What Scars and Invulnerability Have In Common and How Self-Discovery and Vulnerability Encourage the Healing Process
I know a little something about scars. I have studied my own physical and emotional evidence of wounds and the scars the injuries have left behind. I am grateful for the healing that has taken place in my spirit through my own self-discovery and vulnerability work. I observe the linkages between invulnerability and scars and use the lessons learned to elevate my own healing and increase my capacity to be vulnerable. I write and share my lessons in the hope that I am helping others to be freer in spirit as we learn, together, how to become more vulnerable.
Scars form as protection in the areas where the body has been wounded. They are considered a natural occurrence in the body's wound healing process, yet most people do not enjoy the look of physical scarring on their body. The robust business of scar removal and scar remedies is evidence of this fact.
Invulnerability is an emotional scar that forms after emotional injury just as physical scars form after physical injury. - Jada Berteaux
And so it is with becoming invulnerable. Avoiding vulnerability is protection in the areas where we have been emotionally injured. Invulnerability is an emotional scar that forms after emotional injury just as physical scars forms after physical injury. The issue with avoiding vulnerability after emotional injury is that this protection can only result in healing if we allow vulnerability back into our lives. In other words, once an emotional injury occurs, being aware of our willingness, or unwillingness, to be vulnerable again can be a wonderful tool for the healing of the emotional injury. Sadly, what happens, instead, is that the state of invulnerability persists, and the fear of being emotionally injured again blocks the healing process. The longer we allow this emotional scar tissue to go untreated, the more hardened, stiff and painful it becomes.
As I become more in tune with my emotional scarring, my work around vulnerability and self-discovery become even more important in my life. The other day, I was thinking about my life and I had a sudden urge to examine the physical scars I had acquired over the years. There is the scar on my arm from a decades-old Fourth of July celebration, the surgical scar from an achilles tear resulting from a basketball game, and the scar on my shin from slipping while walking on some logs years ago.
None of these scars had healed particularly well and over the years, I just chalked it up to an adventurous lifestyle. I saw my scars and I didn't like them, but I didn't put much effort into treating them either. I ignored them and hoped others didn't notice their unattractive appearance. Of course people did notice my scars. They saw my physical and my emotional scars, no matter how much I ignored their existence.
While I could chalk up my physical scars to adventurous living, my emotional scars and invulnerability were more difficult to convincingly repackage. I thought I was ignoring them by being productive and successful. All the while they were on full display.
As I reflected on these scars, I soon found myself massaging the surgical scar from my achilles repair surgery. This scar had really stiffened up and was often painful if I overstretched the area or wore shoes that rubbed too tightly against it. It was in that moment that I realized how important it is to pay attention to scars and to treat them to avoid the condition I now experienced with my heel scar. I also understood that my work with my own vulnerability and self-discovery had gone a long way in the softening of my emotional scars. They are not completely healed, but they are no longer painful, hardened or stiff. Vulnerability and self-discovery have worked as a healing balm and massage therapy for my emotional scars.
Vulnerability and self-discovery have worked as a healing balm and massage therapy for my emotional scars. - Jada Berteaux
As I have journeyed into vulnerability, I don't want hardened, stiff and calloused areas to form in my spirit. That is not to say that I will be invulnerable to hurt. I know that hurt in life is inevitable, and I cannot be invulnerable to it. What I can do is tap into the inner strength that comes from lovingly tending to my hurt instead of the strength from hardened and calloused emotional scar tissue. I encourage you to care for your hurt and not allow scars to form over and over again.
I once believed that bearing good fruit in life meant putting my energy into something or someone outside of myself. I understand now that it is orderly to bear fruit within myself first. It is this internal work that bears the sweetest, most fragrant fruit plentiful enough to share with others.
3 Ways to Heal Emotional Scars Through Vulnerability and Self-Discovery
- Implement Boundaries
What are the clear boundaries you have in your life?Boundaries are not the same as being invulnerable. I have made the decision to implement very clear boundaries in my life that allow me to explore and do the healing work I deserve. I no longer care if others resent the fact that I have instituted these healthy boundaries for myself. Recognizing that it is healthy to have these boundaries so that I can bear internal fruit has been the most challenging and most rewarding awakening.
- Pay Attention to Forming Scars
Don't ignore forming scars in your spirit. Tend to them lovingly with the awareness that if you allow them to go untreated they will harden and stiffen rendering you invulnerable in these wounded areas and blocking your healing process.
- Practice Life Patterning
I first wrote about life patterning in my book Dear Vulnerable. I discovered that looking at the areas of my life that were going well and identifying patterns, attitudes and beliefs that I brought to those areas helped me to see where I had gotten off track in areas of my life that were not going well. Once I understood my patterns, attitudes and beliefs, I could practice bringing these energy producing patterns to areas in my life that were energy draining. This exercise helped me tremendously early in my vulnerability journey, and I believe it is an excellent activity in all stages of self-discovery.
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