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Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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Risk Giving Up Scars to Recieve Love

by:  John D Willis, PhD, President
       Leadership Ethics Online

The body heals and scars. Without scars there would be no healing. Scars are signs of injury past, of healing, of survival. Every time we see our scars, memories come back. Some are violent memories, faded but triggered, still with their own power.Emotional scars are different from physical scars. Emotional scars can keep us from receiving love, or from giving love. We have an Emotional Scarring Problem. We have a choice for the solution.


In the movie, "Frankie and Johnny" (1991), we see Emotional Scarring; Emotional Blocking; and also, an Emotional Breakthrough, near the end of this film.

Blocking. All the way through the movie, Michelle Pfeiffer's character is Blocking every funny, gentle, tender, little, sweet thing done by Al Pacino's joyful character. We like him. We like her. But we wonder about why she treats him as she does--with mixed feelings of curious pleasure, yet rejection.

Scarring. Near the end of the movie, Michelle finally tells why she fears their relationship. She pulls back her hair in the back. Al sees the scar hidden in her scalp. She says the man who did that in the past made her lose her fetus, and that she never could have children. Al foolishly kisses the scar and says, as if to a child, "It's gone." Heartlessly well-intended. He says, "Then I will be with you the next time the Bad comes."

Risk. Michelle opens up enough to expose her fears about herself, her life, her career, her future, and all her decisions. She exposes her fearful fragmentation. She fears another man will make it all worse.

Hardening. Michelle then goes cold. She says to Al, "I can't do it (meaning accept his offer of lifelong long). I cannot do this again," She gets up and leaves him in the room, shutting the bathroom door. He is numb and dumbfounded.




Physical scars are good. They are barriers against infection. Emotional scars develop coping mechanisms that harm our relationships.

Defensive Shields. Sometimes our scars are defensive shields. We will not let love past the scars. The emotional scars become almost like Invisible Force-Fields, warding off emotional contact coming in to our hearts.

Offensive Shields. Sometimes, our scars are offensive Mind-Sweepers. We are alert, looking for every sign of betrayal, failure in others, weakness. Our scars become our Navigators, our LifeMap Readers, our Compasses--steering us clear from love, from putting ourselves within "exposure range" of deep meaningful, loving and caring contact.


We have been, or are like Michelle. We know "fear of being hurt again." Hurt can have come from our parents, our children, our friends, our grandchildren, even coworkers and strangers. A stranger can "pile it on."

We know avoidance, steering clear. We know activating our "radar" to be on the alert against potential people who may hurt us. It can become pathological. We can be locked up in our emotional scars so we avoid love; we fear love, because "love" has harmed us before.



Damn these emotional scars.

Reflection. Al had done so many things to get her attention. When she was alone in the bathroom, she was in some turmoil. She wanted to KEEP her resolve. Yet she was FEELING Al's love calling to her.

Risk. Michelle made a risk-decision. It was not "romantic." It was a gentle, unstated, unapologetic, indirect Reversal. Michelle invited Al to stay. This WAS risk. She was overriding her Emotional Scarring, for the Risk of Love.

Experimental. While the ending is good, it still is open-ended. Michelle and Al brush their teeth in her apartment window, preparing for tenderness. This is good. We are glad to see her open up. And Al is being gentle.

Yet we KNOW, as adults, that though the movie is ending, Al has a HUGE responsibility. He must keep on being gentle. He must keep on being persistent with his love. He must accept Michelle as she is, "making progress and loving him as she can." This is truly a lifelong journey--and IT will have some scars!!!

These few scenes make me choke up emotionally. For I see them as Great Symbols of our common human problem. We all have scars. We all have fears. We all need to be loved. We all need an Al, who loves us. We all need to be like Michelle, FINALLY TAKING CHARGE AGAIN OF OUR LIVES.


They always will be there. But they do not have to control you. You control them. Be emotionally healthy. 

Thank God, though we humans experience emotional scarring, and emotional conditioning, we are NOT "just animals." There is this factual, wonderful, mysterious thing called Transcendence.

Some of the greatest, most famous people in all the world's history had hellish, awful traumatic experiences--things I will not repeat here.

Yet they forced their wills to Choose The Good. Most "damned the scars" to their rightful place. Yes, they always would be memories. BUT, they would NOT control their lives.


Today is all you have. Grab on to every good. Help every good deed. Turn from the bad. Avoid bad company. Keep your focus on Love and Life.




Decision + Action + Repeated Action = Progress.  

Emotional scars are strong. But when you realize their destructive power, you MUST act to counteract it. Be like Michelle. Choose the Good. Accept the Good you have, or the Good you can join (as in a group), or the Good you can MAKE!

I've been all over the map above. But I wrote this, for you, however and wherever it applies! This is just a small deed of love, for my fellow emotionally-scarred human family members. Let's hold hands, and lower the risk of failure!