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Why I Choose Kindness When People React Poorly to My Scars

Living with scars can be challenging. The stares and whispers can be uncomfortable. For years, I allowed it to control me. When I noticed someone staring at me, I closed up and hid my scars. It made me feel so bad about myself that I tried to avoid interactions with others.

The day I realized that I could have died from the attack of the bands (I have amniotic band syndrome) on my body, but I was blessed to live, changed my life. Since that day, I have not hidden my scars. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I survived. Now, if I notice someone staring at me, I smile. Even if they are rude to me, I try my best to show them kindness. Others are responsible for how they treat me, and I am responsible for how I treat them.

Yes, my hands, feet, and arm are scarred. I do things differently. Sometimes those modifications cause other challenges in my body. Being born with a condition that challenges me physically every day also has advantages. From birth, I have learned how to adapt and figure things out. I don’t allow challenges to stop me. I continuously fail forward — always trying something else until I figure it out. This type of mindset has taught me how to overcome my circumstances and follow my dreams. I know there is always more than one way to do anything.

Instead of feeling ashamed of my condition, I feel as if I was given a second chance at life. I could have died at birth, but I was spared. Therefore, I live an inspired life. I’m grateful for every day and every accomplishment. It is a gift.

The cruel treatments of others introduce me to the kind of person I don’t want to be. It sparks compassion in me and reminds me to love more and judge less. Every time someone speaks a harsh word to me, it reminds me that our words have power. Therefore, I want to use my words to build others up, instead of tearing them down. When I notice someone who has scars, I know they survived something that could have destroyed them. I hope the smile that comes from deep inside my heart expresses my admiration for what they have endured and overcome.

Lastly, living with scars and physical challenges have taught me about the power of gratitude. When I learned to be grateful for what I have, instead of being upset about what I don’t have, what I have, suddenly becomes enough. I’ve had people ask me how I could be grateful for the one finger and thumb on my left. If I can’t be grateful for what I have, then I wouldn’t be grateful for more. I’m so grateful for all the things I’m able to do with my left hand. I don’t focus on the disability in my hand, but rather the ability of it.

If given the choice, I would not trade my scars. They have taught me about strength, perseverance, faith, kindness, compassion, unconditional love, and how to be someone who can overcome anything.

author reading a book entitled "Zippy" to others

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