How I Learned That Scars Inspire and Why They Boost Hope

If you let doubt into your mind, it can take over the rest.

The More You Experience and ‘Survive’ The Less Fearful You Become

Back in 2003, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. Thankfully, it was the ‘best’ skin cancer there is — basal cell carcinoma. After my dermatologist had explained to me what the diagnosis meant and the procedure that he would do to cure it, I had a moment of relief and then panic.

My face was about to become scarred. Yes, I was 29, and that is where my thoughts immediately went to after the relief that my years of no sunscreen on the Gulf Coast were not going to toast me yet.

Fast forward more than ten years and at another dermatologist in Florida. As she handed me a mirror, she asked me if I wanted her to laser it to make it smoother. In those years, I had grown not to notice it until she pointed it out.

“I’ll keep it. It’s a mark of something. It’s a mark of life experience.”

She looked at me like I was weird and when I got back to the car I ended up staring at it in the rearview mirror. Here is what I’ve learned about my scars.

Scars Transform Stronger Than The Wounded Skin

More than ten years before, there was a gaping wound where that scar would eventually be. What grew from that wound was the toughest skin on my face. What was once damaged was transformed into something much stronger and tougher than what was there before.

Since then, I’ve come to love my scar. Whereas I forgot about it before, I know to give my scar a wink-salute while I am shaving. It reminds me that regardless of what ‘wounds’ me in a day, a career, a relationship or life, that wound will be replaced by something stronger and tougher.

However, there’s a catch.

I Had To Nurture the Wound to Build The Scar

More than ten years ago, I had to change the bandages on my face, put various ointments on the wound, wear a hat even when it was covered and rest for a bit.

I had to help the scar along. Had I not nurtured the wound, it would have become larger, infected and the scar may never have gotten the opportunity to fill its place.

Admire the Scar Don’t Forget Your Responsibility to It

Albeit so cliche, but every hurt, wound, obstacle and devastation you’ve encountered has in some way — at times profound at times barely noticeable and never in the moment imaginable — left you stronger. Scars teach us that.

You did something to nurture the wound. It didn’t just heal by itself. Never forget that.

You must nurture the wound to heal and build something stronger to fill its place.

It will happen if you remember your responsibility to — and role in growing — the scar.

Now grab a mirror and start loving on your scars!

Originally published at on January 29, 2016.