One of the biggest obstacles I had in my journey of life is being with others when they look at my scars. In the beginning, I hated my scars. I thought I was ugly, broken and unlovable. I didn't want people to see my scars. I had so much noise in my head about my scars and the shame around surviving the fatal car crash that took my friends. At times it was almost too much.
In the early days of being a burn survivor, I ran through life not wanting to deal with life or allow others to see me. I ran away from everything. I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror, all I saw was this ugly broken face, and I was a guy that loved the mirror and fixing my hair, so I looked awesome.
Over time and learning to accept the scars, I learned to love my imperfections. It wasn't overnight, but I have learned to love my scars and how I look with time. They are a part of me, and they are not going anywhere. My dad taught me the most significant lesson; he taught me how to accept my scars. Through his love and conversations, I was able to accept my scars. I learned that they aren't going anywhere, and the doctors will never be able to make me look like I did before. When I gave up resisting my scars, my whole world changed. I could actually look people in the eye without any shame or noise in my head. I have done exercises where I kissed my scars or reflection in the mirror as an act of true acceptance. That exercise shifted my whole world. Powerful!
One of the biggest compliments I get from others is that I look people in the eyes when I talk to them. I don't look down or away. I don't talk to their feet, chest or forehead. Instead, I look them in the eyes and allow them to see me. When I do this, I get to truly experience connection at the human level.
If you are struggling with the noise in your head about how you look, I invite you to do three things.