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September 26, 2023

Scar Tissue

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Our bodies have an incredible ability to preserve our safety, health, and well-being. Simply reflect on anyone who has scraped their knee, how the body sends blood cells to patch the wound with a scab, and over time skin grows under the scab until it falls off.

Another mechanism the body has is something called scar tissue. The purpose of scar tissue is to keep things stuck in place so that they don’t damage the rest of the body. So what happens is the body produces scar tissue to fill gaps in the body because that empty space could be problematic and lead to complications.

Interestingly, I believe this same concept happens in our mind as well. When we experience something that is painful or causes damage, we produce psychological scar tissue. Rather than keeping things physically in place, this scar tissue is put in to maintain things how they are. The restriction makes it harder to try new things, do things differently, and consider alternatives.

But similarly, using the analogy of physical scar tissue, it also prevents us from growing.

We do not control our body and mind’s ability to make scar tissue, It is an automatic, evolutionary process that is in place to protect us. But just like we need to be proactive about mobilizing a joint after surgery to prevent scar tissue from building up, we can do certain things psychologically to support us in overcoming the way that things are.

This psychological movement happens through action. It’s doing new things that are scary and painful to break up the tissue. It’s choosing to structure your thinking and change the conversation going on in your mind to tell a new story about what happened.

In both cases, we need to choose to take action. Our natural state is to preserve, protect, and not resist the scar forming process. So in order to make sure your life doesn’t get stuck and fixated repeating the same loops and patterns, you need to take an active approach in taking new actions that disrupt the way things are.

The scar tissue is there for a reason, it’s there to protect us. But it’s also an automatic response that doesn’t know the full context around what we’re hoping to accomplish, and sometimes we need to be mindful of how we can work with it so that this amazing process serves us when we need it but doesn’t restrict us when we don’t.


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