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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Defining ourselves

What happened to you?

A few days ago someone asked me a question that I have not been asked in a very long time. “How’d you get that scar?”
Most of you will never meet me, but that’s not really germane to our conversation today. I have a scar on the right side of my face. It’s about 2 inches long and right next to my eye. It’s pretty ugly, probably stitched together by an underpaid, disgruntled public servant, but that’s not important either.
I have been told that I acquired it at about 6 months of age, when I fell onto a broken milk bottle. I can imagine, although not remember, the pandemonium and chaos that must have surrounded that event.
As a young child, I was teased about it, because there was no way to hide it, and children can be cruel. As a working adult, there were many times that I had considered spending my hard-earned cash to have it “repaired” by a plastic surgeon. And each time, I have decided against it.

Defining Moments
No one has asked me about my scar in a long time, so it made me pause and think. My first thought was that I am no longer that shy, scared little girl about to burst into tears because I was the butt of someone else’s jabs. My second thought was that, I don’t even think about the scar any more. It doesn’t define me any more, if it ever did. It has no real bearing on who I am or what I am capable of doing.
We have all been beaten up and beaten down at some point in our lives. We have all come through victories, as well as overcome defeats. We all have scars, and we will probably get more. Some are visible, and some are not.
The scars that we carry, the ones that people can see easily, and the ones they’d never guess at, can never be the sum total of who we are; unless we want them to define us. Our lives and our pictures of ourselves should never be limited to or summed up by just the battles that we have lost, and the scars that we limped away with. We must continually remind ourselves that we have won some victories in the past, and that we are still in the running.
Our scars and our limps may keep us from being the most physically attractive person in the room, but the very essence of what makes us who we are is in how we deal with the scars that life leaves behind. 

Something Within

How we look, our outward appearance, is not where we derive our true beauty or formidable strength from. Those things live deep within us, and it is our duty to cultivate them, nurture them and use them. Realizing this is the way forward.
Life is brief. If you don’t define yourself, others will.

And you have to believe in yourself even when no one else does.
Life Application
So, the next time you find yourself facing an “insurmountable” situation, look inside and ask yourself:
  • How important is this hurt, slight, scar, setback in the scheme of where my dreams are taking me?
  • Is this a deal-breaker for all the things I am passionately pursuing?
  • What can I learn from this situation? About myself? About the other person? There is always something to learn. The lesson may not always be pleasant or pretty, but it’s in there. Learn it!
  • What is the very next do-able step to move forward? Do it!

What other questions do you think we should ask ourselves to get back on track?

photocredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/4040360452/sizes/z/in/photostream/

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