When I think of battle scars, visions of burly viking men wielding huge swords come to mind. I imagine their strength, both physical and mental, enabling them to withstand intense battle and come out alive, even victorious. They wore the scars like badges of honor, evidence of their courage and bravery. OK, it may be that I’ve read too many romance novels featuring vikings, but I believe that women can learn from these brave warriors: Embrace your battle scars with pride.
Many of the women I work with feel as if they are professionally and personally damaged. These women carry the weight of guilt and shame, and the humiliation of being hurt by another, or worse, by themselves. They feel damaged beyond repair, and unable to function “normally,” or take care of themselves. Hearing these sentiments over and over saddens and angers me, because I know societal circumstance, not internal deficits, are the true cause of these feelings. Women are made to feel damaged and broken, instead of brave and resilient, and this creates a sense of helplessness.
Viking men, returning from battle severely beaten and scarred, were not regarded as weak. Instead they were praised as heroes.
The Viking men were regarded as stronger and more capable for the injuries they bore. As women, our scars may not be as literal or physical, but they are as much a part of us as a mark on our skin. They build our character and shape our individuality. To be a survivor is to be strong, and to endure is to gain knowledge and insight. We need to start thinking of past hurts as badges of honor, not scarlet letters. We are brave and we have the scars to prove it.