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What the Scars I Was Born With Taught Me About How to Live

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Words have power. They have the ability to lift us up or tear us down. As a child, the reason the hurtful words caused me so much pain is because I believed them. When others teased me for having scars (caused by amniotic band syndrome), I silently nodded and took those words into my heart. Even after the bullying had stopped, I still replayed the situation over and over in my mind. Each time I felt the pain of being different, and the desire to fit in and just be normal.

By the time I had reached adulthood, I wanted to make a difference in the world. I was excited about my future and decided to be an author. Writing eased the pain in my soul. It gave me hope. I desired to use my writing to help other people.

Not everyone was supportive of my writing. The girls in my office, including my boss, put me down along with hopes and dreams. As a little girl, I was teased for my scars. The weight of those insecurities nearly crushed me. But the hardest part was when I opened my soul and allowed others to glimpse the woman underneath the scars, and they rejected her as well.

This time the bullying was not about my scars, but about the hope in my heart.  The weight of their words broke my heart and made me want to give up. It made me feel like the little girl who cried in the bathroom stall all over again. She felt insecure, rejected, ugly and unworthy of love.

I soon realized I would not be everyone’s cup of tea. I could either allow the weight of other people’s opinions to destroy me, or I could decide to be myself — even if no one else understood me.

I used their criticism as fuel to propel me forward. I worked on myself and decided to become the best version of myself. For so long, I thought I needed to raise awareness for my condition and change how the world saw someone with scars. As it turns out, I only needed to change my perspective.

Instead of viewing myself as someone who was unworthy and needed an explanation in order to fit in, I was able to see myself as someone who survived. The amniotic bands attacked me. I could have died. But I lived. I am alive to love and be loved.

I am an overcomer. No one gets to tell me if I am good enough or not. I believe God created me, therefore I am good enough.

My scars have taught me so much about how to live. They have taught me about kindness and compassion and how to treat other people. Living with scars has taught me how to be strong and how to help other people. Now I see them with eyes of compassion and love. Without them, I wouldn’t have endured the pain that would enable me to become my best self.

Now I use all of the pain and obstacles to create stories of hope. I share my story in books and blogs, speak at schools and from the stage. If I could talk to you and tell you something that has changed my life, this is what I would say.

Words only have the power that we give them. At any point in time, we can change our story and choose words to empower us. No one else gets to decide our worth. I believe God gives us each the tools we need to accomplish our mission. So often we look at our hardships as something bad, but it could be the very thing you need to accomplish your goals and to reach your full potential. Someone needs you and your unique gift. No one else can live your life and tell your story. Be brave and live unapologetically as the best version of yourself.

Learn more on Candida Sullivan’s website.

Originally published: October 17, 2019
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