Yep, my curling iron.

I recently bought a curling iron. I think the last time I used one was in college. I will spare you the details of how I made this momentous decision.

This morning, as I was happily transforming my hair from flat and slightly annoying to bouncy and fun, I realized that I was creating beauty through damaging my hair. I reflected on other ways we become more beautiful as a result of damage or pain. There are many.

Have you heard of the term “the wounded healer?” It basically refers to the wounds that are created through life, that later become the pathway to helping others heal from similar hurts.

Ask any good therapist about this.

I had a friend in grad school, Diane, who had a daughter with Cerebral Palsy. Diane declared she would not change her daughter even if she could. I must admit, I was surprised and asked her why. She told me her daughter had taught Diane and her family what was important and beautiful in life. A wounded healer.

There are others who lose a limb, or their vision, or some other precious thing, who end up living life more fully as a result. Think of the campaigns to end drunk driving, or find lost children, or raise money for cancer, that were started by people who faced painful losses. Most of us will not face losses so momentous, or create such wide-ranging works of goodness.

However, we each face our own hurts in life, small and large. It is our choice of whether to take the pain and use it to make us stronger and more beautiful. I know it helps me, when I am faced with a setback or a failure, to figure out how I can use the situation to become wiser, or something…anything to keep me from feeling sorry for myself. It helps me to live with less regret.

Geez, I wonder what thoughts I’d have if I had bought electric curlers instead…

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