it.