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How can I stop feeling ashamed of my scars left from my self-harm after recovery?

27 Answers
Last Updated: 06/28/2021 at 8:55pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Andrea Tuck, LCPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I tackle and discuss a multitude of social and emotional health issues. I have a belief that through empowerment and non-judgmental support clients' can thrive.

Top Rated Answers
February 1st, 2016 11:47pm
People are going to see them, sadly some people might judge. The people that matter won't judge and won't mind, Those scars make up your history and map out your struggles, be confident about them, they're yours! So use them, look at how faded they're getting and recognise just how far you've come!
September 8th, 2015 3:10am
I think of scars as "battle wounds". They aren't signs of one's weakness, but rather proof that one has battled demons and continues to fight. They are proof of strength and perseverance.
December 1st, 2015 5:04am
Using non-toxic markers to draw things that make you happy on your scars could help you feel better about looking at them.
June 21st, 2016 1:12pm
Everyone who's been struggeling with self harm knows how hard it is to quit, that's definitely something to be proud of! Don't look at your scars as a sign of weakness and failure, but acknowledge them as remains of a tough time you've overcome.
April 12th, 2015 3:19pm
Embrace them, they are a part of you, proof that you have gone through hard times and made it through.
October 27th, 2015 3:47am
Just remember that they are scars: distant memories and proof of all the tough stuff you've gone through to make it out a better, happier, and more complete person.
June 21st, 2016 10:30pm
I've been in a place where I've felt embarrassed of what I've done to my body in times of frustration and extreme sadness. I've learned to cope with these scars, to see them as something that has helped me grow into a better, stronger person. This has allowed me to embrace the good, and bad things about my body and strive to be happier.
September 13th, 2016 6:37pm
Remeber that they are scars and not fresh cuts. It means you have gone through hard times but now you dont hurt yourself anymore.... you are strong... no one has the right to judge you as week because of the horror you have been though keep this in mind
September 26th, 2016 9:03pm
Start learning how to see them as your battle scars. A war you once struggled with but now can proudly say you won! I struggled with my scars after recovery as well. But i started seeing them as part of me. Though a dark part of me, they reminded me of where i once was and were i am now. They are a testament to my story!
June 12th, 2017 8:17pm
It's hard when you have noticeable scars. Be proud that you made it through whatever caused you to make them in the first place. Be proud that you were strong enough to keep moving forward.
February 11th, 2015 1:25pm
Self-harming is a difficult experience to go through. Often, the scars left behind can be a reminder of troubling times. However, self-harm can be the result of a mental illness. There is no shame in having a mental illness. Learning and understanding more about your mental illness can help to remove the stigma and shame placed on the act of self-harming.
April 2nd, 2015 7:33am
Coming from someone who has also recovered from self-harming patterns, one thing that has made me not ashamed of my scars is that they are part of a journey and proof that the dark part that was self-harm is over. They are proof of overcoming something, and proof that you can continue to overcome obstacles in your life. Thinking of yourself like a story, and that the chapter of self harm is one you closed...You can look at is as a triumph as opposed to a source of shame. The scars are evidence of your recovery, because they are no longer wounds.
May 10th, 2015 2:55am
Everyone has their own scars, even if its in their body's or in their heart, some people deal with it in different ways, its nothing to be ashamed, your doing recovery, that's huge, your gonna be even a better person that you already are.
June 29th, 2015 3:28pm
Know that those scars represent a part of your life that is gone now. The scars are there to remind you that you fought a battle and you won.
November 30th, 2015 7:12pm
think that they make part of you.they are something it represents you,your past,your life.accept them
March 22nd, 2016 6:26am
It's a process of self-acceptance, it will take time but after spending some time relaxing and thinking about the topic I believe you can finally stop feeling ashamed.
April 4th, 2017 12:59am
This might sound odd, but be PROUD of your scars after you recover. Seeing them after you recovered shows where you were ONCE at and how you once coped with your life in a way. It shows how far you have come to embrace a new way of living but also shows that you endured a tough time.
May 22nd, 2017 5:35am
Try gradually getting more used to looking at them and having them be visible in public if possible. If people ask about them, either come up with funny answers to throw them off or tell the truth as simply and clearly as possible. Talking about your issues also helps, but you don't have to feel pressure to recover quickly - stay strong, and keep going at your own pace.
January 17th, 2015 3:45pm
You need to show self compassion. There is a technique which you might like to try - Wrap arms around chest and focus on your feelings without passing any judgment - every time you feel guilty about those scars.
February 9th, 2016 11:19pm
In order to stop feeling ashamed of your scars you need to learn to embrace them. Wear a bathing suit and go swimming!
June 14th, 2016 3:44pm
Think about it this way : you being able to recover is a massive step compared to when you were still self-harming. Being able to go that far is an achievement already. The scars? They're proof that you've gone that far better, that you've recovered.
June 21st, 2016 8:13pm
This is a tough question. I used to self-harm, and for a long time I struggled with the shame of it. But one day I heard a song that discussed something similar, and it gave me a different view. My scars show where I came from, not who I am now. They remind me of where I came from and how much I've grown. People may ask now if I was a cutter, but I don't have any problem now sharing that I used to struggle with things and I was a cutter, but I've been free from that for many many year now. Maybe find something that you can change the picture that your scars mean to you from something shameful to something that is worth knowing you've come so far.
January 2nd, 2017 8:16am
I'm not sure that the shame will ever go away, not completely, if you keep focusing on them. Try to forget that they're there. Build an existence completely removed from them and where you were when they were made. Have experiences that doesn't involve them at all, grow as a person. And then the next time you see someone staring, you'll just realise that, yes they're staring. But you may find that you don't really care.
November 28th, 2017 12:38am
Realize that those scars don't just demonstrate how you self harmed and suffered they also show how much pain you managed to get through and get over. It's important we realize that we don't have to cover our scars with tattoos or anything. Cause our scars tell our stories of suffering surviving and thriving.
September 25th, 2018 9:07pm
There's always an element of shame when someone asks. I guess it just takes time. I draw on them and make them look as pretty as possible. I once had a child count each one of mine, but i was also once refused a pencil back with a sharpener in it because of my scars. I just try to remember that it is in the past and i'm stronger now. You are stronger too for getting through your personal hell and only came out with scars instead of losing your life. Try to surround yourself with people who are understanding and willing to talk about it, but the first step to that is you also being willing to talk about it.
November 27th, 2018 8:35am
You just have to not think of them too much, and maybe even start to love them, step by step. They are a reminder of a bad place where you once were, but you are so much stronger now and you have gone through that place to be happier. You should never feel ashamed of the scars on your body, whether they are from self harming or from weight gain. You are beautiful just the way you are, nobody can tell you otherwise. You are now a strong person, and the scars are battle scars from the bad place you were once in, to remind you that you survived
June 28th, 2021 8:55pm
Scars are remnants of experiences that have impacted our life. Like wrinkles, smile-lines, crows feet...they are reminders that we are not only alive, but we have survived our worst days and have made it this far. Society tells us that they are ugly, but there is often no beauty in a completely blank canvas; your scars are part of your story, a chapter in life that you were fighting a really difficult battle. Battles are okay, scars from them are okay. Most people don't walk away from battle unscathed. Be proud of your scars. They're proof you made it :)