Scars – we all have them whether emotional or physical and a lot of people are ashamed of them whichever type they are. And yet sharing them and the reasons for them can be one of the most healing things to do if the person you share with is accepting of them.
Sadly too many people are put off by scars, and are unable to see past them to the Beauty someone has inside.
Some years ago while I still worked as a nurse in the NHS I used to do massage with adolescents, (always with a chaperone.) In fact the unit sadly no longer running paid a third of my massage and aromatherapy training costs. One particular young woman was surprised that the old scars on her arms which I was massaging didn’t revolt me as they did herself. My answer was that those scars and the cutting she did to produce them were what enabled her to survive in a situation where she didn’t see any other choices. They formed a record of her fight for survival.
We talked more during this and subsequent sessions about how realistically some other people might be put off by her scars and that she may decide at some point to have surgery to make them less obvious. She did indeed do this before leaving the therapeutic community and massage using lavender essential oil was used to help the new wounds heal.
I have also worked with scarring from accidental injuries, again seeing the scarring as a sign of survival. Again there are emotional issues involved but they are (at least in the two cases I have worked with) very different from the ones I worked with as a nurse and I continue to work with some people with that type of history now, though they are always a self selecting group now rather than possibly to start with only in my care because their parents or social worker etc deemed it necessary for them to come to the therapeutic community.
Emotional damage even when not accompanied by physical scars still need healing. Again the scars are a sign of healing but just as untreated a bone can set in the wrong position, without the right kind of loving support the scarring can leave damage, be that difficulty in trusting others, poor or unrealistic body image or many other problems.
If someone comes to me with any kind of scarring, the most important thing is for me to not be judge but rather accept the person where they are. This doesn’t mean denying the reality of what someone looks like or how they perceive themselves but in accepting where they are at and not being repulsed by the scars perhaps offering an alternate reality that they can consider.